Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mystery Day 11 Press statement from the Transport Minister of Malaysia updates the logistical , political , diplomatic and operational challenges involved ! Hunger strike threatened by families of lost chinese passengers ...... Despite 25 countries participating in efforts to locate the missing jet , the mystery only deepens ! As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 continues, investigators have come across some startling evidence that the plane could have been hijacked using a mobile phone or even a USB stick. The theory comes from a British anti-terrorism expert who says cyber terrorists could have used a series of “codes” to hack the plane’s in-flight entertainment system and infiltrate the security software.




http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-18/did-missing-flight-mh370-land-maldives-or-diego-garcia-full-updated-summary





A round up of the whole scenario ! 




Did Missing Flight MH370 Land In The Maldives Or Diego Garcia: The Full Updated Summary

Tyler Durden's picture





 
Well over a week after the disappearance of flight MH370 - which now is thelongest official disappearance of a modern jet in aviation history - with no official trace of the missing plane yet revealed, the investigation, which as we reported over the weekend has focused on the pilots and specifically on Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, earlier today revealed that on his home-made flight simulator had been loaded five Indian Ocean practice runways, among which those of Male in the Maldives, that of the US owned base at Sergio Garcia, as well as other runways in India and Sri Lanka - all notable runways as all are possible landing spots based on the flight's potential trajectories. The Malay Mail Online reported, "The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres."
“We are not discounting the possibility that the plane landed on a runway that might not be heavily monitored, in addition to the theories that the plane landed on sea, in the hills, or in an open space,” the source was quoted as saying.
At this point the facts in the case are about as sketchy as any "data" on US Treasury holdings, but here is what was said on the record:
"Although Malay Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied yesterday that the plane had landed at US military base Diego Garcia, the source told the daily that this possibility will still be investigated based on the data found in Zaharie’s flight simulator software. The police had seized the flight simulator from the 53-year-old pilot’s house in Shah Alam on Saturday and reassembled it at the police headquarters where experts are conducting checks."
Previous reports indicated that the plane flew towards Checkpoint Gival, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another checkpoint, Igrex, used for route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe.
Still, the Maldives news is of particular note since earlier today, Haaveru Online, quoted locals who said they had seen a "low flying jet" whose description is approximate to what flight MH370 looked like. From the source:
Whilst the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet, carrying 239 passengers has left the whole world in bewilderment, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru on Tuesdaythat they saw a "low flying jumbo jet" at around 6:15am on March 8.

They said that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it – which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like.

Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the aeroplane was travelling North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives – Addu. They also noted the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.

"I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly," said an eyewitness.

"It's not just me either, several other residents have reported seeing the exact same thing. Some people got out of their houses to see what was causing the tremendous noise too."
...
A local aviation expert told Haveeru that it is "likely" for MH370 to have flown over the Maldives. The possibility of any aircraft flying over the island at the reported time is extremely low, the expert added.
So did the pilot hijack the plane, reprogram the flight path, turn off the transponder, and fly low above the surface and below radar all the way to the Maldives, or alternatively, US airbase, Diego Garcia, where Captain Shah promptly offloaded 20+ tons of still unknown cargo? Some experts opine on just this, by way of the Telegraph:
If the Maldive lead turns out to be a strong one, then the next question is: could the plane conceivably have flown to Somalia? Or somewhere in the southern Arabian peninsula or Iran? Somalia seems a much more likely destination for a hijacker with its known al-Qaeda connections.
And this:
Timing is issue with claimed Maldives sighting, because 06:15 local (01:15UTC) is 8h after loss of contact.
Kaminski Morrow adds:
- The plane, a Boeing 777-200, was capable of travelling as far as the Maldives

- Male is the main airport but the sighting appears to have come from an atoll a long way south

- Commercial aircraft-tracking software, while not always reliable, doesn’t seem to show any other nearby traffic with which a sighting might have been confused

It is all hugely, hugely tentative - and I wouldn't want to vouch for the newspaper which is the source of this information.

But theoretically it could be possible.

The vital detail is the fuel; Malaysia Airlines has not said how much fuel was on board, other than to say "enough for the trip to Beijing".

Therefore we can't tell if that was enough to loop around and make it back to the Maldives.
So far there have been few firm theories about MH370 having landed on the US airbase in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 800 miles south of Male in the Maldives.
Theories about what happened to missing Malaysia Flight MH370 now span a 2 million-plus square mile area of open ocean and southeast Asian land, including one mysterious island in the Indian Ocean known as Diego Garcia.

While aviation experts and armchair theorists continue to come up with plausible locations, the jet could have landed or crashed. Many theories have included Diego Garcia as a notable landing strip.

The island atoll is a British territory in the central Indian Ocean and is home to a United States Navy support facility — not exactly a U.S. base, but a home for 1700 military personnel, 1,500 civilian contractors, and various Naval equipment.

The island — named after 16th century Spanish explorer Diego Garcia de Moguer — gained some notoriety in the past 10 years after reports claimed that the U.S. used Diego Garcia to transport and detain alleged terrorists.
Expect the US military to have zero official comments on the matter, and even less if indeed MH370 landed there, or merely used the base as a transit stop on its route further west, potentially to Africa.
* * *
There are other theories of course, some of which involve none other than such aviation experts as US politicians.
Michael McCaul, a Republican congressman from Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the plane may have actually landed and could be used by terrorist groups.

John Cornyn, a senator from Texas, helpfully tweeted a link to possible runways where the plane could have landed.

Peter King, a Republican congressman representing New York, suggests the Chinese have doctored some of their satellite images to hide the sophistication of their systems.

