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Indonesia asks US help to find missing A320

Indonesia has asked the US military for assistance in the search for Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501, which disappeared on 28 December while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.

The request for assistance was received by the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, according to Jeffrey Rathke, a US State Department spokesman. The State Department is reviewing the request to determine how best to aid the Indonesian government in the search for the Airbus A320, which has spanned a large swathe of the Java Sea.

“We’ve just received Indonesia’s request today, so it will take us a little bit of time,” Rathke says, but did not elaborate on how the US might respond.

US Navy Rear Adm John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, says in a brief statement that the military is prepared to respond with aircraft, ships and submarines if necessary.

"The details of that request, which was made through the US State Department, are still being coordinated but could include some air, surface and sub-surface detection capabilities," Kirby says in the statement. "We stand ready to assist in any way possible."

Indonesia has numerous military and civil assets that could be used in the ongoing search, including three Boeing 737s capable of maritime patrol, and Airbus CN-235, Lockheed Martin C-130s and rotorcraft. Singapore also has pledged two C-130s.

When Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing in the Gulf of Thailand in March, the US military sent surface ships, maritime surveillance aircraft, submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles to hunt for the wreckage of the Boeing 777-200ER. At last one Boeing P-8 Poseidon was dispatched to help find the wreckage, which has not been found.

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