U.S. Navy Continues Malaysia Airlines Search Effort
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - A U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter from USS Pinckney (DDG 91) was expected to have about 10 and a half hours of search coverage in the Gulf of Thailand March 10 (local time) as a P-3C Orion aircraft searches an area west of Malaysia in the Strait of Malacca during continuing support of the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
According to U.S. 7th Fleet release, as of about 11 a.m. local time March 10, U.S. Navy aircraft have not seen any debris associated with commercial aircraft wreckage. Although aircraft have clearly detected small debris in the water, thus far it has all been trash or wood, the release said.
If needed, the helicopter, which is attached to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, is capable of nighttime searching and flew the previous evening using its Forward Looking Infra-red (FLIR) camera.
The P-3C, from Patrol Squadron (VP 46), can cover more than 1,500 square miles every hour (about 4,000 square kilometers).
Pinckney was diverted from a training mission in the South China Sea March 8 to search for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft. Its MH-60R Seahawk helicopters are designed search and rescue, as well as anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, communications relay, naval gunfire support and logistics support. It can fly a maximum of 180 knots with a ceiling of13,000 ft. and maximum range of 245 Nautical Miles.
U.S. 7th Fleet announced yesterday that USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194) is en route to the scene to provide underway fuel and logistics replenishment, ensuring Pinckney and its helicopters can maximize their time on station.