The report on investigation of the metal made following the verification of Molot mortar explosion, has been classified. “Study of fragments of the above mentioned mortars in terms of their physical and mechanical properties as well as identification of composition of the material were carried out using the facilities of The National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, and their results transferred to the Institute’s address in the form of report. The document has been classified in accordance with the Register of data constituting a state secret endorsed by the SSU’s order №440 of 12.08.2005,” – such was the reaction given in response to the LB.ua media outlet for their official request.
The verification has been made in connection with another accident with a Molot mortar in the course of which a few Ukrainian militaries were killed. On the seventh of July, during the test training in the Rivne shooting range, as a result of explosion of a Molot mortar, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four others sustained various injuries. According to an official version, it was a double charge of the barrel that caused the detonation. Still military do not share the official opinion: artillerists rightly doubt the assumption that someone could have turned the safety off while target practice. Instead, there were raised lots of questions as well as negative responses regarding the quality of manufacturing and the materials used in making of the newest mortar model.
Unfortunately, this was not the first death-entailing accident related to the latest Ukrainian development. The chief of the Central research institute of weaponry and military equipment of the AFU Ihor Chepkov claimed that since the 2014 there have been registered 12 accidents involving mortars. This refers to Molot and Sani class of weapons. The figure includes 8 cases of incidental explosions pertaining to the Molot modification. The specific weapon which this time killed four people, previously had certain defects and later underwent maintenance at the Starokramatorsk machinery factory – this is the fact testified by the witnesses of the event who believe that the accident was caused by deformation of the barrel.
Scientists consider the barrel deformation version to be the most likely as well. “Metal can experience such compression that even with minor pressure of the propellant gases it can burst into small pieces. Compression means that metal is strained like a bow. This can relate to its chemical composition, structure, thermal treatment, even mechanical processing. All these parameters should be examined, subjected to technical testing, and analyzed. Only after this we can see whether technical condition of the weapon meets the requirements or not,” – the KPI’s dean of the Engineering and Technology Faculty, professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Petro Loboda said in his commentary for the LB.ua.
It is a pity that even despite public assurances given by the deputy minister of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Ihor Pavlovskyi and individual members of the Verkhovna Rada Defense Committee who promised that the results of verification will be immediately made public, findings of the study were immediately classified as confidential. It is only scientific expertise that could put an end to any speculation and fabrications that accompany this tragic and dubious story.