TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran's military on Saturday admitted that its air defense system had shot down Ukraine's Flight 752 by mistake.
Citing Iranian official statements, the New York Times said the passenger jet had been misidentified as a U.S. cruise missile.
The New York Times reports that the Tor is a mobile system carrying eight missiles, that can be operated without input from other air defense infrastructure.
Citing defense analyst Steven Zaloga, Bloomberg reports that the missile's guidance system is unable to distinguish cruise missiles from military aircraft or civilian airplanes.
Citing FlightRadar24, Bloomberg reports that the Boeing 737 made a slight right turn two minutes after its takeoff from Tehran International Airport, which was normal.
The plane was clearly transmitting its identity and position until it climbed to about 7,900 feet of altitude, presumably because it was hit by missile fire." The plane plunged into a field in between the cities of Parand and Shariar.
All 176 passengers and crew were killed.
Due to the Tor's indiscriminate guidance system, most nations do not operate the weapon without connecting it into a command structure.
Bloomberg reports that according to Zaloga, SA-15 operators were not supposed to fire without authorization.