reply to post by charles1952
I’m a senior aerospace engineer with a government high-tech agency, so I know a bit about rockets and missile systems. There are a number of
details in witnesses’ accounts that point to the conclusion that the missile that hit Flight 800 was a Soviet-designed SA-2 radar guided Surface to
Air Missile (SAM).
There was at least one (and, I think, more than one) witness who described the bright light that intercepted the 747 as ascending rapidly UP from the
ground, flying ABOVE the 747, then turning around and hitting the 747 on the way DOWN. One witness described it as “an upside down Nike Swoosh”.
Not many people know it, but that flight profile is exactly how Soviet SAMs are programmed to fly, because it maximizes the probability of a kill for
two reasons. First, when the missile is coming down at the target from on top, the target has less chance to maneuver out of the way. Second, when
the missile is coming at the target from on top, the target presents the largest possible radar cross-section. The missile carries its own small
radar set that steers the missile to a pre-set distance from the target and tells the warhead when to explod. Radar controlled SAMs of that era do
not hit-to-kill, they get close to the target and detonate a fragmentation warhead (kind of like a huge shotgun blast). I think it’s no coincidence
that the primary damage to Flight 800 was at the center fuel tank—that’s where the wings and fuselage come together and create the biggest radar
cross-section. The missiles are programmed more or less to take a “center-of-mass” shot. In my opinion, this more-or-less confirms that the
“bright light” that everyone reported was a radar guided interceptor missile.
The FBI spent a lot of time setting up and then demolishing the idea that the light everyone saw was an interceptor missile—based entirely on the
premise that it would have been a small, man-portable, heat-seeking (MANPAD) missile. The FBI was right—the signature that witnesses reported is
NOT consistent with a MANPAD--but is entirely consistent with a large, radar-guided two-stage SAM. To my knowledge, the FBI never publicly addressed
the possibility that what witnesses were seeing was a radar guided SAM; they relied on the fact that most of the public would not be able to tell the
difference between a radar SAM and a heat seeking MANPAD. That’s a classic disinformation tactic that allows the FBI to cover its butt; it allows
the FBI to lead the public to believe what they want them (us) to believe without having to tell a direct lie.
At least one witness described the “bright light” ascending rapidly from the surface, trailing a prominent “smoke” trail for a certain
distance and then winking out. A fraction of a second later, the light came on again a little higher in the air and with a different, reddish color.
What the witness was describing was a two-stage rocket, where the second stage used a different propellant than the first stage (that’s why the
change in color). It’s common to use a solid fuel in the first stage because that provides a big, quick boost to get the missile off the ground and
up to high altitude as quickly as possible. Solid rocket fuel usually has powdered Aluminum in it to increase the performance. When Aluminum burns
it creates a bright, white light and leaves a lot of smoke in the exhaust trail. The only other rocket fuel that’s sometimes used in SAMs is
storable liquid propellant (Hydrazine). It provides a relatively constant level of thrust as the missile chases down the target. It also burns with
a reddish exhaust flame and leaves less smoke than solid fuel.
The US Navy does not allow Hydrazine on board its vessels because they view it as a safety hazard. US Navy SAMs use solid fuel for both the first and
second stages. On the other hand, Soviet-designed SAMs in 1996 did (and still do, I think) use Hydrazine. Iran was one of the countries that
purchased and used SA-2s in the 1990s. I think the most likely scenario, by far, is that the missile that hit TWA Flight 800 was a Soviet-designed
SA-2, ground-launched, radar-guided SAM.
The US Navy guided missile cruiser the USS Vicennes shot down an Iranian airliner by accident in July, 1988 as it was departing Iranian airspace, over
water, with hundreds of people on board. I think TWA Flight 800 was payback.