ADV Ocean Shield sails with MH370 locator equipment
30 March 2014
Today the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is being fitted with specialist underwater search and location equipment and embarking personnel, to support search operations in the Southern Indian Ocean for Malaysia Airlines MH370.
Ocean Shield has been fitted with United Sates Navy (USN)-supplied specialist equipment that includes a Towed Pinger Locator (TPL-25) and a Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
The US Navy has also provided specialist Navy and civilian equipment operators who will join the ship’s civilian crew and embarked ADF specialists.
The TPL-25 system will be available to be used for locating the audio Pinger attached to the aircraft’s ‘black box’ (cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder) while the AUV can scour the seabed using electronic sensors to locate a debris field.
Having been built to operate in sub-Antarctic weather conditions, the Ocean Shield’s design and systems provide an ideal platform from which to launch locator equipment.
The commander of Joint Taskforce 658 which is coordinating military contributions to the search for MH370, Commodore Peter Leavy says the specialist equipment will be important if the search area can be narrowed.
“The search area remains vast and this equipment can only be effectively employed when there is a high probability that the final location of Flight MH370 is better known.
“I am also conscious that the efforts of the international community in attempting to find evidence of MH370 will help bring answers to those who lost loved ones onboard.
“The Navy’s task will be complicated by the prevailing weather conditions in the region. However, they will sail knowing that our ship, equipment and personnel are the best available for this mission.
“Likewise the USN equipment is the best for the job at hand, and the specialist operators, ADF members and ship’s crew are all highly trained and prepared,” said Commodore Leavy.
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