4:22 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

Malaysia to Spend $190 Million to Improve Aircraft Tracking

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysia plans to spend 700 million ringgit ($190 million) to upgrade its civilian radar systems, the country’s transport minister said Saturday, ahead of the first anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The government hopes to invite tenders for the upgrade this year, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The upgrade is part of efforts to improve the nation’s radars as air traffic grows over the years in Southeast Asia.

Malaysia has improved coordination between civilian and military agencies, Mr. Liow said. It was found that the nation’s military radar controllers were tracking Flight 370 on their radar screens for some time after it fell off the civilian radar and changed course.Nothing has been found of the Boeing Co. 777-200 or the 239 passengers and crew on Flight 370 despite an intensive search over the past year that has cost millions of dollars.

Experts believe that the plane’s flight ended in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometers off course, according to an interpretation of signals exchanged between the plane and a satellite.

Mr. Liow said he remains “cautiously optimistic” about finding the missing plane. The current search, led by Australia, is focused on a 60,000 square kilometer area west of Perth, of which over 40% has been searched.

The search teams have identified 10 potential objects so far, which will be analyzed to determine if they are from the missing plane, he said.

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