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Planes, ships involved in search for MH370

Published on Mar 28, 2014 2:51 PM
 
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Air Warfare Specialist, Flight Sergeant Simon Martelli, operates the radar and electro optics camera aboard a P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean searching for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force on Friday, March 28, 2014. The Australian-led search for Flight MH370 switched focus to a new area on Friday after fresh analysis radically changed estimates of where the aircraft is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PERTH (AFP) - The Australian-led search for Flight MH370 switched focus to a new area on Friday after fresh analysis radically changed estimates of where the aircraft is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Seventeen aircraft, some carrying state-of-the-art submarine-hunting technology, and six ships, five of them Chinese, are involved in the southern corridor search zone, focusing on a 319,000-square-kilometre expanse of sea.

Here is a breakdown of the ships and planes at the disposal of those in charge of the operation, which is now focused on an area some 1,100 kilometres north-west of previous estimates.

Use of the aircraft is staggered, to give crews a break, meaning not every aircraft takes to the skies every day.

AIR

- One US Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, with another on its way to Perth. The Poseidon carries next-generation ultra-high definition electro-optic cameras and sensors, capable of detecting and zeroing in on small objects on the water's surface. Can fly 7,500km without refuelling. Unveiled in November at the Dubai Airshow.

- Seven P3 Orions. Orions can carry sophisticated radar, infrared detectors, magnetic anomaly detectors and acoustic detectors designed to locate enemy submarines. They have endurance of 15 hours and are commonly used for long-range maritime patrols. Australia has supplied four to the search effort, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea one each.

- Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 military transport carriers. Designed in Soviet-era Russia, the four-engined jet is capable of carrying heavy loads and travelling long distances.

- One South Korean C130 Hercules. The Hercules is a four-engined turbo-prop introduced in the 1950s which is still used as a workhorse by militiaries across the globe.

- Six civilian jets, four of them from Australia and one each from New Zealand and Japan.

SEA

- Australia's HMAS Success support ship is on active search duties. The vessel, 157 metres in length, is the largest ship built in the country for the Royal Australian Navy. It is designed to offer logistics support to naval combat vessels. It has a large deck and cranes with a lift capacity of about two tonnes.

- A second Australian navy ship HMAS Ocean Shield will join the search in the next few days, when it will be fitted with a US-supplied black box "pinger" locator and a Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle.

- Five Chinese ships, including the polar supply ship Xue Long and China's largest rescue ship Haixun 01, as well as military vessels the Kunlunshan, Haikou and Qiandaohu.

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