Malaysia Airlines flight MH-370 and the terrorist threat – 3

So, here’s the map someone should have posted two days ago:

Satellite range ring (from blue dot), and
6hr40min flight time from last radar contact (red dot)

This is from a contributor to the blog Luchtzak Aviation. Not as good as Aviation Herald for hard news, but it did have this map. If all reports are accurate, a big if, the aircraft was last located in the vicinity of the intersection of those two curves.

Both India and Pakistan have denied that the aircraft showed on their radars, and said that if it had — a skin paint with no transponder — it would have been treated as hostile. But the major defenses of India and Pakistan are against each other, and I would not be surprised if the Indian radar coverage looking south from Bangladesh was spotty and poorly monitored. As for the India/China border, India is looking north, and as far as I know, we have yet to hear from China (NSA might know, depending on how many assets they can spare from monitoring Congress).

US officials are reported to believe that the aircraft crashed into the Indian Ocean somewhere on the southern track. That’s a technical possibility, but it’s logically inconsistent with a well-planned highjack that was last detected flying north. In order to reach the IO portion of the track, without being re-detected by Malaysian or Indonesian radar, the aircraft would have had to fly northabout of Bandar Aceh and then turn south. Unless they have classified data, like sonar of the crash impact, or DSP satellite IR detection, I’d be inclined to discount it on logical grounds.

We still don’t have an error band on that ping. Is the ‘corridor’ 50 or 500 miles wide? And I have yet to see any reporting on additional pings. You’d expect at least one per hour, and if we have even one more ping it would be immensely helpful.

So far, we have zero information on the “terrorist” side of the equation.

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2 Responses to “Malaysia Airlines flight MH-370 and the terrorist threat – 3”

  1. Kurt Kremer Says:

    My workplace has more than one story about our ISR field personnel well into unfriendly airspace (in the ME) without the pilots or that country’s air control knowing. We knew, though, because the sensor UI showed the ground with coordinates. “Uh, guys, you know we’re in Iranian airspace and have been for the last 20 minutes, right?” No incidents were ever reported. Apparently this happens frequently on all sides. You have to have complete radar coverage and someone has to be paying attention all the time. It’s not the movies.

  2. FoundOnWeb Says:

    It’s a lot harder than it looks.

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