The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Kidd, has joined the search mission of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, which disappeared off radars an hour after take-off from Kuala Lumpur.
A Defense Department spokesman said the vessel, which has moved to replace USS Pinckney, will sail to the patrol area from the north-west entrance of the Strait of Malacca into the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea in search of the missing airliner.
US Army colonel Steven Warren said USS Kidd is in the north of the Strait of Malacca, as part of the western search area, at Malaysia’s request.
"The western search area is a large swath of water that includes the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the northern portion of the Indian Ocean," Warren said.
USS Kidd combat information center officer lieutenant (junior grade) Eric Bachtel said, "With extra watch standers in place, we are able to comb through any debris spotted from the ship or the aircraft and if needed retrieve the objects via grappling hook, small boats, or with our search-and-rescue swimmers deployed from the ship or helicopters."
Meanwhile, the US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon long-range maritime patrol aircraft will also head to the Bay of Bengal to aid in search of the missing plane while replacing the currently deployed US Navy’s P-3 Orion aircraft.
"The P-8A Poseidon will search a much larger search area, he added: the southern portion of the Bay of Bengal and the northern portion of the Indian Ocean," Warren added.
Image: A US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, US. Photo: courtesy of US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Salt Cebe.