But Mr King said he was not aware of terrorist "chatter". He said on This Week:

QuoteNo, there's been no terrorist connections whatsoever. There's been no terrorist chatter. There's nothing out there indicating it's terrorists. Doesn't mean it's not, but so far nothing has been picked up by the intelligence community from Day One.

I still have questions about the two Iranians who were on the plane, but again, that could be a side issue. The fact is nothing has come up indicating a terrorist nexus.
Going back to what is known, here is a full and updated timeline of all events that took place, by way of BBC:
The search operation is now concentrating on huge areas to the north and south of Malaysia, after locational 'pings' detected by a satellite appeared to indicate the plane was somewhere on an arc stretching either north up to to Central Asia, or south, to the Indian Ocean and Australia.

Evidence revealed on Saturday 15 March by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak suggested the jet was deliberately diverted by someone on board about an hour after takeoff.
When was the last contact made?
Graphic: How planes can be tracked

Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:41 on Saturday (16:41 GMT Friday), and was due to arrive in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).

Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact less than an hour after takeoff.

No distress signal or message was sent.

The ACARS - a service that allows computers aboard the plane to "talk" to computers on the ground - was silenced some time after 01:07 as the plane crossed Malaysia's east coast.

At about 01:19 the co-pilot was heard to say: "All right, good night".

The plane's transponder, which communicates with ground radar, was shut down soon after this final communication, as the aircraft crossed from Malaysian air traffic control into Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea.

At 01:37 the next ACARS transmission was due, but never sent.
Graphic: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER
line break
What happened next?
The plane's planned route would have taken it north-eastwards, over Cambodia and Vietnam, and the initial search focused on the South China Sea, south of Vietnam's Ca Mau peninsula.

But evidence from a military radar, revealed later, suggested the plane had suddenly changed from its northerly course to head west. So the search, involving dozens of ships and planes, then switched to the sea west of Malaysia.

MH370's last communication with a satellite, disclosed a week after the plane's disappearance, suggested the jet was in one of two flight corridors, one stretching north between Thailand and Kazakhstan, the other south between Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean.

The timing of the last confirmed communication with a satellite was 08:11 (00:11 GMT), meaning that the Boeing continued flying for nearly seven hours after contact with air traffic control was lost.

Investigators are making further calculations to establish how far the plane might have flown after the last point of contact.line break

Who was on board?
Arni Marlina, 36, a family member of a passenger onboard Flight MH370, shows a family picture on her mobile phone, at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 9 March Muhammad Razahan Zamani (bottom right), 24, and his wife Norli Akmar Hamid, 33, were on their honeymoon on the missing flight. The phone is being held by his stepsister, Arni Marlina
The 12 crew members were all Malaysian, led by pilots Captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, 53 and 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.

Police have searched their homes and a flight simulator has been taken from the captain's home and reassembled for examination at police headquarters.

It is now believed that co-pilot Hamid spoke the last words heard from the plane, "All right, good night" - but it it not clear whether this was before or after the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) had been deliberately switched off.

There were 227 passengers, including 153 Chinese and 38 Malaysians, according to the manifest. Seven were children.

Other passengers came from Iran, the US, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, India, France, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

Among the Chinese nationals were a delegation of 19 prominent artists who had attended an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

With so many of their nationals aboard, the Chinese Government has been very involved in the search, expressing barely-concealed frustration with the lack of progress.

Malaysia Airlines said there were four passengers who checked in for the flight but did not show up at the airport.

line break
Could it have been a terrorist attack?
Malaysian PM Najib Razak, 15 March 2014The plane was deliberately diverted, the Malaysian PM told a news conference
The aircraft's change of direction was consistent with "deliberate action on the plane", the Malaysian authorities said.

But it remains unclear whether the course change was carried out by the air crew or flight-trained hijackers onboard.

So far no known or credible terror group has emerged to claim responsibility.

Initial investigations concentrated on two passengers found to be travelling on stolen passports.

The two Iranian men - 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad and Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 29 - were later found to headed for Europe via Beijing, and had no apparent links to terrorist groups.
Other theories for a crash
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan, April 2013A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan, last year
Some initial theories suggested that the aircraft could have suffered a disastrous mid-air decompression, but Malaysian authorities say they are now almost entirely focused on the actions of the crew.

Captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, who had more than 18,000 flying hours behind him, had been employed by the airline since 1981.

