The RAAF is deploying a E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning & control aircraft to assist in MH370 search operations.
From Wednesday the Wedgetail will take on the role of an airborne command post in the search area, replacing civilian aircraft that have been performing this role to date, head of the newly-established Joint Agency Coordination Centre Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Angus Houston told media on Tuesday.
The Wedgetail will be responsible for deconflicting aircraft operating in the search zone looking for evidence of the presumed crashed Malaysia Airlines 777. The current search zone covers an area of 120,000 square kilometres approximately 1,960km west of Perth.
On Tuesday a total of 10 aircraft were planned to take part in MH370 search efforts, comprising two RAAF AP-3C Orions, two Malaysian C-130s, a Chinese PLA-AF Ilyushin Il-76, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese Coastguard Gulfstream V, a Republic of Korea Navy P-3C Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion, and a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force P-3J Orion.
The RAAF says as of the morning of March 28 a total of 43 flights tasked on MH370 search duties had been flown out of RAAF Base Pearce and Perth International Airport, flying over 410 hours with over 104 hours on task within the search zone.
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