|An AP-3C Orion aircraft passes over the Australian Navy ship the HMAS Success in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force today. Australian authorities said on Friday that they have abandoned the previous search area in the southern Indian Ocean for wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in favour of a new site more than 1,000 km north. – Reuters pic, March 28, 2014.|
The Australian-led search for Flight MH370 switched focus to a new area today after fresh analysis radically changed estimates of where the aircraft is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
Seventeen aircraft, some carrying state-of-the-art submarine-hunting technology, and six ships, five of them Chinese, are involved in the southern corridor search zone, focusing on a 319,000-square-kilometre expanse of sea.
Here is a breakdown of the ships and planes at the disposal of those in charge of the operation, which is now focused on an area some 1,100 kilometres northwest of previous estimates.
Use of the aircraft is staggered, to give crews a break, meaning not every aircraft takes to the skies every day.
- One US Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, with another on its way to Perth. The Poseidon carries next-generation ultra-high definition electro-optic cameras and sensors, capable of detecting and zeroing in on small objects on the water's surface. Can fly 7,500km without refuelling. Unveiled in November at the Dubai Airshow.
- Seven P3 Orions. Orions can carry sophisticated radar, infrared detectors, magnetic anomaly detectors and acoustic detectors designed to locate enemy submarines. They have endurance of 15 hours and are commonly used for long-range maritime patrols. Australia has supplied four to the search effort, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea one each.
- Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 military transport carriers. Designed in Soviet-era Russia, the four-engine jet is capable of carrying heavy loads and travelling long distances.
- One South Korean C130 Hercules. The Hercules is a four-engine turbo-prop introduced in the 1950s which is still used as a workhorse by militaries across the globe.
- Six civilian jets, four of them from Australia and one each from New Zealand and Japan.
- Australia's HMAS Success support ship is on active search duties. The vessel, 157 metres in length, is the largest ship built in the country for the Royal Australian Navy. It is designed to offer logistics support to naval combat vessels. It has a large deck and cranes with a lift capacity of about two tons.
- A second Australian navy ship HMAS Ocean Shield will join the search in the next few days, when it will be fitted with a US-supplied black box "pinger" locator and a Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle.
- Five Chinese ships, including the polar supply ship Xue Long and China's largest rescue ship Haixun 01, as well as military vessels the Kunlunshan, Haikou and Qiandaohu. – AFP, March 28, 2014.