The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has now been expanded deep into the southern hemisphere off the south-west coast of Western Australia.
An armada of 10 planes has arrived in Perth Western Australia to search for the missing Boeing 777.
Malaysian investigators say Flight MH370 was deliberately diverted during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 and then flew on for up to seven hours.
Investigators suggest hijacking, sabotage, or pilot suicide, and are examining the backgrounds of all 227 passengers and 12 crew members. They are also looking into backgrounds of ground crew.
Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has not ruled out finding the plane intact.
“The fact that there was no distress signal, no ransom notes, no-one claiming responsibility, there is always hope,” said Mr Hishammuddin.
Australian search authorities says that they have evidence that the missing plane may be off WA and major search assets have been re-deployed to Perth from Malaysia.
Leading the search is the US Navy’s latest sub hunter the P8A Poseidon.
It’s a commercial plane but with a sting!
The Boeing P-8A is based on the world’s biggest selling plane, the 737, but comes with a suite of electronics and armaments designed to find and destroy the most elusive submarines and ships.
It can fly for 7,500km and has been strengthened to make 60 degree turns and operate just 60m off the ocean.
And once it has detected the enemy it can launch an array of bombs or missiles – in fact 10,000kgs of them.
These include torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
It has the very latest in communications with over 10 separate radios and data links across the VHF, UHF, HF and SATCOM spectrums.
Like the Lockheed Orion it is designed to replace the P-8A has advanced sensors and mission systems which include advanced multi-mode radar, a high definition electro-optic camera, sonar buoys and an acoustic system.
However, rather than hunt submarines the P-8 and the four Lockheed P3 Orions will be searching for metal debris, such as tail or wing of MH370 Boeing 777 that may be floating on the water.
They will also be using their underwater detection ability to search for a large object.
The P-8 can cover an area of 38,850 square kilometres in a nine-hour flight.
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