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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370

U.S. Navy Sending P-8A Poseidon to Assist in Search for Missing MH370

P-8A Poseidon. (U.S. Navy)

P-8A Poseidon. (U.S. Navy)

Press Release from the United States Navy 7th Fleet

* In coordination with the government of Malaysia we have decided to send USS Pinckney to Singapore for planned maintenance and routine voyage repairs. With the search area expanding into the Strait of Malacca Pinckney is not currently needed until follow-on information is available and planning occurs. She will continue searching during her transit south today.

* We're sending USS Kidd from the Gulf of Thailand to the Strait of Malacca to continue its assistance with the search efforts. We expect her to arrive in 24-48 hours. We do not have detailed information on her assignment in the Strait of Malacca at this time.

* On 15 March we will move a P-8A Poseidon into the area to aid in the search efforts. The P-3C Orion will remain on station to assist with the search in a daily rotation with the P-8. This move adds the P-8s enhanced technology and greater range to the search efforts while maximizing planned maintenance and guarding against air crew fatigue for both aircraft.

* The P-3 will fly an evening search mission tonight using its radar, infrared and night vision capabilities.

* We do not have information to corroborate reports of debris spotted by Chinese satellites

Notes on the P-8A Poseidon:

In terms of mission effectiveness and reliability, the P-8A represents a leap forward for the Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance community. The aircraft has a maximum speed of 490 knots, a ceiling of 41,000 feet, and provides a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station. For a mission such as the MH370 search, the P-8 will typically fly at 5,000 to 10,000 feet at 350 knots, with a search time of approximately 8-9 hours depending on distance to search area.

The P-8A is the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world. A true multi-mission aircraft, it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. Built on the proven Boeing 737 airframe, the transition to P-8A brings with it enhanced safety and reduced maintenance.

The new P-8A is part of the Navy's commitment to the Pacific rebalance, bringing newer and more capable aircraft to 7th Fleet to ensure the Navy is best postured to honor its security commitments to the Indo-Asia-Pacific and contribute to regional security and stability.