U.S. Navy Plays Major Role In Malaysia Airlines MH370 Search (Video)
The U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet is playing a major role in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Two San Diego-based ships, USS Kidd and USS Pinckney, are conducting searches for the missing plane in the Gulf of Thailand.
Both ships have deployed helicopters to assist in the multinational search, according to the Seventh Fleet:
In a three and a half hour sortie, an HM-60R helicopter can typically search a 400 - 600 square nautical mile area, depending on the size of object it's trying to find, speed, wind, sea state and visibility.
"The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang. All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities."
Malaysia Air Force chief Gen. Rodzali Daud told the Malaysian newspaper Berita Harian that radar appeared to show MH370 reached the Malacca Strait, situated between western Malaysia and Indonesian island of Sumatra:
"After that, the signal from the plane was lost."
The Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft, based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, are also involved in search and rescue missions over the Straits of Malacca and the Gulf of Thailand:
With their ability to stay on station for long periods, the P-3 can cover about 1,000 - 1,500 square miles every hour. Their on-board sensors allow the crew to clearly detect small debris in the water.
However, no debris has been detected thus far, either by the U.S. Navy, or the scores of other ships and aircraft from other countries looking for MH370.