Singapore Defence Minister offers Indonesia more assets in search for AirAsia

Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing interacting with Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) servicemen on board RSS Supreme before departing for Indonesia on December 29, 2014.

SINGAPORE - Defence minister Ng Eng Hen sent a note this morning to Indonesia's defence minister, offering more Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) assets to help in the underwater search of the AirAsia flight.

In a letter to Ryamizard Ryacudu which was posted on Dr Ng's Facebook page, the minister stated that two additional RSN assets have been offered.

The first is the Mine Counter-Measure Vessel, which has underwater sonar and a remotely operated vehicle. The second is the REMUS, which is an autonomous underwater vehicle.

"These two assets will prove useful as the focus of efforts shifts underwater, and they will replace the Corvette that is now in theatre," wrote Dr Ng.

The Missile corvette (RSS Valour) was deployed on Sunday night to assist in the search and rescue of Flight QZ8501 which crashed in the Java Sea.

Wall Street Journal reported today that Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency as obtained a sonar image it says may be the body of the missing AirAsia jet on the seabed.

The image appeared to show the airplane upside down in 24-30 meters of water.

Flight QZ8501, carrying 162 people, vanished on Sunday about 40 minutes into its flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

klim@sph.com.sg