Missing MH370: Royal M'sian Air Force base in Subang like a UN airport now

Japan ’ P-3C Orion patrol aircraft getting ready to take off from the Subang Air Base.

SUBANG - As the search for the missing MH370 airplane becomes more intense, the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang is looking more like an airport for the United Nations.

Aircraft from Malaysia, Japan and South Korea can be seen parked in the same area, just waiting to depart for the search operation.

The Japanese Maritime Defence Force has sent four aircraft - two Lockheed C-130s and two Lockheed P3 Orions.

South Korea has sent one each of the same planes.

The United States Navy has three aircraft involved in the search - two P3 Orions and a P-8A Poseidon.

"All the help from these countries is lightening our burden," said an RMAF official, who did not want to be named.

Malaysia has four C-130 and two Casa CN235 at Subang, which serves as a base for the search in the Southern Corridor.

When they get the respective clearance, the aircraft depart to their destinations, which could be more than 4,000km away.

For the search operations in the southern Indian Ocean, the different countries have to get clearance from Indonesia because the aircraft will have to fly over Sumatran airspace.

Every morning, these aircraft can be seen taking off from the Subang airport.

Each aircraft is assigned a particular sector, said the RMAF official, and each mission could take up to 12 hours including flying time to and from the Indian Ocean.

The operations only take place during daylight unlike the previous ones in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca that took place even at night.

According to the RMAF official, the planes would fly about 600m or less above the sea.

Each aircraft would cover a square and they would move back and forth to try and make sure each grid is covered.

"The task is difficult because all you see is the sea.

"You need luck to spot something," he said.

Malaysia Airlines hunts for missing plane