Weather conditions for this flight were good.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record and the jet, a Boeing 777-200ER, is said to be one of the safest because of its modern technology.
* * *
Finally, for those who still have lingering questions, here also from the BBC, is a compendium of 10 theories attempting to explain the fate of the missing airliner.
1. Landed in the Andaman Islands
The plane was apparently at one stage heading in the direction of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the most easterly part of Indian territory, which lies between Indonesia and the coast of Thailand and Burma. It has been reported that military radar there might not even have been operating, as the threat level is generally perceived to be low.
The editor of the islands' Andaman Chronicle newspaper dismisses the notion that the aircraft could be there. There are four airstrips but planes landing would be spotted, he told CNN. He also believed monitoring by the Indian military would prevent an airliner being able to land there unnoticed. But this is an isolated spot. There are more than 570 islands, only 36 of which are inhabited. If the plane had been stolen, this might be the best place to land it secretly, says Steve Buzdygan, a former BA 777 pilot. It would be difficult, but not impossible, to land on the beach, he says. At least 5,000ft (1500m) or so would make a long enough strip to land on.
It would be theoretically possible but extremely difficult. With such a heavy aeroplane, using the landing gear might lead to the wheels digging into the sand and sections of undercarriage being ripped off. "If I was landing on a beach I would keep the wheels up," says Buzdygan. But in this type of crash landing, the danger would also be damage to the wings, which are full of fuel, causing an explosion. Even if landed safely, it is unlikely the plane would be able to take off again.
2. Flew to Kazakhstan
The Central Asian republic is at the far end of the northern search corridor, so the plane could hypothetically have landed there. Light aircraft pilot Sylvia Wrigley, author of Why Planes Crash, says landing in a desert might be possible and certainly more likely than landing on a beach somewhere. "To pull this off, you are looking at landing in an incredibly isolated area," says Wrigley. The failure so far to release a cargo manifest has created wild rumours about a valuable load that could be a motive for hijacking. There has also been speculation that some of those on board were billionaires.
But the plane would have been detected, the Kazakh Civil Aviation Committee saidin a detailed statement sent to Reuters. And there's an even more obvious problem. The plane would have had to cross the airspace of countries like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are all usually in a high state of military preparedness. But it's just possible that there are weak links in the radar systems of some of the countries en route to Central Asia, Wrigley speculates. "A lot of air traffic control gear is old. They might be used to getting false positives from flocks of birds and, therefore, it would be easy to discount it."
3. It flew south
The final satellite "ping" suggests the plane was still operational for at least five or six hours after leaving Malaysian radar range. For Norman Shanks, former head of group security at airports group BAA, and professor of aviation security at Coventry University, the search should therefore start from the extremes of the corridors and work up, rather than the other way around. He thinks the southern corridor is more likely for a plane that has so far avoided detection by radar.
The southern arc leads to the huge open spaces of the Indian Ocean, and then to Australia's empty northern hinterland. Without knowing the motive, it is hard to speculate where the plane's final destination was intended to be. But the plane may just have carried on until it ran out of fuel and then glided and crashed into the sea somewhere north of Australia.
4. Taklamakan Desert, north-west China
There has been speculation on forums that the plane could have been commandeered by China's Uighur Muslim separatists. Out of the plane's 239 passengers, 153 were Chinese citizens. One possible destination in this theory would be China's Taklamakan Desert. The region - described by Encyclopaedia Britannica as a "great desert of Central Asia and one of the largest sandy deserts in the world" - has no shortage of space far from prying eyes. The BBC's Jonah Fisher tweeted on 15 March: "Being briefed by Malaysia officials they believe most likely location for MH370 is on land somewhere near Chinese/Kyrgyz border."
But again, this theory rests on an extraordinary run through the radar systems of several countries.
5. It was flown towards Langkawi island because of a fire or other malfunction
The loss of transponders and communications could be explained by a fire, aviation blogger Chris Goodfellow has suggested. The left turn that the plane made, deviating from the route to Beijing, could have been a bid to reach safety, he argues. "This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport." He aimed to avoid crashing into a city or high ridges,Goodfellow argues. "Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000ft (4,000m) strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lumpur because he knew he had 8,000ft ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance." In this theory it would be assumed that the airliner did not make it to Langkawi and crashed into the sea.
But Goodfellow's theory has been disputed. If the course was changed during a major emergency, one might expect it to be done using manual control. But the left turn was the result of someone in the cockpit typing "seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials", the New York Times reported. The paper says this "has reinforced the belief of investigators - first voiced by Malaysian officials - that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved."
6. The plane is in Pakistan
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has tweeted: "World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden." But Pakistan has strenuously denied that this would be possible. The country's assistant to the prime minister on aviation, Shujaat Azeem, has been reported as saying: "Pakistan's civil aviation radars never spotted this jet, so how it could be hidden somewhere in Pakistan?" Like the Kazakhstan theory, this all seems far-fetched, not least because the junction between Indian and Pakistani air space is one of the most watched sectors in the world by military radar. And despite the remoteness and lawlessness of northern Pakistan, the region is watched closely by satellites and drones. It seems scarcely believable to think an airliner could get there unspotted.
7. The plane hid in the shadow of another airliner
Aviation blogger Keith Ledgerwood believes the missing plane hid in the radar shadow of Singapore Airlines flight 68. The Singaporean airliner was in the same vicinity as the Malaysian plane, he argues. "It became apparent as I inspected SIA68's flight path history that MH370 had manoeuvred itself directly behind SIA68 at approximately 18:00UTC and over the next 15 minutes had been following SIA68." He believes that the Singaporean airliner would have disguised the missing plane from radar controllers on the ground. "It is my belief that MH370 likely flew in the shadow of SIA68 through India and Afghanistan airspace. As MH370 was flying 'dark' without a transponder, SIA68 would have had no knowledge that MH370 was anywhere around, and as it entered Indian airspace, it would have shown up as one single blip on the radar with only the transponder information of SIA68 lighting up ATC and military radar screens." The Singapore Airlines plane flew on to Spain. The Malaysian jet could have branched off. "There are several locations along the flight path of SIA68 where it could have easily broken contact and flown and landed in Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan," Ledgerwood argues.
Prof Hugh Griffiths, radar expert at University College London, says it sounds feasible. But there is a difference between military and civilian radar. Civilian radar works by means of a transponder carried by the aircraft - a system known as secondary radar. The military use primary radar and this "ought to be higher resolution". So how close would the two planes need to be? He estimates about 1000m (3300ft). It is possible military radar would be able to pick up that there were two objects, he says. "It might be able to tell the difference, to know that there are two targets." If this happens, though, there's then the question of how this is interpreted on the ground. Is it a strange echo that would be discounted? When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, although the US radar operator detected the incoming aircraft, they were dismissed as US bombers arriving from the mainland.
8. There was a struggle
One of the hardest things to account for so far with an innocent explanation is the way the plane was flown erratically. It went far above its "ceiling", flying at 45,000ft (13,716m) before later flying very low. Big fluctuations in altitude suggest there might have been a struggle, says Buzdygan. Post-9/11, cockpit doors have been strengthened against the possibility of hijack but there are still scenarios where access could be gained. Pilots talk to each other "over a beer" about how they'd deal with hijackers, he says. Buzdygan would have had no qualms about flying aggressively to try to resist a hijack. "I'd try to disorientate and confuse the hijackers by throwing them around," he says.
9. The passengers were deliberately killed by decompression
Another theory circulating is that the plane was taken up to 45,000ft to kill the passengers quickly, former RAF navigator Sean Maffett says. The supposed motive for this might have been primarily to stop the passengers using mobile phones, once the plane descended to a much lower altitude. At 45,000ft, the Boeing 777 is way above its normal operating height. And it is possible to depressurise the cabin, notes Maffett. Oxygen masks would automatically deploy. They would run out after 12-15 minutes. The passengers - as with carbon monoxide poisoning - would slip into unconsciousness and die, he argues. But whoever was in control of the plane would also perish in this scenario, unless they had access to some other form of oxygen supply.
10. The plane will take off again to be used in a terrorist attack
One of the more outlandish theories is that the plane has been stolen by terrorists to commit a 9/11 style atrocity. It has been landed safely, hidden or camouflaged, will be refuelled and fitted with a new transponder before taking off to attack a city. It would be very hard to land a plane, hide it and then take off again, Maffett suggested. But it can't be ruled out. "We are now at stage where very, very difficult things have to be considered as all sensible options seem to have dropped off," he says. It is not clear even whether a plane could be refitted with a new transponder and given a totally new identity in this way, he says. Others would say that while it is just about feasible the plane could be landed in secret, it is unlikely it would be in a fit state to take off again.
The even more far-fetched
Many of the above theories might seem far-fetched but there are even more outlandish-sounding ones out there.
If the plane had flown up the northern corridor, experts maintain it would probably have triggered primary radar. Key countries whose airspace it might have crossed are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, or Thailand. After 9/11, an unidentified airliner entering sovereign airspace is likely to lead to fighters being scrambled, says Maffett. "If the plane is in the northern arc it could easily have been shot down." It's a theory circulating on some forums. The notion is that no-one would want to admit shooting down an airliner full of passengers, Maffett says, and thus might currently be concealing the event.
But there are a host of holes in the theory. Firstly, the plane would still have had to avoid numerous radar systems before finally triggering one. And the nation responsible would be trying to keep secret the fate of the world's currently most-searched for object. Covering up the incident for so long would arguably make the shooting down look far worse.
A completely different thread of conspiracy theory assumes a sympathetic regime. The scepticism about flying undetected through radar changes somewhat if the hijackers are in cahoots with a country's government. There are several authoritarian regimes within the aircraft's range, but the conspiracy theory doesn't even require a government's co-operation - the hijackers could just be in cahoots with radar operators. Again, this seems to be a conspiracy of incredible complexity to be kept secret for this length of time. And what would the motive be for those colluding?
* * *
Motive? We don't know. But then again, neither we nor anyone else appears to have seen the full cargo manifest yet, which as we said early last week may hold all the answers, and frankly we find it surprising that in a case of such magnitude this most critical unknown has been largely left untouched by everyone.















