Russia’s extraordinary claim about crash which killed 45
- State’s GRU military intelligence source says Russians are investigating theory crash was ‘industrial sabotage
- Aircraft was on a demonstration flight aimed at securing lucrative orders when it slammed into a mountain killing all 45 passengers and crew
- Russian intelligence official claims US have ‘special technology’ capable of jamming signals from the ground or causing systems to malfunction
PUBLISHED: 16:02 GMT, 24 May 2012 | UPDATED: 16:11 GMT, 24 May 2012
Spy sources in Moscow today made the astonishing claim that a US undercover operation may have sabotaged a new Russian Superjet plane that crashed in Indonesia two weeks ago.
The aircraft was on a demonstration flight aimed at securing lucrative orders when it slammed into a mountain killing all 45 passengers and crew.
‘We are investigating the theory that it was industrial sabotage,’ a GRU military intelligence source said.
Crash site: Wreckage of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft shown strewn across Mount Salak, West Java province
Disaster: The logo of Sukhoi Co. is clearly visible (bottom, centre) among the wreckage of the Superjet
The extraordinary Cold War-style claim echoes high-level allegations in Moscow that the US used powerful lasers to zap a Russian Mars probe seven months ago.
Other satellite launches – there have been half a dozen failures in the last 18 months – might be the work of US sabotage, raising the spectre of a sustained campaign against its technology by American secret services, it has been argued.
A headline to a story in Russia’s biggest newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda today read: ‘Are the Americans implicated in the Superjet crash?’
‘We know that they have special technology – that we also have – to jam signals from the ground or cause parameter readings to malfunction,’ said the unnamed intelligence official, highlighting a US military presence at Jakarta Airport from where the plane took off on May 9.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is the first entirely new passenger plane unveiled by Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Mystery: The jet, pictured here in Jakarta, went missing while on a demonstration flight
Sabotage claim: Sukhoi’s chief civil test pilot Alexander Yablontsev (pictured) flew the Superjet that mysteriously crashed
It is designed to grab market share from Western manufacturers.
Russian officials insist investigators have established ‘that there were no technical problems until the crash’.
After the Mars probe failed, Russians space chief Vladimir Popovkin warned: ‘We don’t want to accuse anybody, but there are very powerful devices that can influence spacecraft now.
‘The possibility they were used cannot be ruled out.’
He stressed: ‘The frequent failure of our space launches, which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us.’
A senior navy commander also blamed the US Navy for the August 2000 Kursk nuclear submarine sinking that killed 118 seamen, since several US ships were in the vicinity of the Barents Sea exercises.