The RF-4E that went down inside the Syrian airspace on Jun. 22 may have been downed by a technical failure.
This is more or less what emerges from the latest news released by the Turkish Armed Forces.
According to the report by the Presidency of the Gendarmerie Criminal Department, the remains of the aircraft collected on the water surface did not provide evidence of any organic or inorganic explosive residues, any fire initiator or accelerator substances which are derivatives of petroleum, and there is no sign of an ammunition remnant.
To make it simple: it was neither a missile nor gun fire. Therefore, it could have been a technical malfunction or a sudden emergency that did not give the crew the time to radio the alert.
But it is quite unlikely. After experiencing the failure, the pilot headed towards Syria. A decision that proves that the two on board had the time to react to situation, no matter which one it was.
Also a bit confusing are the claims by Ankara.
On Jun. 22, Turkey said that one of their planes had been gunned down by Syrian armed forces even though they later claimed it was hit by a SAM missile. Today the latest Turkish official release states that “the plane which was gunned down by the Syrian armed forces, according to the Syrian official authorities” [highlight mine].
The saga continues.
An F-4E flying at night. Image credit: Turkish Air Force
- Turkish Armed Forces release first images of the debris of the RF-4E Phantom downed by Syria (theaviationist.com)
- “Turkish F-4 gunned down by anti-aircraft artillery inside the Syrian airspace” U.S. intelligence says (theaviationist.com)
- [Updated] Turkish RF-4E Phantom shot down by Syrian Air Defense battery. Known and unknown facts. (theaviationist.com)
- Was the Turkish F-4 Phantom shot down by Syria actually a drone? A new interesting theory emerges. (theaviationist.com)
- Latest news about the Turkish F-4 shot down by Syria: still conflicting versions. New detail: rescue plane came under fire too. (theaviationist.com)
- “Turkish Phantom shot down because Syrian soldiers may have confused it for an Israeli plane” Syrian Information Minister says (theaviationist.com)
- Hip helicopter videos from Syria (including footage of a Mil Mi-17 shot down by rebels) (theaviationist.com)
- Six Turkey’s F-16s scrambled on Syria border after Syrian helicopters came close to the Turkish airspace (theaviationist.com)
- Turkish Phantom shot down by Syria saga continues as new details about the mysterious shooting emerge (theaviationist.com)
- “Turkish Phantom jet fighters [as the one shot down by Syria] routinely violate the Greek airspace.” And get locked by SAM sites. (theaviationist.com)