http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/18/mh370-missing-plane-search-live


Hishamuddin's statement

Here’s the full text of Hishamuddin’s opening statement to today’s press briefing:
Yesterday I stated that the search for MH370 has entered a new phase, which brings new diplomatic, technical and logistical challenges.

Today, I would like to give you an update on the logistical and diplomatic aspects of the search.

The search and rescue operations have taken on a new international dimension. The search is still co-ordinated by Malaysia, but our partners have taken an increasing role in organising and carrying out operations, both within their own territory and also within agreed search sectors. My colleague the Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman will give a more detailed statement on our diplomatic efforts in a moment.

On the logistical front, over the past 24 hours we have been working hard with other countries to narrow the search corridors. Our focus is on four tasks: gathering information from satellite surveillance, analysis of surveillance radar data, increasing air and surface assets, and increasing the number of technical and subject matter experts.

On satellite surveillance, I cannot disclose who has what satellite capability, but I can confirm we have contacted every relevant country that has access to satellite data.
On analysis of radar data, in the southern corridor Australia and Indonesia have agreed to take the lead of their respective parts of the search corridor. In the northern corridor, China and Kazakhstan have agreed to lead in the search areas closest to their countries.

On air and surface assets, I have spoken to almost all ASEAN leaders to request further support, including assets with deep ocean surveillance detection capabilities. We are also asking international partners who have assisted us before to take another look at their primary radar data.

Operational update


In the northern corridor, we have divided the search area into seven quadrants. Each of the seven quadrants is 400 nautical miles by 400 nautical miles – or 160,000 square nautical miles in total.

We have also divided up the southern corridor into seven quadrants. Just like in the north, each quadrant covers an area of 160,000 square nautical miles.

The entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles.

This is an enormous search area. And it is something that Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own. I am therefore very pleased that so many countries have come forward to offer assistance and support to the search and rescue operation.

In terms of the deployment of specific assets:

Today, the Royal Malaysian Navy deployed two more ships to the southern corridor. This deployment includes a Super Lynx helicopter, which can operate from either ship. This brings the total number of Malaysian ships deployed to the southern corridor to four; with two Super Lynx helicopters.

Today, Malaysia also deployed two C-130 aircraft to the Indonesian sector of the southern search corridor.

Other countries are also contributing the following assets:
The United States has deployed one P-8 Poseidon, and will redeploy a P-3 Orion aircraft.

Australia, as I mentioned yesterday, has deployed three P-3 Orions and one C-130 Hercules.

New Zealand is redeploying a P-3 Orion to support Australian search efforts.

The Republic of Korea has committed one P-3 Orion and one C-130 Hercules.

Japan has committed two P-3 Orions, two C-130s and one Gulfstream jet.

The UAE has committed one C-17 aircraft and one Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft.

The assets from Korea, Japan, and the UAE are currently in Malaysia awaiting orders from their respective governments.

Aside from deploying its assets to the northern corridor, China has also made arrangements with Australia to deploy an aircraft to the southern corridor.

ACARS


I would like to clarify what has been said about ACARS and the sequence of events before the air turn back.
On Saturday, we stated that – and I quote:

“Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East coast of peninsular Malaysia. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off.”

These findings were drafted together with representatives from the lead international investigators, based on the information available at the time.

Yesterday Malaysia Airlines clarified that we cannot determine exactly when ACARS had been disabled, only that it occurred within a specific time range: from 01:07 – approximately when the aircraft reached the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, and the last ACARS transmission occurred – to 01:37, which was the next scheduled reporting time. That is indeed the case.

This does not change our belief, as stated, that up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, the aircraft’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane. That remains the position of the investigating team.

It is also important to recognise that the precise time ACARS was disabled has no bearing on the search and rescue operation. We know that the last known position of the plane as confirmed by the international investigations team was in either the northern or southern corridors, which is where our search and rescue efforts are focused. Our priority has always been to find the aircraft.

Police investigation


I am aware there is a lot of interest in the Royal Malaysia Police investigation into the passengers and crew of MH370. I hope you understand that I cannot comment on the specifics of the investigation, which is still on-going.
I would also like to state that the search for MH370 is bigger than politics. I urge all Malaysians to put our differences aside and unite during this difficult time as we focus on finding the aircraft and the 239 people on board.

Concluding remarks


The search for MH370 remains our top priority. We will continue to provide you with operational updates, including further information about assets being deployed, as soon as they are available.

In the last few days we have been intensively contacting our friends across the search regions. The co-operation we saw in the first phase continues in this new phase. In fact, there is even more commitment to assist us in this much larger and more complex multinational operation.

In the meantime our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those on board.




Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein speaks during a news conference about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.  Also pictured are Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya  and Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein speaks during a news conference about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Also pictured are Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters
A search operation has exposed a “deep-seated reluctance to share military information” experts have told the Wall Street Journal.
While small aircraft could fly low enough to avoid radar, it would be almost impossible for a Boeing 777-200 to dodge an air-defense system operating effectively, according to Keith Hayward, head of research at the U.K.’s Royal Aeronautical Society.
“You’d have to fly well below 100 meters, and the 777 is not designed to fly that low,” Mr. Hayward said. “You would exceed the aircraft’s stress levels.”
Ground-based military radar typically has a range of up to 250 miles, its extent being limited by the Earth’s curvature, Mr. Hayward said. That should have put Flight 370 within the range of Thai military radar, and possibly also Indonesian and Indian radar, as it flew west of Malaysia. However, all three of those countries have said they saw no sign of the missing plane.
Malaysia’s neighbors “would be as helpful as they could be without giving away anything about their own weaknesses,” [Tim] Huxley [executive director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies-Asia] said.
Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last week that Malaysia was divulging unprecedented national security information and invited other nations to overcome their reluctance and help find the plane.
India and China, which Flight 370 would have crossed if it moved along the northern corridor plotted by investigators, have more capable air-defense networks than Malaysia and its neighbors.
However, Indian officials gave conflicting comments Monday about whether radar systems on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were operational at the time that Flight 370 may have passed.
China has advanced monitoring capabilities, including the Ganbala radar station in Tibet. At an altitude of about three miles above sea level, the station is the highest manually controlled radar station in the world.
Malaysia has asked Beijing for radar data, but it wasn’t clear whether China had complied with the request. Hong Lei, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said Malaysia had made certain requests for information but he didn’t elaborate.

Hishamuddin insisted that Malaysia is the only country that has publicly released all the satellite and radar data about flight MH370. He confirmed that other countries had shared such data with Malaysia but declined to name which ones. 


Hishamuddin said Malaysia was looking to the US to help in the search in the southern corridor. He said the subject came up in a discussion with US defence secretary Chuck Hagel.
The US has best ability to assist us in southern corridor, Hishamuddin said. 
He did not elaborate. 


Asked about the threat of hunger strike by relatives of those missing Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the company was doing “all it can” to keep relatives updated. 


Hishamuddin said the southern search area was more of challenge because the area was so huge. He has asked the Malaysia military and its international partners to re-examine radar and satellite data. 


Hishammuddin tries to clarify when the plane’s Acars system was switched off. He repeats that the switch off occurred between 1.07am and 1.37am. The exact timing of the switch off does not effect the search effort, he said. 


Hishammuddin said the search area now covers a “vast” area of 2.24 million square nautical miles. 


The northern and southern search corridors have both been divided into seven quadrants, Hishammuddin said. 





Theories

With so few solid leads, investigators are having to consider an endless list of possibilities and theories, some more fanciful than others, according to the Independent.
So far, none of them appear to have come up with anything. Reports suggest that while investigators believe the plane was most likely seized and intentionally diverted off course, they have not uncovered links to any militant groups or any of the sort of militant “chatter” that might normally be expected in the aftermath of a “spectacular”.
One of the more fanciful theories was spread by the Independent itself. On Sunday it reported that Malaysia authorities were examining the idea that plane was flown to one of a number of Taliban strongholds on the Afghan border in North West Pakistan.
Today it noted that the Pakistan Taliban has said it had nothing to do with the plane’s disappearance. 
It doesn’t include a wild, but plausibly argued theory that the plane “shadowed” another flight to avoid detection.
It is put forward by Keith Ledgerwood, a self-confessed “hobby pilot and aviation enthusiast” in a Tumblr post. His “analysis and research” suggests the MH370 followed the flight path of Singapore Airlines Flight 68 across the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, into India’s airpace and beyond.
For what it’s worth here’s the nub of theory:

It is my belief that MH370 likely flew in the shadow of SIA68 through India and Afghanistan airspace. As MH370 was flying “dark” without transponder / ADS-B output, SIA68 would have had no knowledge that MH370 was anywhere around and as it entered Indian airspace, it would have shown up as one single blip on the radar with only the transponder information of SIA68 lighting up ATC and military radar screens.
Wouldn’t the SIA68 flight have detected MH370? NO! The Boeing 777 utilizes a TCAS system for traffic avoidance; the system would ordinarily provide alerts and visualization to pilots if another airplane was too close. However that system only operates by receiving the transponder information from other planes and displaying it for the pilot. If MH370 was flying without the transponder, it would have been invisible to SIA68 ...
There are several locations along the flight path of SIA68 where it could have easily broken contact and flown and landed in Xingjian province, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan. Each of these final locations would match up almost perfectly with the 7.5 hours of total flight time and trailing SIA68. In addition, these locations are all possibilities that are on the “ARC” and fit with the data provided by Inmarsat from the SATCOM’s last known ping at 01:11UTC.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/18/malaysia-airlines-hunger-strike-chinese-missing-plane-mh370

Relatives of some of the Chinese passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have threatened to go on hunger strike in an effort to force more information from the Malaysian authorities.
"Now we have no news, and everyone is understandably worried," said Wen Wanchen, whose son is among the 239 people on board. "The relatives say they will go to the [Malaysian] embassy to find the ambassador. The Malaysian ambassador should be presenting himself here. But he's not. Relatives are very unsatisfied. So you hear them saying 'hunger strike'," he told Agence France-Presse.
China said on Tuesday that it had deployed 21 satellites to search for the missing airliner. It was already searching those parts of its territory covered by a northern corridor that the aircraft could have flown through, state media said.
A map of the northern search corridor for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370A map of the northern search corridor for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Photograph: Malaysian prime minister's office/EPA
Australian and Indonesian authorities were leading the search along the plane's southern flight corridor. Australian officials scouring a 600,000sq km area of the Indian Ocean have described the effort as "not just a needle in a haystack, it's a haystack that gets bigger and shifts". China has adjusted its search along the norther corridor away from the South China Sea.
A map of the southern search corridor for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370A map of the southern search corridor for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Photograph: Malaysian prime minister's office/EPA
The Chinese ambassador in Kuala Lumpur said on Tuesday that authorities were conducting extensive checks on all Chinese passengers on board the missing jet but had found no evidence they were involved in any deliberate diversion of the plane.

More than 150 Chinese nationals were among the 239 people on Beijing-bound flight MH370 when it disappeared early on 8 March.
Investigators believe it was diverted deliberately and are investigating the background of the crew, ground staff and passengers. They have not ruled out hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to personal or psychological problems.
China "conducted meticulous investigation into all the [Chinese] passengers, and did not find any evidence for sabotage activity", Huang said at a press briefing that was reported by the South China Morning Post.
Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has confirmed that he is related to the captain of the MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
"I am not denying that he [Zaharie] is related to one of my in-laws and that I have met him on several occasions," Anwar told reporters on Tuesday. "In fact, he is a close friend of [PKR supreme council member and Subang MP] R Sivarasa, as we said before."
China's Xinhau state news agency has reported that the country's premier, Li Keqiang, rang the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, on Monday asking him to provide Beijing with more detailed data and information in a timely, accurate and comprehensive manner. He said that, despite the difficulty of the search, "as long as there is still a gleam of hope we should continue to do our utmost".
On Monday investigators said they believed the last spoken communication from the plane came from its co-pilot. But officials appeared to backtrack on Sunday's statement that the words "All right, goodnight" came after a communications system was turned off.
Hishammuddin Hussein, transport minister, said the first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, was believed to have uttered the last words to Malaysian air traffic controllers at 1.19am – two minutes before the plane's transponder, which communicates with the civil radar system, stopped.
The minister said the last transmission from the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (Acars) was at 1.07am, but added: "We do not know when it was switched off after that. It was supposed to transmit 30 minutes from then, but that [subsequent] transmission never came through."
Investigators are working to narrow the last possible observation of flight MH370 after analysis of satellite data revealed that it was in one of two vast corridors: a northern area stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand; and a southern range stretching from Indonesia to the southern Indian ocean. Twenty-six countries are now involved in the search for the plane, which officials believe was diverted not long after it took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am.
A member of Indonesia's Search and Rescue scans the horizon of the Andaman Sea for flight MH370A member of Indonesia's Search and Rescue scans the horizon of the Andaman Sea near the northern tip of Sumatra island for the missing flight MH370. Photograph: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images
Hishammuddin said Malaysia had asked countries in the search corridors for radar and satellite information, along with specific assets for search and rescue. It had also asked them to share their search plans.
"It remains a significant diplomatic, technical and logistic challenge," he said, adding that he was grateful for the help Malaysia had received.
Officials said they were not aware of Malaysian media reports that theBoeing-777 could have flown as low as 5,000ft (1,500 metres) after diverting from its course, allowing it to avoid detection by radar. Malaysia's New Straits Times reported that investigators were considering the possibility. It suggested that the aircraft might not have roused the suspicions of those watching military radars if it followed commercial routes. It also cited unnamed sources as saying the plane had flown low over the Malay peninsula.
It is unclear from where the altitude estimate originated; experts said that if it came from radar data, it could well prove incorrect.
Families of the 239 on board have said that investigators' belief that the plane was diverted deliberately has given them fresh hope that the passengers and crew might be alive.



