Missing Malaysia Airlines MH370: Who is searching?

UPDATE: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on March 8 that 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft are involved in the search.

Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand have all been involved, with India, Japan and Brunei joining the search operations on March 12. Bangladesh joined the Search on March 15.

Following Malaysia's announcement on March 8 that efforts in the South China Sea had been called off, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) said it has recalled its ships and aircraft there.

Since March 8, when the plane disappeared, the SAF has supported the operation in the South China Sea with a C-130 aircraft, a Formidable-class frigate, a Victory-class missile corvette as well as a submarine support and rescue vessel with divers on board. These ships and aircraft along with SAF personnel have been called back to Singapore.

The SAF will continue to support the search operation in the Malacca Strait with a RSAF patrol aircraft, which was deployed to Butterworth Air Base in Malaysia on Friday.

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SatellitesCountries 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-130Countries 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 3½ hours.■ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as the ScanEagle on Singapore’s missile corvette can search for about 24 hours. ■ Submarine hunting sonar from Seahawks can 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.

Related stories:

On a mission on board RSAF's C130

Jermyn Chow reports from the Republic of Singapore Air Force's C130 plane.

On board a Singapore Air Force search-and-rescue aircraft

Straits Times photojournalist Desmond Lim travelled with an RSAF C-130 participating in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. He found out how difficult a search-and-rescue operation over the open seas is.