US Navy sending P-8A Poseidon to assist in search for missing flight MH370


US Navy is adding another resource into the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

In a statement released today, the US Navy announced that from March 15, a P-8A Poseidon will be commissioned to the Strait of Malacca to aid in search efforts.

The US had previously deployed a P-3C Orion and the aircraft will remain on duty 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.

"The P-3 will fly the evening search mission using its radar, infrared and night vision capabilities," the statement said.

In terms of mission effectiveness and reliability, the P-8A represents a leap forward for the Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance community. The aircraft has a maximum speed of 490 knots, a ceiling of 41,000 feet, and provides a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours from its base.

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.

Built on the proven Boeing 737 airframe, the transition to P-8A brings with it enhanced safety and reduced maintenance.

Meanwhile, the first vessel deployed by the US Navy in the search for the missing plane, the USS Pinckney will be sent to Singapore for planned maintenance and routine voyage repairs.

The US said that in coordination with the Malaysian authorities, it was agreed that the Pinckney is not currently needed until follow-on information is available and planning occurs.

"We are sending USS Kidd from the Gulf of Thailand to the Strait of Malacca to continue its assistance with the search efforts. We expect her to arrive in 24-48 hours. We do not have detailed information on her assignment in the Strait of Malacca at this time," according to the statement. – March 13, 2014.