http://rt.com/news/malaysia-airlines-computer-missing-462/

​Disappeared Malaysia Airlines flight path altered by plane’s computer – report

Published time: March 18, 2014 03:47
Edited time: March 18, 2014 06:59

People stand beside the arrival board showing the flight MH370 (top-red) at the Beijing Airport after news of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane disapeared on March 8, 2014 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
People stand beside the arrival board showing the flight MH370 (top-red) at the Beijing Airport after news of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane disapeared on March 8, 2014 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 changed course on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing via the cockpit’s computerized Flight Management System, not by manual control, American officials suggested to the New York Times.
The officials said Monday that only seven or eight keystrokes would have been sufficient to change the Boeing 777’s flight path, though it was not clear whether the system was reprogrammed before or after takeoff.
Regardless, the theory supports the belief of investigators – first voiced by Malaysian officials – that the flight was deliberately diverted.
On Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that investigators had reliable information that someone on the plane had “deliberately disabled” communications systems before the plane vanished. Furthermore, investigators said that it would have taken someone with pilot training to be able to switch off the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS. This system automatically sends engine data and other information to the airline.
Yet Malaysian officials retracted the ACARS theory on Monday. They believe ACARS was still functioning when the plane’s co-pilot spoke the last words heard from MH370 by ground control.
ACARS lost function around the same time oral radio contact was cut off and as the airplane’s transponder halted, the Times reported.
Investigators are combing over radar tapes from MH370’s departure given they believe the recordings would show that after the plane changed its path, it went through several pre-ordained “waypoints,” or markers in the sky. That would implicate that a knowledgeable pilot was controlling MH370 as it went through those points, as passing through them without a computer is not likely.
One waypoint was added to MH370’s planned route, according to investigators. Pilots would do this if an air traffic controller orders a different route to avoid weather or traffic. Yet the wayward point in this case was well off the path to Beijing.
American officials said that if anyone changed the course of the flight by reprogramming the Flight Management System, it would likely be someone familiar with Boeing aircraft.
Meanwhile, China has started a search and rescue operation in a northern region of its own territory, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang said early Tuesday, according to Xinhua.
Indonesia and Australia said Monday they would divide between them a large section of the south-eastern Indian Ocean in the plane search. Indonesia will examine equatorial waters while Australia will focus farther south, according to the Times.
On Sunday, Pakistan became one of 25 countries participating in the search for the missing plane. UK newspaper The Independent reported that Malaysian investigators had requested permission from the Pakistani government to follow up on a theory that the missing passenger jet had landed close to the border with Afghanistan.
The Pakistani government says it has no record of the craft entering its airspace, but has told the Malaysian investigators it is ready to share all available information. In addition, The Kazakh Civil Aviation Committee has said that although the Malaysian Airlines plane could have reached Kazakhstan, their radars would have picked it up.
"No information about the Malaysian plane is available at our radar as it has not entered our airspace,"Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told reporters when asked to comment on the Malaysian government's request. “Our radar system has no information about the Malaysian aircraft as it has never contacted our control tower.”




Remote control theory .....


http://www.allnewsau.com/news/hacker-says-phone-app-could-hijack-plane



Hugo Teso, a security analyst and licensed pilot, says he's developed software that could steal control of an airplane.
(CNN) -- Could this be the deadliest smartphone app ever?
A German security consultant, who's also a commercial pilot, has demonstrated tools he says could be used to hijack an airplane remotely, using just an Android phone.
"You can use this system to modify approximately everything related to the navigation of the plane," Teso told Forbes after his presentation.
With the Android app he created, he said he could remotely control a plane by simply tapping pre-loaded commands like "Please Go Here" and the ominous "Visit Ground."
... continue reading: newspulse







http://www.ibtimes.com/new-malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-cyber-hijack-theory-emerges-after-vulnerabilities-found-inflight


New Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ‘Cyber Hijack’ Theory Emerges After ‘Vulnerabilities’ Found In Inflight System

on March 16 2014 8:14 PM
malaysia-hacking
A passenger takes pictures of a Malaysia Airlines plane at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 16, 2014. Reuters
As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 continues, investigators have come across some startling evidence that the plane could have been hijacked using a mobile phone or even a USB stick. The theory comes from a British anti-terrorism expert who says cyber terrorists could have used a series of “codes” to hack the plane’s in-flight entertainment system and infiltrate the security software.

According to Sally Leivesley, a former scientific adviser to the UK’s Home Office, the Boeing 777’s speed, direction and altitude could have been changed using radio signals sent from a small device. The theory comes after investigators determined that someone with knowledge of the plane’s system intentionally flew the jet off course.
“It might well be the world’s first cyber hijack,” Leivesley told the U.K.’s Sunday Express. “This is a very early version of what I would call a smart plane, a fly-by-wire aircraft controlled by electronic signals.”
Leivesley said that the evidence increasingly indicates that someone took over the plane’s controls “in a deceptive manner” and overwhelmed the plane’s system either remotely or from a seat on the plane.




