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Published:March 16th, 2014 17:44 EST

USS Kidd Joins Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner

By SOP newswire3

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

The U.S. Navy vessel USS Kidd has moved to replace USS Pinckney as the United States continues to aid in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing, a Defense Department spokesman told Pentagon reporters here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A P-8A Poseidon sits on the flightline at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. The P-8A is designed for long-range maritime patrol. A P-8A based at Kadena Air Base, Japan, is aiding in the search for a missing Malaysian airliner. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Salt Cebe

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

At Malaysia`s request, the USS Kidd is north of the Strait of Malacca, in what we are calling the western search area, " Army Col. Steven Warren said.

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, " he explained. So it`s a very large search area. "

The USS Pinckney is en route to Singapore for scheduled maintenance, Warren said. A Navy P-3 Orion reported nothing found after a search in the Gulf of Thailand, he added.

Additionally, there`s a P-8A Poseidon on station now, which is there to replace the P-3, " Warren said. The P-8 will be searching the Bay of Bengal. The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range maritime patrol capability. The P-8A will provide more capability while focusing on worldwide responsiveness and interoperability. [The] nine-person crew will operate state-of-the-art sensors. "

The P-8A arrived at Kadena Air Base, Japan, in December, Warren noted, as part of the Defense Department`s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.

We believe [the USS Kidd] will be searching in the Andaman Sea, and into the Bay of Bengal, " Warren said, at the edge of the western search area. 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.

We`re very excited about the P-8A, because it`s got tremendously increased capabilities, " he said.

(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia