Thursday, March 27, 2014

#MH370 A Relook at ASEAN Defence Cooperation Arrangements

Assalamulaikum and A very good evening to all.

Everybody OK?

Been consuming too much real time info of late, as a user I find navigating the noise difficult at best. Too many conflicting statements and conjectures flying around.

Firstly a BIG THANK YOU to All participating in MH370 SAR efforts and to all the family members of those on board the flight, my condolences.

Today I have a few questions to ask....

By now everyone is aware of Najib's PC on Monday

This evening I was briefed by representatives from the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). They informed me that Inmarsat, the UK company that provided the satellite data which indicated the northern and southern corridors, has been performing further calculations on the data. Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path. Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. (here)
I'm actually pretty surprised to see our PM in that particular PC, there's no need to keep on giving PC without Q&A anyway. Not worth the "Global Airtime".

Inmarsat was the one who pointed out the Southern and Northern Corridors...and is now using the Doppler Effect analysis to identify the flight path of MH370

On 13 March we received information from UK satellite company Inmarsat indicating that routine automatic communications between one of its satellites and the aircraft could be used to determine several possible flight paths.

Inmarsat UK has continued to refine this analysis and yesterday the AAIB presented its most recent findings, which indicate that the aircraft flew along the southern corridor.
As you have heard, an aircraft is able to communicate with ground stations via satellite.
If the ground station has not heard from an aircraft for an hour it will transmit a 'log on / log off' message, sometimes referred to as a ‘ping’, using the aircraft’s unique identifier. If the aircraft receives its unique identifier it returns a short message indicating that it is still logged on. This process has been described as a “handshake” and takes place automatically.From the ground station log it was established that after ACARS stopped sending messages, 6 complete handshakes took place.

The position of the satellite is known, and the time that it takes the signal to be sent and received, via the satellite, to the ground station can be used to establish the range of the aircraft from the satellite. This information was used to generate arcs of possible positions from which the Northern and Southern corridors were established.

Refined analysis from Inmarsat

In recent days Inmarsat developed a second innovative technique which considers the velocity of the aircraft relative to the satellite. Depending on this relative movement, the frequency received and transmitted will differ from its normal value, in much the same way that the sound of a passing car changes as it approaches and passes by. This is called the Doppler effect. The Inmarsat technique analyses the difference between the frequency that the ground station expects to receive and that actually measured. This difference is the result of the Doppler effect and is known as the Burst Frequency Offset.

The Burst Frequency Offset changes depending on the location of the aircraft on an arc of possible positions, its direction of travel, and its speed. In order to establish confidence in its theory, Inmarsat checked its predictions using information obtained from six other B777 aircraft flying on the same day in various directions. There was good agreement.

While on the ground at Kuala Lumpur airport, and during the early stage of the flight, MH370 transmitted several messages. At this stage the location of the aircraft and the satellite were known, so it was possible to calculate system characteristics for the aircraft, satellite, and ground station.

During the flight the ground station logged the transmitted and received pulse frequencies at each handshake. Knowing the system characteristics and position of the satellite it was possible, considering aircraft performance, to determine where on each arc the calculated burst frequency offset fit best.

The analysis showed poor correlation with the Northern corridor, but good correlation with the Southern corridor, and depending on the ground speed of the aircraft it was then possible to estimate positions at 0011 UTC, at which the last complete handshake took place. I must emphasise that this is not the final position of the aircraft.
There is evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and ground station at 0019 UTC. At this time this transmission is not understood and is subject to further ongoing work.
No response was received from the aircraft at 0115 UTC, when the ground earth station sent the next log on / log off message. This indicates that the aircraft was no longer logged on to the network.
Therefore, some time between 0011 UTC and 0115 UTC the aircraft was no longer able to communicate with the ground station. This is consistent with the maximum endurance of the aircraft.
This analysis by Inmarsat forms the basis for further study to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. Accordingly, the Malaysian investigation has set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward. (here)

Regarding this flight path...I've actually been having a number of discussion...more specifically about Primary Radar Data...

Go back to the first few was our Military Primary Radar that provided the initial clue of a turn back.

Somehow I kinda felt that the our neighbours left us to fend for ourselves in these difficult hours...due to sensitive military information...

To illustrate this, let us examine what we have so far..

Let's look at Blogger Seademon's informative piece on the plane's flight path

Should our fighters have been scrambled? If you remember, the MH370 was no longer in our airspace. When the MH370 tracked West Southwest from IGARI to VAMPI, she did not cross Malaysian airspace. She flew over Thai airspace and into Indonesian airspace, then tracked up to GIVAL near Phuket and subsequently to IGREX near India’s Nicobar Islands (here)
This is what Thailand said about the flight path
 BANGKOK, March 16 - The Royal Thai Air Force today reaffirmed that its radar system did not detect the missing Malaysia Airlines flight following the latest remarks by the Malaysian prime minister that the jetliner was deliberately  deviated and announcement of new search corridors cover Kazakhstan to northern Thailand and Indonesia to the South Indian ocean.
Thai Air Force spokesman Air Marshal Monthon Sanchukorn said the air force radar system did not record any new data from the MH370. He said the air force's radar system in Songkhla's Hat Yai district detected the plane only once when it took off at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Saturday and that the Thai air force has already passed the information along to the Malaysian authorities.
"Why didn't our radar system detect the missing aircraft? We have to instead ask the question 'Did the plane really fly over Thailand's skies?'", noted the air force spokesman.

