“Radar error” was to blame for the downing of a civilian passenger jet by Iranian air defenses shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport on January 8, according to a recent report by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“A failure occurred due to a human error in following the procedure” for aligning the radar, causing an error in the system, according to the report, refuting Iran’s previous claim that the aircraft had been misidentified due to heightened tensions with the United States at the time.
As a result of this first mishap, there began a chain of successive failures in the minutes before the plane, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, was shot down that eventually ended in tragedy, said the report.
The report states that despite the incorrect information available to the radar system operator on the aircraft’s trajectory, he could have identified the target as an airliner, but instead the commercial flight was deemed a threat and fired upon.
Tehran’s air defenses had been on high alert at the time the jet was shot down due to fears of U.S. retaliation in response to Iranian strikes on American troops in Iraq hours earlier. The Iranians initially attacked the Americans in response to the killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone attack near the Baghdad airport on January 3.