MH 17 : Is War Downing Of Commercial Airliners a Security or Safety Issue ?


When a purposeful human pulls the trigger on a sophisticated surface to air missile launcher, but does so without any of the intelligence available to the casual browser on the internet, is this a human error or a military mistake? If the distinction between a commercial airliner and a military target is not discernible by the person with authority to fire such weaponry, how can that person know what they are doing?

Military targeting of airborne craft is a multi step process, involving identification as well as detection. This is done so as not to engage non-combatants which may well be in the conflict area.

Commercial airliners are on internationally published flight plans, on internationally published routes, arriving at and crossing national air boundaries on a set schedule. They are in constant communication with all international air traffic control service providers.

Why then would any government give surface to air missiles to a group of people who are not capable of monitoring the international commercial air traffic routes and who are not capable of distinguishing between a commercial airliner and a military target?

Suppose the target detected but not identified had been an Aeroflot airliner?

We should all consider therefore whether or not the downing of a passenger carrying commercial airliner is a security issue or a safety issue?  Safety issues deal with human error. Security issues do not.


Published by Capt. Paul Miller

Aviation safety expert with 43 years in the sky

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: