The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has proposed that the government raised the capacity of the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) by equipping them with sophisticated technology for search and rescue (SAR) operations in future.
He said sophisticated MPA was also capable of carrying out SAR operations at sea level as well as on the seabed compared to the limited capability of the C-130 Hercules owned by the RMAF which are involved in the search for the MH370 in the south Indian Ocean.
“The Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) aircraft that we have now is the Beechcraft King Air B200, but the extent of its operational capacity does not allow it to carry out SAR operations in the Indian Ocean, but only over the Straits of Melaka and the South China Sea,” he said.
He said this to reporters at the Passing Out Parade for pilots at the Air Force College (KTU), here today.
On the search mission for the flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, he said the mission was most challenging due to the distance of the search area which was between 2,000 and 2,500 km from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base in Pearce, Perth, Australia.
“Three C130 aircraft are involved in the SAR mission where the journey to the search location and back takes eight hours, leaving only two hours for the search.
“This is a challenge that we must all go through and everything is running smoothly and we hope this operation will conclude successfully,” he said.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea.
It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.
The crew aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success prepare to conduct a replenishment at sea with HMAS Perth (R) as they continue to search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 April 11, 2014. — Reuters pic
To date, the SAR operation, which entered its 35th day, is being carried in a remote area in the Indian Ocean involving 12 military aircraft, three civilian aircraft and 13 ships. — Bernama