The guided missile destroyer USS Kidd is diverting to the western rim of the Straits of Malacca to search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crash site, the US Navy confirms to Flightglobal.
The move repositions the USS Kidd – one of two US warships hunting for the missing Boeing 777-200 – from the South China Sea to the waters west of the Malaysian Peninsula.
A US Navy official emphasises that the USS Kidd will remain focused on the western area of the Malacca Straits, rather than venture deep into the Indian Ocean.
The redirection of the destroyer comes two days after Malaysian officials expanded the search zone to the Straits of Malacca and amidst conflicting reports about the possibility that the aircraft continued flying several hours after it disappeared from radar on 8 March over the South China Sea.
The US Navy decided to move the USS Kidd into the expanded search zone within the Straits of Malacca after receiving a request from the Malaysian government, the official says.
The Arleigh Burke-class USS Kidd will bring significant search capability to the task.
The ship is equipped with two Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. Though designed for anti-submarine warfare, the aircraft’s underwater sensors and infrared cameras are also helpful in a maritime search and recovery role.