Omitted Thai Radar Data: The UAP Connection

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TL;DR for this post at the bottom.

I made a post to /r/AirlinerAbduction2014 : Omitted Thai Military Data: A Missing Puzzle Piece?. That post is a deep dive mainly into the Royal Thai Air Force’s air-defense capabilities and their relationship with the official report of the disappearance of MH370. An adequate summary of the post was generated by /u/zarmin using GPT-4:

TLDR:

The author questions the reliability of the official MH370 report, suggesting it overlooked important data from Thai military radar. This data, the author believes, could offer a complete understanding of the flight path and help clarify potential inconsistencies. Thus, cross-referencing both Malaysian and Thai radar data may provide new insights into the disappearance of MH370.

Summary:

According to the post, the official report on the disappearance of MH370 relied on Malaysian military radar data, which has been criticized for apparently featuring erratic altitude readings that are beyond the flight capabilities of a Boeing 777. The author proposes that additional data from Thai military radar installations could potentially offer a more comprehensive understanding of the flight path.

The Thai military is said to have detected MH370 and shared the data with Malaysian authorities; however, this data is not referenced in the official report. The author notes that the Thai military’s radar capabilities would have allowed it to collect relevant data on MH370’s flight path.

The author suggests that if the altitude data from multiple independent sources is inconsistent with the flight capabilities of a 777, then there may have been more going on than a simple aircraft. If independent data sets do not correlate, then the collected data could be deemed inaccurate or unreliable.

In conclusion, the author asserts that the official report on MH370’s disappearance may be incomplete as it does not incorporate potentially significant data from Thai military radar installations. The author believes that cross-referencing the Malaysian and Thai radar data, in line with the principles of the scientific method, could enhance our understanding of MH370’s flight path.

I will be referencing information in that post, and reference the sources again here.

This seemingly-missing puzzle piece could not merely shed light on the fight path of MH370, but also help track any other objects in the airspace in-or-around MH370. This is obviously of great interest with reference to the recently posted videos and the analysis of UAP data in reference to the disappearance of MH370. I will demonstrate in this post that the Thai authorities publicly acknowledged obtaining and sharing military radar data with the Malaysian authorities. I will demonstrate that the Royal Thai Air Force has the military radar capability to collect highly relevant information pertaining to the flight path of MH370 as it flew over the Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia, and the Straight of Malacca. These two pieces of information would likely indicate that the Thai authorities have relevant radar data from MH370, as well as any objects flying near its airspace in the three regions described above.

The Royal Thai Air Force has State-of-the-Art Military Radar Equipment

There are two primary sources which establish this claim as factual.

The first article I cited provides details on Thailand’s air-defense upgrade completed in 1999. I will quote my fact summary from my initial post:

Northrop Grumman installed three state-of-the-art long-range radar installations in Southern Thailand in 1999. The AN/FPS-130X system was designed for reliable, unattended operation for (at a minimum) months at a time. These installations were integrated with the existing Thai air operations center, which was itself upgraded with state-of-the-art technology.

The second source provides some more details. To quote my fact summary from my initial post:

Fact summary: By January 1999, the Thai military had fully modernized its air defense assets in Southern Thailand, integrated them with the Air Operations Center, modernized the equipment at that center, and retrained those utilizing that equipment to use it effectively. The result was “one of the most modern air defense systems in the world… to support the critical missions for air defense.”

The third source is a technical document apparently produced by Forecast International in 2002. It describes the capabilities of the three AN/FPS-130 military radar systems installed in Thailand in 1999. To quote from that document:

Total Produced. A total of 44 ARSR-4s have been produced, and three FPS-130(V) systems procured by Thailand.

Application. Surveillance radars used jointly by the FAA for en route air traffic control and the USAF for air defense. The FPS-130(V) is used for military airspace surveillance and management.