World's first cyber hijack: Was missing Malaysia Airlines flight hacked with mobile phone?

INTELLIGENCE chiefs fear the missing Malaysian airliner was hijacked by hackers taking over the controls using a mobile phone.




The search is continuing for missing the missing Malaysian Airlines flightThe search is continuing for missing the missing Malaysian Airlines flight [Ap]
British anti-terror expert Dr Sally Leivesley said last night: “It might well be the world’s first cyber hijack.”
Dr Leivesley, a former Home Office scientific adviser, said the hackers could change the plane’s speed, altitude and direction by sending radio signals to its flight management system. It could then be landed or made to crash by remote control. Possible culprits include criminal gangs, terrorists or a foreign power.
The chilling new theory emerged as the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airways Boeing 777 with 239 people on board became the biggest air-sea search in history.
More than a week after Flight MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Malaysian police began searching the captain and co-pilot’s homes as it was finally confirmed that the disappearance was a “deliberate act”.
Dr Leivesley, who runs her own company training businesses and governments to counter terrorist attacks, told the Sunday Express she believes a framework of malicious codes, triggered by a mobile phone, would have been able to override the aircraft’s security software.
“There appears to be an element of planning from someone with a very sophisticated systems engineering understanding,” she said.
“This is a very early version of what I would call a smart plane, a fly-by-wire aircraft controlled by electronic signals.
“It is looking more and more likely that the control of some systems was taken over in a deceptive manner, either manually, so someone sitting in a seat overriding the autopilot, or via a remote device turning off or overwhelming the systems.
“A mobile phone could have been used to do so or a USB stick.
“When the plane is air-side, you can insert a set of commands and codes that may initiate, on signal, a set of processes.”
Dr Leivesley said the hacking threat was laid bare late last year at a science conference in China.
malaysia airlines, missing plane, plane, missing, disappeared, crash, flight mh370, terrorist, terrorism, hijacked, hijack, mobile phoneA well-wisher hangs up messages of support at Kuala Lumpur International Airport [EPA]
It might well be the world’s first cyber hijack
Dr Sally Leivesley, British anti-terror expert
She explained: “What we are finding now is that it is possible with a mobile phone to initiate a signal to a preset piece of malicious software, or malware, in the computer that ­initiates a whole set of instructions.
“It is possible for hackers, be they part of organised crime or with government backgrounds, to get into the main computer network of the plane through the inflight, onboard entertainment system.
“If you have got any connections whatsoever between the computing systems, you can jump across and you can get into the flight critical ­system.
“To really protect your computer systems, you do not let anything ­connect with them and you would keep the inflight systems totally in their own loop so nothing whatsoever connects.
“There are now a number of ways, however, in which the gap between those systems and a handheld device like a mobile phone can be overcome.”
Last April, German security consultant Hugo Teso, who is also a commercial pilot, unveiled a way to hijack a plane remotely using a phone.
Addressing the Hack In The Box security summit in Amsterdam, he said he had spent three years dev­eloping a series of malicious codes on a mobile phone app called PlaneSploit that hacked into an aircraft’s security system.
With the cream of the global intelligence community, America’s huge satellite arsenal and 14 different nations now involved in the search for the missing plane, there is also a growing belief that answers to many of the questions might lie in the private world of 53-year-old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah. Police have been standing guard outside the father-of-three’s home since the flight vanished but yesterday saw the first extensive search inside.
Diaries, personal papers, computer files and the flight simulator that Captain Zaharie had built himself, and which he had proudly shown off on the internet, will all undergo detailed forensic analysis. Any data held on the simulator’s computer might give an indication whether the pilot had planned a trial run of events prior to the ill-fated flight to Beijing.
Police also began searching the home of the 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.
He was described by his family as a “good boy, good Muslim, humble and quiet” although photographs have emerged in recent days of him inviting two attractive women into the cockpit during a flight three years ago.
malaysia airlines, missing plane, plane, missing, disappeared, crash, flight mh370, terrorist, terrorism, hijacked, hijack, mobile phoneA Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency pilot studies a map of the area [REUTERS]
The fact that Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak has taken personal charge of the investigation highlights the government’s efforts to appease international criticism of the search, particularly from China.
Yesterday Najib gave the firmest indication to date that the cause of the plane’s disappearance was down to someone on board, revealing how investigators now believe the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System had been dis­abled, followed by the switching off of the transponder used to communicate with air traffic control.
At the same time, the flight also deviated wildly from its intended course north to Beijing, tracking west over the Malaysian peninsula before veering north westwards across the Straits of Malacca. “These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” said Najib. “Clearly the search for MH370 has entered a new phase.
“In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board.
“The investigations team is making further calculations which will indicate how far the aircraft may have flown after the last point of ­contact.”
He said the plane’s last communication with a satellite was in one of two possible “corridors”.
One arcs northwards towards Thailand through to the border of the central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. It could indicate that the aircraft may have been hijacked with the intention of flying it to somewhere in Asia.
This northern route would have taken the plane through areas with extremist Islamist groups and unstable governments, as well as remote, sparsely populated areas.
The region, however, also contains American military bases with powerful surveillance capabilities.
The second route arcs into the vast Indian Ocean. With a fuel load intended for only a six-hour flight to Beijing, any journey across the ­thousands of miles of open water, with an average depth of 12,762ft, could have resulted only in the aircraft ditching in the sea.