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Thayer Consultancy

ABN # 65 648 097 123

Background Briefing: Cambodia Deploys Z-9 Helicopters for MH370 Search Carlyle A. Thayer March 19, 2014

[client name deleted] What is your assessment of Cambodia's decision to deploy Z-9 helicopters in the search effort for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370? It this a token gesture? Or is it a response to Chinese pressure "hey, we gave you those, use them!" ANSWER: Too little, too late. The Z-9s are utility helicopters not dedicated for search and rescue purposes, especially over sea. They have a limited range and can only provide eyes in the sky for visual sighting at short distances. Cambodias helicopters and two patrol boats will not be deployed in any relevant search area where the MH370 might have gone down based on current information. Cambodia may be seen as trying to do something since it is a signatory to 1972 Agreement for the Facilitation of Search for Aircrafts in Distress and Rescue of Survivors of Aircraft Accidents signed between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Cambodia acceded to the agreement when it joined ASEAN in 1999 and is committed to provide assistance in search and rescue if requested. Cambodia may also be trying to curry favour with China by going through the motions.

Suggested citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, Cambodia Deploys Z-9 Helicopters for MH370 Search, Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, March 19, 2014. All background briefs are posted on Scribd.com (search for Thayer). To remove yourself from the mailing list type UNSUBSCRIBE in the Subject heading and hit the Reply key. Thayer Consultancy provides political analysis of current regional security issues and other research support to selected clients. Thayer Consultancy was officially registered as a small business in Australia in 2002.

Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

Background Briefing: Chinas Naval Capabilities and the MH370 Search Carlyle A. Thayer March 22, 2014

[client name deleted] There is still no definitive news about the missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370. What does the search reveal about China's blue-water naval capabilities? They are sending significant assets into the southern Indian Ocean. They obviously have a lot at stake given that over half the people on the plane are Chinese. But it also seems that this entire situation is also a way of demonstrating the country's growing military power. Soon they'll have more assets in the southern Indian Ocean than anyone else. The Indians in particular might be feeling a little uneasy on this. What is your response to this? ANSWER: India has already turned down a Chinese request for Chinese ships to conduct a search in Indias waters. India said they could handle this. Deploying the number of ships they have, resetting 21 satellites, etc. takes this matter beyond just a normal search and rescue mission. Chinese leaders must demonstrate to the public that it can look after their interests. Chinese criticism of Malaysia quite chauvinistic seems aimed at asserting Chinese superiority in being able to manage a complex search and rescue operation and that China possess better technology and can devote more platforms than regional states. Chinas push into the southern Indian Ocean is a vivid demonstration of the above. China already has an ice breaker visiting Western Australia after its rescue mission in the Antarctic. China wants to have a dominant presence in the Indian Ocean search area and be the first to discover plane wreckage.

Suggested citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, Chinas Naval Capabilities and the MH370 Search, Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, March 22, 2014. All background briefs are posted on Scribd.com (search for Thayer). To remove yourself from the mailing list type UNSUBSCRIBE in the Subject heading and hit the Reply key.

2 Thayer Consultancy provides political analysis of current regional security issues and other research support to selected clients. Thayer Consultancy was officially registered as a small business in Australia in 2002.

Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

Background Briefing: Malaysia Airlines MH360: Assessing International Cooperation Carlyle A. Thayer March 24, 2014

[client name deleted] 1. What's your assessment of the international cooperation in the search and rescue (SAR) of Malaysia Airlies MH370? Is it the largest multi-national search and rescue mission in history? ANSWER: It is difficult to know whether the search for MH370 is the largest multinational search and rescue in history because of how search and rescue missions are classified. Some are associated with large scale natural disasters. The present efforts to find the MH370 must be the largest and most extensive ever conducted in Southeast Asia and the southern Indian Ocean. 2. What's the difficulty in organizing the SAR at this level and type? ANSWER: The main difficulty of this SAR mission is that it is unprecedented. Usually civil aviation authorities have a good idea where a plane crashed. The SAR is launched to rescue victims as the first priority and then to recover wreckage woth a priority on the black box.. The present SAR operation to locate MH370 had several phases. In the first instance it was the responsibility of Malaysia to conduct SAR in its area of control. The main difficulty was that civil aviation authorities could not locate MH370 once its transponder and other communication systems were shut down and the plane passed out of Malaysias area of control. A major international effort scoured the waters of the Gulf of Thailand/western South China Sea where the plane was presumed to have crashed and found nothing. The second difficulty was Malaysia did not have the capacity to fully integrate civil radar, its own military radar, the radar from neighbouring countries, satellite data belonging to national governments as well as privately owned satellites. A third problem was how to analyse and verify all this technical data in a timely fashion. This is not an easy task when Malaysian authorities had to rely on other governments and private businesses to provide bits and pieces of data. A fourth problem is that all the technical data, even if effectively fused for analysis, could not determine whether MG370 flew on a northerly or southerly route once it has crossed back over peninsula Malaysia.

2 A fifth problem is that once satellite imagery became available it identified pieces of presumed wreckage at sea. It has been difficult to locate these objects because of their extreme location in the southern Indian Ocean. Few maritime aircraft can stay for long over the search area. Poor weather conditions have made it difficult to search. Winds and tides spread the presumed wreckage from the crash site. But the efforts of technologically advanced countries - Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the United States - will now bring to bear sophisticated sensors. The growing armada of surface ships will mean that presumed wreckage can be retrieved and then analysed. But the search for MH370 is a race against time as the black box has only a limited battery life.

Suggested citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, Malaysia Airlines MH360: Assessing International Cooperation, Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, March 24, 2014. All background briefs are posted on Scribd.com (search for Thayer). To remove yourself from the mailing list type UNSUBSCRIBE in the Subject heading and hit the Reply key. Thayer Consultancy provides political analysis of current regional security issues and other research support to selected clients. Thayer Consultancy was officially registered as a small business in Australia in 2002.