If the aircraft crashed at 4.35pm local time, experts believe it is unlikely the images could have been shot in daylight. Nor could the footage have been taken yesterday morning as by then the site was being investigated by the military, who had closed off the area.. Roger Pedder, a former chairman of the Robert Dyas DIY and hardware chain, is understood to be fronting a planned takeover bid by Apax with Brent Wilkinson, the former Robert Dyas chief executive. While this may be the case, military analysts said that it could also relate to any number of transport helicopters used by British and American forces. The image may have been taken from a previous crash.THE MEN AMONG THE DEBRIS The final piece of footage appears to show men among the wreckage.
Military sources indicated the plane was involved in a special forces operation but it had been a routine task, delivering freight.The PicturesTHE FIRING PANEL: The control box which appears to launch the missiles was described by experts as "inappropriate" for an advanced guided missile. It is possible the firing panel, which carries Arabic numerals and has two connecting wires, is a cannibalised remote-control device attached to a missile battery. Tellingly, the camera fails to show the missile to which it is linked.THE MISSILE IN FLIGHT: The second image appears to show the missile heading towards the Hercules. Military analysts have questioned the validity of this footage. Guided missiles tend to "wobble" or undulate slightly before fixing on their target whereas this rocket appears to head directly on its course, without any obvious deviation.THE SECOND MISSILE: This projectile takes a significant period of time to launch after the first rocket and appears much smaller.
Commentators said it could have been a shoulder-launched device separate from the first missile, indicating that the attack was by militants equipped with only rudimentary devices unlikely to shoot down a modern military plane.THE WRECKED ENGINE: At first glance, this destroyed engine appears to be clear evidence that it is part of the C-130, showing what looks like a propeller shaft. But the engine is badly damaged and could equally have come from a large military helicopter. It also appears to be equipped with the afterburner of a jet engine.THE DAMAGED LOADING BAY: The penultimate shot purports to show the loading bay of the downed Hercules. [The army casualty] may have been a passenger en route to another location in southern Iraq.