USN Continues to Help in Search for Missing MH370

Marinelink.com
Thursday, March 20, 2014
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric A. Pastor

A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft completed its transition from Kuala Lumpur to Perth March 18 to continue the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
 
"The search has expanded to the southern portions of the Indian Ocean and the P-8A has the range required to reach those waters," said Lt. Clayton Hunt of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, the search and rescue detachment mission commander. "We will be most effective operating out of Perth."


For a mission such as the MH370 search, the P-8 will typically fly at 5,000 feet, dipping to 1,000 feet to get a closer visual look at objects. They typically fly at a speed of 250-270 knots, with a search time of eight to nine hours depending on the distance to search area.


"Even though we are flying long missions, the purpose behind these missions gives the crew the motivation to overcome any obstacles that may come up," said Naval Aircrewman Operator 1st Class Robert Pillars, an acoustic systems operator on the P-8A.


During its missions out of Kuala Lumpur, the P-8A crew identified more than 400 radar contacts. Unfortunately none were associated with aircraft debris or wreckage.



The aircraft's advanced radar capabilities allow the crew to recognize and investigate small contacts on the water's surface. The crew uses the onboard camera system, as well as a multitude of sensors, to investigate the contacts.



"While on station, the crew uses all of the aircraft's sensors to identify objects in the water since we don't know exactly how big the debris may be," said Lt. Joshua Mize, a P-8A Poseidon tactical coordinator.



There are many factors that come into play that could improve or decrease the efficiency of the search.



"While the process may seem simple, factors such as the number of ships or objects in the area, sea state, drift rate, and visibility can affect how much area we're able to cover," Mize added.



The search grid used varies from flight to flight. Not only does the crew have to account for various environmental factors, the distance to the search area is also taken into account.



"Depending on the transit distance, some flights may only have 2-3 hours of search time," Mize said. "Our goal is to cover as much area as possible while still being thorough with our search. Being thorough is critical, especially in a search like this."



In terms of mission effectiveness and reliability, the P-8A represents a leap forward for the Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance. 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.
 


"Having the flexibility and readiness that comes with the practicality of the P-8A airframe (Boeing 737), as well as our well-trained aircrews and maintenance team, we have been able to continuously meet and exceed our mission requirements," said Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Carlos Ure, the search and rescue detachment senior enlisted leader. "Our maintenance and aircrew teams continue to work together to have the Poseidon ready and safe for flight."



Being able to work off of a commercial airframe, such as the 737, the Poseidon maintenance personnel have the ability to use both military and civilian assets to perform necessary maintenance.



"So far, we have been able to accomplish all of the pre-flight, daily, and turnaround requirements using whatever resources we have available, be it military or civilian resources," Ure said.



VP-16 is currently conducting the first operational deployment with the P-8A Poseidon in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asian Pacific.
 


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.
 

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

Largest All-Electric Pipe Bender Starts Operations at Newport News Shipbuilding

Unison has commissioned what is believed to be the largest all-electric tube bending machine ever produced. The machine has started operations at Newport News Shipbuilding,

Damen Delivers Stan Patrol Vessel to RBDF

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) has taken delivery of the fourth and final Stan Patrol 4207, named HMBS Rolly Gray. The four Stan Patrol 4207s form part of the six-year Sandy Bottom project.

China's Artificial Islands in South China Sea Raises U.S. Concerns

China has been building artificial islands on reefs in the many disputed areas around the South China Sea. The unprecedented land reclamation currently being conducted

Maritime Security

Damen Delivers Stan Patrol Vessel to RBDF

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) has taken delivery of the fourth and final Stan Patrol 4207, named HMBS Rolly Gray. The four Stan Patrol 4207s form part of the six-year Sandy Bottom project.

China's Artificial Islands in South China Sea Raises U.S. Concerns

China has been building artificial islands on reefs in the many disputed areas around the South China Sea. The unprecedented land reclamation currently being conducted

Going Nuclear in Indian Ocean

As India, Pakistan and perhaps China develop their naval nuclear forces, they will enter increasingly murky waters, says a report published in the National Interest.

Casualties

Bulk Carrier Runs Aground in Delaware River (Link to Video)

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay is investigating a ship aground in the Delaware River near the Burlington Bristol Bridge, which connects Burlington, NJ and Bristol Township, PA.

BMT Comments on Recent Barge Casualties

Recently, BMT was consulted in a number of cases/casualties involving the breaking and subsequent salvage of inland navigation barges. The incidents all occurred during loading operations.

Donjon-SMIT Relocating to Houston

Alexandria, VA- Donjon-SMIT, the unique provider of Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) Salvage and Marine Firefighting (SMFF) services established by Donjon Marine Co.

News

Bulk Carrier Runs Aground in Delaware River (Link to Video)

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay is investigating a ship aground in the Delaware River near the Burlington Bristol Bridge, which connects Burlington, NJ and Bristol Township, PA.

Largest All-Electric Pipe Bender Starts Operations at Newport News Shipbuilding

Unison has commissioned what is believed to be the largest all-electric tube bending machine ever produced. The machine has started operations at Newport News Shipbuilding,

Oceanex Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Oceanex Inc. was named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies Gold Standard Members in 2014. This national award is sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post,

Vessels

Hapag-Lloyd Improves Safety of Dangerous Goods Transportation

Last year, Hapag-Lloyd discovered 2,620 cases of incorrectly declared dangerous goods that were prevented from being shipped. Dangerous goods experts at Hapag-Lloyd investigated over 162,

Baltic Sea Freight Index Down on Lower Rates

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell on Wednesday, pulled down by a fall in rates across all vessel segments.

Blaze hits Mexico Oil Platform, 300 Workers Evacuated

Mexican state-run oil company Pemex said on Wednesday that it was fighting a fire on oil platform in Campeche Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, home to the country's biggest oil field,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1893 sec (5 req/sec)