122nd joins effort to find missing Malaysian jet

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Australian Air Force has called on Ultra Electronics out of Columbia City to help with its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The flight, which was carrying 239 people, went missing on March 8.  Officials have not found a reason why the plane went missing. Crews have spent the last few weeks searching for the plane in the southern portion of the Indian Ocean.

Airline officials said the batteries for the black boxes, which records pilots’ voices, 25 hours of data such as aircraft altitude, air speed and heading, only have about four days of life left. If those batteries die, it will be difficult for the search crews to pick up the transmitting signal from those boxes, but that’s where Ultra Electronics will help.

“That’s why we’re doing such an urgent operation to get these buoys back over to replenish the supply that they need to keep the search going,” Capt. Craig DiScala of the 122nd Fighter Wing said.

The Australian Air Force stopped at the 122nd Fighter Wing Saturday morning to pick up 21 containers of sonar buoys, 1,008 total. The buoys contain hydrophones or water microphones that will be deployed out into the water. The Australian Air Force asked Ultra Electronics’ sister company in Australia for help. The company then contacted its counterparts based in Columbia City to provide the sonobuoys for the search in finding the missing plane. Officials hope these will help pick up any transmitting signal from the black box of the missing plane. A Chinese patrol ship picked up what they think might be an initial signal from the box Saturday. Airmen said that possible breakthrough will only help their operation.

“This way they will know where to put the buoys and get a better idea of where the black box may be,” DiScala said.

Airmen of the 122nd Fighter Wing will be providing ramp operation support as well as logistical support for the 26,000 pounds of cargo requested.

 

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