Military officials have clarified to SABAH why speculation has arose regarding the lack of traces a Syrian missile was what shot down the RF-4E aircraft.
According to Air Forces Command sources, "There are no radar records showing that the plane was brought down by a missile, because it wasn't hit by a radar-guided missile. Therefore, it is completely natural that there are no radar-based records." The viewpoint that the Turkish fighter jet may have been shot down by a missile operating by optical receptors is now beginning to take precedence. The RF-4, which was on a reconnaissance flight at the time, did not detect any threat, despite the presence of a radar warning system. These aircraft are able to detect a missile radar system and operate accordingly using a series of defense tactics, including maneuvering or responding.
According to initial inspection of the parts recovered from the wreckage, the view that the aircraft was not brought down by antiaircraft gains further validity. Experts point out that that there is also the possibility that the missile exploded in the plane's vicinity in an attempt to render it ineffective and state, "The target was not hit directly. The fact that the plane broke into eight pieces gives the impression that it may have been the result of the missile's explosion. This is another indicator that the missile was not radar-guided. Radar-guided missiles generally hit their targets head-on."
The military officials also emphasized the point that in the use of antiaircraft, the engine usually incurs damage and continued to insist that the event transpired over international waters.
The search for the missing plane parts continues in the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. Nautilus explorer returned to Bodrum on Monday. The Naval Forces Command's TCG Çeşme will continue to oversee the search and rescue efforts.