France’s government is dispatching a specialist naval vessel to support the underwater search for flight recorders from the crashed EgyptAir Airbus A320.

The aircraft came down in the Mediterranean Sea on 19 May while operating the carrier’s MS804 service from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Cairo.

While search teams have recovered debris from the jet, the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders have yet to be located.

An Egyptian supply vessel, PMS Burullus, has been conducting a search pattern across a narrow region some 270km north-north-west of Alexandria.

French investigation authority BEA says a hydrographic survey ship, Laplace, is due to arrive in the area and commence and undersea search campaign.

BEA says the ship is fitted with three Alseamar Detector 6000 systems, deployable long-range acoustic devices capable of picking up the locator beacon transmissions from flight recorders.

Alseamar claims the equipment is able to pick up signals from a distance of 4-5km. Flight recorder beacons are typically designed to transmit for at least 30 days on a frequency of 37.5kHz – although these criteria are being modified following difficulties encountered in previous underwater searches.

The Laplace departed Porto Vecchio in Corsica for the crash site on 26 May, with a team including two BEA investigators.

BEA says discussions are taking place over the provision of a second vessel with undersea robotic retrieval capabilities. It estimates the depth of the search area at around 3,000m.

Source: Cirium Dashboard