What destroyed TWA-800?

"I did the initial, design, development and test of the first several continuous-rod warheads for the MOMARC missile in the 1956-57 time period. This was done at the Ballistic Research Labs at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland...and Socorro, New Mexico.

A proximity fused, continuous-rod (CR) missile warhead is the only target destruction system I know that would be consistent with all damage assessment information I have seen in the open media.

The destrucitve mechanism is unique to that type of warhead. You would not see blast or blast-frag damage. Neither would you see residuals from explosives. The instantaneous kill is unique to that warhead type. The CR warhead is the most difficult to perfect even with many design iterations.

I would encourage your to have someone reassess the recovered structure who is familiar with the unique structural kill of a CR warhead."

- Brigadier General Benton K. Partin USAF (Ret)

Note: This letter faxed to the chief TWA-800 investigator in New York never received a reply.

Continuous-rod warhead functioning in a test arena - China Lake

Oversimplification of a "continuous-rod"
warhead expansion in progress

Set off by a proximity fuse before striking the plane, the rapidly expanding continuous-rod slices through the fuselage across its midsection

The plane splits in two in midair

The wreckage recovered is completely consistent with destruction by this type of weapon - a highly sophisticated missile