If it really flew over Thailand, AM Monthon said, the 24-hour radar system surely would be able to detect it, and the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand would inform the air force of the presence of an unauthorised aircraft.

He said that if informed of such encroachment, the Thai air force is obliged to launch the operations to immediately intercept the suspicious plane with its fighter planes which are on standby. AM Monthon said further investigation is needed to find if the plane really passed the Thai skies, adding that the air force's radar system could not detect the plane once it flies out of Thai territories. He said Malaysia's latest remarks were only assumptions theorising the plane's possible route (here)
Too cryptic for me...

The Indonesian initially said this after the turnback data was made public

But the revelation by Indonesian Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjahjanto on Friday could bring the mystery back to the question: Did the plane really turn back to the West?
Hadi told The Jakarta Post that the Indonesian Air Force’s radar unit in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, did not detect the missing MH370 in the area where the Malaysian military suggested as being the plane’s last detected position around Penang waters.
“Our radar information has been shared with our Malaysian counterparts,” he said.
When asked if Lhokseumawe radar’s coverage had reached Penang, he only said that the radar had the capability to detect flying objects for up to 240 nautical miles, or about 445 kilometers.
A rough calculation using Google Earth shows that Lhokseumawe’s distance to Penang is about 300 kilometers, meaning that the radar could cover up to the Malaysian Peninsula.(here)

After the 2 SAR Corridors was announced the Indonesians still sounded rather funny to me...can't give us a straight answer 

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has extended his prayers and condolences to the families of all passengers of the ill-fated Malaysian jetliner, as well as the Malaysian government, yet the question of whether the plane flew through Indonesian airspace remains unanswered.
 On Tuesday, the Indonesian government strongly opposed speculation that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with 239 people on board, spent hours flying through Indonesian airspace without any radar detection before crashing in the southern Indian Ocean, west of Australia.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto gave a press statement amid growing concerns the plane had indeed flown over Sumatra and Java, as suggested by graphic reports from foreign print and electronic media. The possible route suggestions were made after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday that the Boeing 777’s journey had ended in remote waters west of Perth, Australia, and that all the people on board were likely dead.
 “I followed the Malaysian Prime Minister’s statement. [It] did not directly mention Indonesia. So, the southern corridor [of the Indian Ocean] here does not mean it [the plane] passed over Indonesia,” Djoko said on Tuesday. “The last tracking point of the plane shows it headed west, near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands [west of Thailand].”

A spokesman from Djoko’s office, Agus Barnas, later elaborated on Djoko’s statement, saying the most likely route taken by the plane was via the northern Indian Ocean, west of Sumatra, then heading south to a location Najib indicated was the plane’s crash point.
“Has there a single person who has confirmed the plane flew through our space? No.” Agus told The Jakarta Post.The Indonesian Air Force has also repeatedly said that none of Indonesia’s military radars detected a flying object that could have been MH370. (here)

Why am I asking all these...let's try to understand what is in play here...

Hisham gave a glimpse of it on March 19th 

I can confirm that we have received some radar data, but we are not at liberty to release information from other countries. I appeal to all our partners to continue volunteering any and all information that could help with the investigation and the search for MH370. (here)
“We are also asking international partners who have assisted us before to take another look at their primary radar data,” he said.(here)

They did share some data...what it is, when it was shared...remains a mystery to the general public

Ever wondered what is their framework for information sharing during SAR..

To understand we must look at what they "agreed" in Brunei last year

Source ADMM (here)

And what is this Logistics Support Framework

"This proposed Framework shall guide existing and future cooperation in  non-traditional  security  challenges  to  include  but  not  limited  to Humanitarian  Assistance  and  Disaster  Relief  (HADR),  Search  and Rescue (SAR), Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and anti-piracy."

Source (here)
The paper is pretty clear in excluding STRATEGIC ITEMS such as weapons systems...

Article 6.2 specifically refers to the need to ensure that critical information can flow in a timely manner

By Saturday 8th of March everyone on the Planet was aware that there was a plane missing...

The most basic question to all Radar Operators in the Region would be WHERE IS THIS THING ON MY RECORDS 

We had to appeal for help.....

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Malaysia’s efforts to “refine” data on the possible location of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 hit an early snag after several neighbours said they have no radar records of the missing plane. Malaysia earlier appealed to 15 countries for information including general satellite data and radar playback — both military and civilian — to help chart search efforts now narrowed down to two opposing “corridors”. (here)
But are we asking all their data? Are we asking about what their radar is capable of?

We are not right( i hope so)...we are merely asking if there was a UFO that flew in your airspace and if you do have in on your radar can you provide to us the time, location details, speed and altitude of this UFO.

Sounds simple right...what we got instead was a flat NO... it was not in our radar....

Strange don't you think if only Malaysia's Primary Radar detected this UFO...pretty smooth

If I could suggest, considering the precedent that MH370 has laid down...

We need to improve response time especially with regards to any UFO within ASEAN Airspace. The Thai's took 10 days to share it (here).....not acceptable dude

Defence Ministers must go back to the drawing board and define how these information can be shared in a timely manner using a non Proprietary Format that does not compromise National Security

Bear in mind this is not just an ASEAN problem but a Global Problem, I would expect the Global Aviation industry to learn from this episode and come up with relevant measures to mitigate the risks.

Till then folks...

Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. -Lord Thomas Dewer