Aircraft join search for missing Malaysian jet

Two Indian aircraft deployed in the search and rescue operation for the Malaysian Airlines jet took off on Sunday to look for any sign of the ill-fated aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean.

However, it would take hours to know the outcome of their search operation as it would be a 10-hour sortie for the two aircraft, flying from Subang airport in Malaysia.
The two platforms are long range maritime surveillance aircraft P8-I of the Navy and the most advanced carrier of the Air Force C-130J.

After extensive briefings at the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) established by Malaysia, on Thursday, both Indian aircraft took off in the morning for the search areas allotted by the ARCC, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Though they are likely to encounter cyclonic conditions en route, both Captains decided to skirt bad weather areas to reach the search sectors deep inside southern Indian Ocean. They are likely to undertake 10-hour sorties on Sunday.

Both aircraft have long endurance capabilities coupled with state of the art electro-optic and infra red search and reconnaissance equipment on board.

The P8-I aircraft has the added advantage of on-board radars and specially designed search and rescue kits.

They arrive in Malaysia on March 21 following a commitment from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India was participating in the search and rescue operations from March 11 in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. Five ships and six aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard carried out the operations between March 11 to March 21.

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