UPDATE on Flight MH370: Submarine put on hold until new black box signals are picked

By Accidents

The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), Bluefin 21, has been put on hold until another signals are received. 

Ocean Shield has already picked up signals (the first 2 hours and 20 minutes and the second 13 minutes) consistent with those of a black box and the searchers were about to send the unmanned submarine to look for wreckage but Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said:

" We need another transmission to better refine the area, then we need to go down, have a look and find confirming evidence that that's where the aircraft is."

Today is the 32nd day of the search for the crashed MH370. The efforts are concentrated 1,400 miles northwest of Perth (Australia) on about 30,000 sq miles. According to calculations, the life of the black box batteries should have passed and the Bluefin-21 should operate at absolute limit (4,500m depth). 

Primarily, the unmanned submarine works as a sonar device in 20-hour stints. If the device detects something on the sea floor, it will go to the surface. Then, it will be equipped with a recording camera and it will be sent to the floor for filming the area. The side sonar and the camera can't work together because it has a "swappable payload." 

The length of the AUV is 5 m and its weight is 750 kg. Its endurance is 25 hours underwater at a top speed of 4 knots (average 3 knots). The maximum depth rating is 4,500m and according to Bluefin Robotics, the AUV can be helpful for oceanography, archaeology and mine countermeasures. Bluefin 21 is on board Ocean Shield. Current position of Ocean Shield.

Read comments about the missing Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines plane here.

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