Black box examined: Russian Jet Black Box

Published: December 19, 2015

Black box examined: Russian Jet Black Box, Russia’s Defence Ministry has publicly opened the black box of a warplane shot down by Turkey last month, a step it hopes will help confirm its assertions that the jet did not stray into Turkish air space and was maliciously downed.

Russian officials opened the orange-painted flight recorder as experts from China and Britain watched the procedure.

Wearing lab coats, technicians used screwdrivers, drills, and even a vacuum cleaner as they opened the device under the watchful eyes of military personnel and dozens of journalists in a live national television broadcast.

The findings will be revealed on Monday, the air force said.

The incident, which occurred on November 24, prompted Moscow to impose retaliatory economic sanctions on Turkey and triggered a furious response from President Vladimir Putin who has repeatedly accused Ankara of “stabbing Russia in the back”.

Turkey said the SU-24 fighter-bomber, part of Russia’s Syria-based strike force, strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings to leave.

Russia said the plane did not leave Syria and posed no threat to Turkey.

Sergei Dronov, the deputy head commander of the Russian air force, said the device was being analysed “openly for the Russian and international public”.

Mr Dronov said the black box presented to the public on Friday had not been touched since it was recovered from the crash site.

The air force commander said 14 countries had been invited to monitor the investigation but only China and Britain had accepted the offer.

US experts were also present when the black box was opened.

The military said the black box had sustained damage, including multiple scratches and dents, but had not been exposed to the fire at the crash site.

Mr Putin has said an analysis of the black box would help determine the downed jet’s flight path and position, which Ankara and Moscow have furiously disagreed upon.

But the Russian leader also warned that no black box finding could assuage Moscow’s anger over the incident.

The downing of the jet triggered the biggest crisis in ties between Moscow and Ankara since the end of the Cold War, with Russia slapping a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Russian military had retrieved the black box after Syrian special forces “liberated” rebel-held territory where the jet was shot down.

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