The U.S. Defense Department has committed more than $7 million over the past 30 days in support of search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Army Col. Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman said on Wednesday in Washington.
“This includes the cost of our ships, helicopters and planes involved in the search,” he said. “Within that $7.3 million is also the contract for the underwater surveillance equipment — that’s $3.6 million.”
Warren noted the $3.6 million includes the costs for the contracted Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle. That figure also covers the cost of the vehicle’s 10 contractor-operators, he added.
For the past several weeks, Warren said, the department’s main cost has been the $4,000-per-flight-hour operating cost for the P-8 Poseidon aircraft being used in the search.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft disappeared March 8 shortly after leaving Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing. The U.S. Navy joined search and rescue teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam for the missing aircraft the same day.
Up to 10 military aircraft, four civil aircraft and 13 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said this morning.
Aircraft and ships reported spotting a large number of objects during yesterday’s search, but only a small number were able to be recovered.
None of the recovered items were believed to be associated with MH370.
Today AMSA has planned a search area of about 57,923 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 2280 kilometres north west of Perth.
The underwater search also continues today, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.
Press Release, April 2, 2014; Image: US Navy