Military experts have confirmed MH17 was likely shot out of
the sky by a missile after studying a key image of the plane's wreckage.

The Financial Times is
claiming it has the first apparent hard evidence that the plane was
shot out of the sky by a missile, lending weight to a popular theory
that the aircraft was taken out "by pro-Russian separatists and Russian
military personnel".

The evidence is a photo of a charred sheet of metal from the
plane covered in small holes with a massive gaping hole in its centre.

Two defence analysts and a former military pilot agree the
piece pictured came from the left side of the Boeing 777, indicating the
missile was despatched from the left and in front of the plane. 

They claim the large hole pictured was likely blasted out
from inside the plane as it rapidly depressurised over 10,000 metres in
the air.

Douglas Barrie, an analyst from London’s International
Institute for Strategic Studies, said this was the kind of damage
expected from "a high explosive fragmentation warhead".

He said this was exactly the kind of weapon used by the weapons firing system spotted entering Ukraine just before the crash.

A Royal United Services Institute analyst, Justin Bronk, also
believes it indicates the plane was taken out by an SA-11 missile fired
from a Buk-M1.

“The size of the shrapnel holes is consistent with what one
might expect to see from an SA-11 hit. However, it is difficult to
assess the total blast pattern with such a small fragment of fuselage,”
Mr Bronk said.

An unnamed former senior Royal Air Force officer told the Financial Times the damage was similar to the devastation wrought by flying shrapnel from rocket attacks.

Anti-aircraft missiles are designed to explode close to the
plane, showering the plane with hot shrapnel that shreds and destroys
the vessel.

Bob McGilvray, an Australian who served in the British Army
for 12 years and was based in Germany during the Cold War, said it would
have been an "easy hit".

"The Buk would have made utter breakfast of the airliner because of the size of it," Mr McGilvray, a retired captain, said.

The piece of plane pictured in the image was found in a
backyard close to the crash site. The home owner moved it out of his
garden and onto the roadside as it looked important.

All three experts told the Financial Times the evidence requires further investigation. Other experts recently told Fairfax Media the plane was likely shot from behind.