Russian military intelligence, the GRU, has solved the Sukhoi SuperJet crash mystery: The Americans Did It! Of course we did. Hell, we can bring down space probes with our mysterious radar facilities, so bringing down a passenger jet with our diabolical electronic warfare technologies is child’s play:
Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, suspects that US-inspired industrial espionage may have caused the May 9 crash in Indonesia of a Sukhoi Superjet 100 – Russia’s only hopeful entry in the civilian aviation market – according to Moscow’s leading tabloid newspaper, the usually reliable and officially connected Komsomolskaya Pravda.
While most Russian aviation experts contacted today dismissed the sabotage theory, they say there is a deepening mystery about how Russia’s most modern civil aircraft, with all its systems apparently functioning perfectly, came to slam into the side of a mile-high volcano during a routine demonstration flight.
“All the theories put forward so far are badly flawed, there is a shortage of hard information and there are a lot of irresponsible rumors,” says Roman Gusarov, editor of Avia.ru, an online aviation journal. “I am afraid that Russia is not going to emerge from this story without taking a black eye.”
Citing an unnamed GRU general, Komsomolskaya Pravda claimed that electronic jamming of the plane’s on board equipment is the most plausible explanation for how the jet, which was making a demonstration flight out of Jakarta airport with 45 people aboard, smashed into a mountainside even though an initial investigation has found that its terrain and collision avoidance systems were all functioning properly.
“We are investigating the theory that it was industrial sabotage,” the GRU officer is quoted as saying. He said that Russian intelligence has long monitored the activities of US military electronic specialists at the Jakarta airport.
“We know that they have special equipment that can cut communications between an aircraft and the ground or interfere with the parameters on board,” he said. “For example, the plane is flying at one altitude, but after interference from the ground onboard equipment shows another.” [Or maybe the plane’s electronics were defective. Just saying.]
. . . .
“Maybe he didn’t see that the plane was heading straight at the mountain. On the other hand, we don’t rule out the possibility that this was deliberate industrial sabotage to drive our aircraft from the market,” an unnamed official at Sukhoi, the plane’s manufacturer, told Komsomolskaya Pravda. “Fortunately, we don’t foresee any loss of orders [for the SuperJet].”
This is self-satirizing. Sick satire, but satire nonetheless.
Some notorious Russophobes criticize these paranoid ravings. As for there being some sort of commercial motive for US sabotage:
Oleg Pantaleyev [another clever disguise!], an expert with Aviaport.ru [an infiltrator!], an online aviation news service, points out that the US does not produce this particular class of aircraft, and several foreign firms, including Boeing, have been involved in the SuperJet’s development and have big stakes in its success.
Another Russophobe criticizes Sukhoi’s oh-so-Russian handling of the crash aftermath:
Mr. [Roman] Gusarov [editor of Avia.ru] says that Sukhoi has handled the information side of the SuperJet disaster very badly.
“From the very beginning they developed this plane as if it were a secret combat jet rather than a civil airliner,” he says. “Now they’re putting out contradictory statements, and making all sorts of premature declarations. For instance, how can they assert that there were no system failures based on an examination of the cockpit voice recorder alone?
“Of course, all possible theories are bad. Either we have a fault with our newest and most hopeful plane, or with one of Russia’s finest aircrews. So, finding a scapegoat, putting out a story about some malicious external force bent on wrecking the SuperJet is just the thing they needed.”
Or, as Mr. Pantaleyev says:
“It’s this very lack of objective information plus low professional ethics that gives rise to all these rumors. They should be ignored.”
Hey, if some people didn’t have low professional ethics, they’d have no professional ethics at all.
My working hypothesis is that the American sabotage story is being put out there because the actual facts are quite embarrassing to Sukhoi and Russia, just as with Phobos-Grunt.
Actually, the most embarrassing thing is the reflex to place blame for disasters everywhere except where it belongs-somewhere within the boundaries of the largest country in the world.