Design Features. … The solid-state system was specifically designed for unattended operation and includes remote monitoring as well as fault detection and analysis capabilities. It was designed to meet both FAA air traffic control and military search and tracking needs. While the modular digital extractor and tracker have the capacity to process 800 aircraft and 200 non-aircraft reports per scan, there is a 50-percent reserve capacity, and even this can be further expanded. … A look-down beam and low cross-section detection capability make it possible to detect small, low-flying targets… A secondary surveillance radar is fully integrated and is capatible with the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System (ATCRBS)**, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), and Mode S… The radar can operate unattended. Total system downtime for preventative maintenance is 24 hours per year, with the antenna planned for shutdown only once per year.

Operational Characteristics. … The look-down beam and low radar cross-section target-detection capabilities are very effective at detecting hostile intruders and drug smuggling aircraft. … The radar was designed to detect a 1-meter-square object out to 250 nautical miles, a 50-nautical-mile increase over previous long-range radars. The target can even be detected during severe weather conditions, including heavy ground and sea interference, or bird migrations.

Thai and Malaysian Authorities Publicly Acknowledge Thai Military Data

This section will be short and sweet. Having established that the Royal Thai Air Force is packing some serious fire-power in terms of air-defense radar, we should expect them to have detected MH370’s flight path. In fact, they did! This article reports:

Ten days after a Malaysian jetliner disappeared, Thailand’s military said Tuesday it saw radar blips that might have been from the missing plane but didn’t report it “because we did not pay attention to it.”

Thai military officials said Tuesday their own radar showed an unidentified plane, possibly Flight 370, flying toward the strait beginning minutes after the Malaysian jet’s transponder signal was lost.

This article by Slate documents a statement taken by the Associated Press from Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn.

When asked why it took so long to release the information, [Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn] said, “Because we did not pay any attention to it. The Royal Thai Air Force only looks after any threats against our country, so anything that did not look like a threat to us, we simply look at it without taking actions.”

He said the plane never entered Thai airspace and that Malaysia’s initial request for information in the early days of the search was not specific. “When they asked again and there was new information and assumptions from (Malaysian) Prime Minister Najib Razak, we took a look at our information again,” Montol said. “It didn’t take long for us to figure out, although it did take some experts to find out about it.”

The Washington Post article which Slate cites for this quote has been deleted.

EDIT: /u/savedagwood provided another source from the San Diego Union Tribune with even more information on the data the Thai military collected.

Montol said that at 1:28 a.m., Thai military radar “was able to detect a signal, which was not a normal signal, of a plane flying in the direction opposite from the MH370 plane,” back toward Kuala Lumpur. The plane later turned right, toward Butterworth, a Malaysian city along the Strait of Malacca. The radar signal was infrequent and did not include any data such as the flight number.

He said he didn’t know exactly when Thai radar last detected the plane. Malaysian officials have said Flight 370 was last detected by their own military radar at 2:14 a.m. …

Thai officials said radar equipment in southern Thailand detected the plane. Malaysian officials have said the plane might ultimately have passed through northern Thailand, but Thai Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong told reporters Tuesday that the country’s northern radar did not detect it.

I will let the Thai authorities’ words speak for themselves.

What relevant data could Thai authorities have obtained?

I am going to demonstrate what relevant data the Thai military would have been capable of obtaining from the AN/FPS-130 systems. In order to do so, we need to know where the radar systems are installed.

This article claims to identify the three radar installations. I have not been able to verify that information. The article also provides a useful depiction of the each radar installation’s effective area of operation, limited to 200 nautical miles. You may remember that the AN/FPS-130 tech specs detailed effective detection of 1-meter-square objects out to a distance of 250 nautical miles. I created new maps indicating the effective radar range of each station out to 250 nautical miles, using this site. It should be noted that the site does not permit drawing of circles in nautical miles. In order to create circles of radius 250 nautical miles, I converted 250 nautical miles to feet, and centered 1519028.80-foot-radius circles on the coordinates indicated in the above article. I converted to feet, rather than miles, because I intended to get the most precise circle possible from the program. If this methodology produces maps which are inaccurate, please let me know the flaw in the described methodology.

Here is the link to the album of those maps. The first picture is the original map from the above article. The rest are my own maps generated using the above methodology. The red circle represents the effective area of coverage of an ANFPS-130 system installed at the Songkhla set to 250 nm. The blue circle represents the effective area of coverage from the Phucket site. The yellow represents the effective area of coverage from the Ko Samui site.

These three sites have significant areas of overlap, resulting in different areas having different colors. I will refer to overlapping areas both by their color on the map and with reference to the sites at which the radar is centered: the Songkhla-Ko Samui area (hereafter “the S-K area” or “the orange area”), the Songkhla-Phucket (hereafter “the S-P area” or “the purple area”), and the Ko Samui-Phucket area (hereafter “the K-P area” or “the light-blue area”). Finally, there is the massive Songkhla-Ko Samui-Phucket area (hereafter “the S-K-P area” or “the pink area”).

The Meat: Can this data help us determine the authenticity of the two videos?

Not directly. The coordinates shown in the satellite video fall outside of the blue circle, centered on the Phucket site, the western most radar installation. Instead of focusing on data we probably don’t have, let’s talk about data the Thai authorities almost certainly do have.

The Potatoes: Could this data reveal any unknown aerial phenomena present in the flight path leading to those coordinates?

You bet it can! Again, the technical specifications of the AN/FPS-130 clearly state that the radar system is capable to detecting absurdly small objects through adverse weather conditions, environmental noise, and active jamming by known technology, out to a range of 250 nm. These radar systems are functional year round, requiring only 24 hours of preventative maintenance per year. It can process hundreds of aircraft and other airborne objects per scan. This system was not just installed and abandoned, but effectively integrated into Thailand’s Air Operations Center, including tangential system upgrades and staff retraining. The document specifies that the product was designed to be turn-key, a design scheme specifically implemented when a product is intended to be fully operational upon deployment without further intervention.

Given the effective areas of operation depicted in the maps above, the Thai military likely would have been able to capture highly accurate data relating to the coordinates of not just MH370, but almost anything present in the airspace as progressed through its flight path. As such, that data could be quite useful in putting to bed any speculation that UAP were detecting during the event.

Specifically, we can see the diverted flight path of MH370 fell well within the operational areas of all of these installations. I have not been able to reconstruct the exact flight path on this map, but by cross referencing it with other publicly available flight paths, I can make some specific statements.

The first radar installation to track MH370 should have been the one at Songkhla. Its effective area of coverage indicates it would have been capable of detecting MH370 as soon as it took off from Kuala Lumpur. It would have been able to track most, if not all, of its flight path both before and after the diversion from the planned route.

After the flight diverged from its planned route, it would have next been detected by the Ko Samui installation. This detection would have occurred in the orange region, or the S-K region. The plane flew from the Gulf of Thailand, over Malaysia, and then onto the Straight of Malacca. As it flew over Malaysia, it few out of the S-K region and into the S-K-P region. At this point, we have three, separate, state-of-the-art military radar installations capable of passively detecting MH370’s flight path as it continues to fly over Malaysia, towards the Straight of Malacca. MH370’s flight path would indicate it would remain in the S-K-P region even as it flew over the horizon above the Straight of Malacca. I say all of that information with a great deal of confidence given the data presented.

I am less certain as to which installation would lose MH370 first according to the reconstruction, Songkhla or Ko Samui. However, we know that the western-most installation, Phucket, has an effective operational area which would permit it to continue to track MH370 as it flew west towards the Nicobar Islands. Unfortunately, the southward turn towards the Indian ocean also falls outside the range of the Phucket, meaning the Thai military radar data could not be used to establish the authenticity of that event either. Nonetheless, the flight path demands that MH370 fly out of the pink area, into either the light-blue area or the purple area, and finally into the blue area, the effective operational area of an AN/FPS-130 stationed at Phucket.

In other words, the Thai authorities should have some of the best data that can be expected with regards to the flight path of MH370. In spite of this, I found no mention of such data in the official report.

But wait, there’s more!

The tech specs of the AN/FPS-130 say that it is a primary radar system integrated with SSRs. SSRs are the tools used by civilian air traffic control to pick up signals from airplane transponders. To get to the point, it is plausible that these radar installations could have intercepted such data, and yet again, no mention of such data exists in the final report.

The tech specs also say that altitude data collected by AN/FPS-130 systems is subject to inherent inaccuracies. That is fine. The system likely collected some altitude data about MH370’s flight path over the Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia, and the Straight of Malacca. Such data could be used to corroborate or invalidate the data collected from the Malaysian military, deemed unreliable because it could not be replicated in a flight simulator. Instead of rejecting data which doesn’t match a predetermined model, data must be subjected to further analysis against independent datasets in order to formulate a model.

Relationship between Thai military radar data and UAPs

The ultimate point of this post is to point out that a significant piece of publicly acknowledged evidence is apparently absent from the official report, insofar as I can tell. My reading into the tech specs of those radar systems indicated to me that the data collected could be particularly relevant to determining the whole truth of what was in the airspace of MH370. Apparently, the official report did detect UAP activity prior to dropping off military radar near the Nicobar Islands. Given the state-of-the-art equipment available to the Royal Thai Air Force, I would have expected far more use of such data in an official report.

Going Forward

After endless rounds of scrutiny placed upon the two recently posted videos, multiple detailed analyses have revealed conflicting results. I have been following the investigation as a curious skeptic, and someone deeply interested in the scientific method. I believe the subject of UAPs deserves nothing less than rigorous scientific analysis, and I have been very impressed with our community’s ability to implement two key aspects of the scientific method: testings a proposed model against available data, and publishing your results for peer review. This tendency appears to have sprung up spontaneously due to the exposure of information dense videos which can be subjected to rigorous analysis without conclusive debunking. This process of investigation, regardless of its outcome, will be an important lesson for our community. We must reflect upon how our community carries out scientific investigations with respect to future posts of information dense UAP information. Refining our scientific practices in our investigations of evidence of UAPs is critical for public acceptance of the phenomenon.

I intend to make a final post in /r/ufosmeta which analyzes the community process, highlight strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement. I hope this post was informative and useful in your continued pursuit of knowledge.

If anyone wants to pick up from where I left off, feel free. If you want to learn more about the air-defense capabilities of various South East Asian countries, and how that relates to MH370, check out my previous post. I need to acknowledge that the information presented here is not presented by an expert and required assumptions which were not first verified. I tried to be clear when I made such assumptions in the post. If I made any errors, I humbly ask that you correct me and provide me with sources for further reading.

TL;DR – Generated with GPT-4

The text discusses the potential significance of omitted Thai radar data in relation to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and its connection to the analysis of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs). The author emphasizes that this missing radar data could offer insights into MH370’s flight path and the presence of any objects in the airspace around the aircraft. The Thai military’s radar capabilities are described as state-of-the-art, with installations dating back to 1999.

The author provides details from various sources to support their claims about Thailand’s radar capabilities and its potential relevance to MH370’s disappearance. They reference articles and technical documents to demonstrate the capabilities of the AN/FPS-130 military radar systems installed in Thailand. These radar systems are said to be capable of detecting small objects even in adverse weather conditions and challenging environments.

The author highlights statements from Thai military officials acknowledging that radar blips possibly related to MH370 were detected but not reported in a timely manner. The timeline of radar detections from Thai installations is discussed, including the points at which MH370’s flight path would have been detected as it deviated from its planned route.

The text also explores the potential correlation between Thai radar data and UAPs. The author suggests that the Thai military radar data, if fully utilized and disclosed, could contribute to understanding UAP activities or confirming the authenticity of recently posted UAP videos.

The author concludes by emphasizing the importance of rigorous scientific analysis in investigating UAPs and calls for continued improvement in how the community approaches such investigations.

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