Timeline/Response/Military

MH370 DECODED
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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Military Radar Operator Response

On the day of the disappearance of MH370, the Military radar system recognised the ‘blip’ that appeared west after the left turn over IGARI was that of MH370. Even with the loss of SSR data, the Military long range air defence radar with Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) capabilities affirmed that it was MH370 based on its track behaviour, characteristics and constant/continuous track pattern/trend. Therefore, the Military did not pursue to intercept the aircraft since it was ‘friendly’ and did not pose any threat to national airspace security, integrity and sovereignty.

Source: Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018 1.1.3 Diversion from Filed Flight Plan Route 1) Malaysian Military Radar


RMAF Informed KL-ARCC of Possible Air Turn-back

22:30 MYT

The KL ARCC was informed by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) of a possible Air Turn Back by MH370 on 8 March 2014, at 10:30pm (1430 UTC). The RMAF also mentioned that the area towards the West of Peninsular Malaysia was the last known position observed on the military radar. At this stage, the KL ARCC was unable to determine whether MH370 did indeed make an air turn back, and it required further analysis and verification. Despite the uncertainties surrounding the ‘latest’ information received, it was decided that both areas to the East and West of Peninsular Malaysia would be searched, and a large number of assets, aircraft and vessels were deployed to search these areas.





2.14 The KL ARCC was informed by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) of a possible Air Turn Back by MH370 on 8 March 2014, at 10:30pm (1430 UTC). The RMAF also mentioned that the area towards the West of Peninsular Malaysia was the last known position observed on the military radar. At this stage, the KL ARCC was unable to determine whether MH370 did indeed make an air turn back, and it required further analysis and verification. Despite the uncertainties surrounding the ‘latest’ information received, it was decided that both areas to the East and West of Peninsular Malaysia would be searched, and a large number of assets, aircraft and vessels were deployed to search these areas.


Flimsy 14:30 UTC (IGARI plus 21 hours, 8 minutes): Kuala Lumpur ARCC was informed by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) of a possible turn back by MH370, and that the area towards the west of Peninsular Malaysia was the last known position observed on the military radar (at this stage, the KL ARCC was unable to determine whether MH370 did indeed make an air turn back, as it required further verification).


Western Peninsular Malaysia[1]
  • i. SAR Plan by RMAF
  • ii. Search area covered the Straits of Malacca, Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, West of Sumatra
  • iii. Cumulative search area of 4.56 million sq km
  • iv. 36 search aircraft used from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE and USA.
  • v. 35 search vessels used from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and USA.


Notes and References
  1. MH370 Search and Rescue Operations and Lesson Learnt - This paper was presented by Malaysia to the Third Meeting of the Asia/Pacific Regional Search and Rescue Task Force (APSAR/TF/3), Maldives, 25 – 29 January 2015.