Malaysia Airlines MH370: The search party

As the search widens to the Andaman Sea and the west of Peninsular Malaysia, the multi-nation search party has deployed its air and sea assets to find traces of MH370 and its passengers. Jermyn Chow reports on the assets used.

Satellite icon


Countries using them: China and India

- 10 Chinese military satellites are capable of spotting an object as small as half a metre in size.

- The Indian navy's Rukmini or GSAT-7 satellite has a nearly 2,000 nautical mile 'footprint' over the Indian Ocean region.

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Surveillance planes

Including P-3 Orion, Seahawk naval helicopters and C-130

Countries using them: US, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia

- The P-3 plane's radar can spot something the size of a basketball if it is floating on water.

- The helicopters, equipped with Forward Looking Infra-red cameras, can fly at night and cover up to 600 nautical square miles every 3 1/2 hours.

- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as the ScanEagle on Singapore’s missile corvette can search for about 24 hours.

- Submarine hunting sonar from Seahawkscan pick up tracking signals from the two black boxes and aircraft emergency beacons.

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Countries: Malaysia, Singapore, US, China, Thailand, Vietnam

- The ships have sonars that can "listen out" for echos that are reflected by debris or the black box in the water or the seabed.

- Ships will usually rely on naked eye observations to spot items in the water before narrowing their search area and firing up the sonars.

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Submersible underwater craft

Countries: Singapore

- The free-swimming submersible DSAR 6 SRV, which is onboard the MV Swift Rescue Submarine Support and Rescue Vessel (SSRV), can search underwater to a depth of 500m.