The Australian Maritime Safety Authority – AMSA – which is now coordinating search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, said on Tuesday it is now focused on an area 1,500nm southwest of Perth “based on information made available to AMSA on Monday”.
“AMSA has defined a possible search area with information available to us from a range of sources both nationally and internationally,” AMSA emergency response general manager John Young was reported as saying.
“This search will be difficult. The sheer size of the search area poses a huge challenge – the search area is more than 600,000 square kilometres.”
Four RAAF AP-3C Orions have now been tasked to the Indian Ocean search effort based from Perth (one was relocating there from Cocos Island overnight Monday). They are being joined by a US Navy P-8A Poseidon and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion. AMSA said one AP-3C sortie was being flown in the search zone on Tuesday, with up to five sorties (with three by AP-3Cs, and one each by the P-8A and the P-3K2) planned for Wednesday.
The distant location of the search zone will involve very long transit times. At its 350kt long cruising speed an AP-3C/P-3K2 would take over four hours to reach the search area.