Missing MH370: US Navy to deploy P-8A Poseidon aircraft

Missing MH370: US Navy to deploy P-8A Poseidon aircraft

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The US Navy will deploy a P-8A Poseidon to aid in the search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The US Navy said it would move a P-8A Poseidon to the search area on Saturday, according to a statement by the American Embassy in Malaysia on Friday. However, it did not specify the area.

"The P-3C Orion will remain on station to assist with the search in a daily rotation with the P-8. This move adds the P-8s enhanced technology and greater range to the search efforts while maximising planned maintenance and guarding against air crew fatigue for both aircraft," said the US Navy.

The US Navy has also sent the USS Kidd from the Gulf of Thailand to the Straits of Malacca to continue its assistance with the search efforts.

The statement also mentioned the decision to send the USS Pinckney to Singapore for planned maintenance and routine voyage repairs.

"With the search area expanding into the Straits of Malacca, Pinckney is not currently needed until follow-on information is available and planning occurs. She will continue searching during her transit south today," the statement said.

The P-8A Poseidon is built on the proven Boeing 737 airframe, and is fitted with enhanced safety and reduced maintenance.

It is also described as the "most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world".

"A true multi-mission aircraft, it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability," said the US Navy.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of 490 knots, with a ceiling of 41,000 feet, and provides a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station.

"For a mission such as the MH370 search, the P-8 will typically fly at 5,000 to 10,000 feet at 350 knots, with a search time of approximately 8-9 hours depending on distance to search area," said the statement.

A new search area in the Indian Ocean had raised hopes of finding the missing MH370 with the Pentagon confirming that new evidence has emerged.

A Pentagon official had told The Star that the US was opening a new area of investigation following indications that the Boeing 777-200ER could have gone down there.

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