Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from the vessel around 2am this morning

ADV Ocean Shield has arrived back in the search area.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from the vessel around 2am this morning. It remains underwater on its search mission.

Over the next week, Bluefin-21 will search the remaining areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the Towed Pinger Locator deployed from Ocean Shield that are within its depth operating limits.

This continues the process that will ultimately enable the search team to discount or confirm the area of the acoustic signals as the final resting place of MH370.

Ocean Shield is anticipated to depart the search area on 28 May and return to Fleet Base West on 31 May where it will demobilise the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle equipment and disembark the support team.

The Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen departed Fremantle yesterday to begin conducting the bathymetric survey of the areas provided by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The bathymetric survey—or mapping of the ocean floor—is being done in preparation for a commercially contracted deep ocean search, including towed side-scan sonar operations.

Chinese ship Haixun 01 will today begin transiting to the survey area to support the survey operations, including the weekly transportation of survey data to Fremantle for further processing by Geoscience Australia.

The Australian Defence Force’s Military Coordination and Sub-Surface Planning team, in consultation with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, will partner with Chinese units to conduct the survey.

The work continues to review and analyse all the data and information relating to the likely flight path of MH370, together with the information acquired in the course of the search to date. This work will confirm the best areas on which to focus an effective future search.

JACC Media Release
22 May 2014—pm


USSOCOM 2014. Shopping at Tampa

Photo By Tamara Lush/AP In this May 20, 2014 photo a remote control video is displayed strapped onto a large toy dog at the Special Ops Conference in Tampa, Fla. The video can be strapped to a military dog’s backpack. The conference is one of the key events for the suppliers and contractors of elite commando units worldwide.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A conference for military special operations forces and their gadgets, weapons and tools is being held in Tampa, Florida, this week.

The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference is a key event for suppliers and contractors of elite commando units worldwide.

It’s not just US special operations forces that are shopping this week. International forces from 84 nations are also attending. On Wednesday, a multi-country group of commandos will perform land, sea and air exercises in downtown Tampa.

On the convention floor, there was plenty to see and buy. Among the interesting wares:

– A HARV, or Highly Adaptive Robotic Vehicle. One version looks like a silver child’s ball, but the 4-pound sphere with cameras can be thrown, controlled remotely and outfitted with night vision and microphones for quick surveillance.

– A lightweight medium machine gun that uses .338 Norma Magnum cartridges, eliminating the gap between .762mm and .50 caliber weapons. It’s capable of defeating Level III body armor and “incapacitating soft skinned vehicles,” according to a General Dymanics fact sheet.

  • A torpedo-shaped underwater robot called Bluefin 21. It’s built by a subsidiary of Battelle, Bluefin Robotics. One of these vehicles is currently being used to search the ocean floor for the site of the missing Malaysian airplane.

  • A remote controlled video monitor that can be strapped to a military dog’s backpack.

  • An “RP Strike-M Maverick LTV,” which is a rugged all-terrain quad with a large weapon mounted to the back.

Source: Chron 5/21/14



Bluefin 21 Searching for Malaysia 370: the Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) connection


Publicado el 14/05/2014

Insight into how unmanned underwater vehicles are aiding in the search for the missing Malaysia 370 Boeing 777 airliner. John Keller discusses with David Kelly, president and CEO of Bluefin Robotics, whose company is provided the unmanned submersibles that are spearheading the search.

Source: Military & Aerospace Electronics


Bluefin-2. Spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom

As advised yesterday, the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was recovered about two hours into its first mission since returning to the search area so a communications problem could be investigated.

During the recovery, Bluefin-21 was damaged but was able to be repaired expeditiously with spare parts on board the ADV Ocean Shield.

Examination of the communications problem has established that a hardware defect exists in the transponder mounted on the Ocean Shield and that a defect may also exist in the transponder mounted on the Bluefin-21. This inhibits the ability of the two devices to communicate with each other.

As a consequence, spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom. The parts are expected to arrive in Western Australia on Sunday.

Ocean Shield is currently en route to Dampier, Western Australia, to receive the transponder parts. The journey is anticipated to take a number of days. At this stage, Ocean Shield is expected go alongside so engineers can make a full assessment of the transponder repairs.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre will provide further information regarding the serviceability of Bluefin-21 and the movements of Ocean Shield as it becomes available.

Source: JACC

Bluefin-21 was deployed from Ocean Shield yesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems

14 May 2014—pm. After a short port visit, the ADV Ocean Shield yesterday returned to the vicinity of the acoustic signals acquired by the Towed Pinger Locator in April to continue the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from Ocean Shieldyesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems. Work continues to rectify the issue and to date, Bluefin-21 has not redeployed.

The international search effort presently includes assets from Australia, the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia and the United States.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) has relocated from Perth to Canberra and is based at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The JACC now includes a Military Coordination and Sub-Surface Planning Cell, which includes a Royal Australian Navy Hydrographer and US Navy Sea Systems Command representative.

Preparations to conduct the bathymetric survey are continuing. A Chinese survey ship is now in the search area and will assist in preparations for future operations.

Vessels from Australia, Malaysia and China and a RAAF aircraft remain on standby should any debris on the surface require investigation.

Source: JACC

Bluefin 21 smashed into the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, losing a day in the search

May 13, 2014 8:19 PM– Crews are battling rough conditions as they continue to search for the missing Malaysian airliner.

Satellite tracking companies are looking at ways to improve tracking methods for planes flying out of radar range.

Bluefin 21 smashed into the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, losing a day in the search. The underwater vehicle had its propeller torn, tail ripped off and electronics bay damaged on its first day back in the search zone.

Struggling with wind and 3′ to 5′ waves, the damage happened as crews hoisted it on deck for inspection. The day’s mission was aborted and no data was collected.

The Bluefin was repaired and resumed its search within hours.

WDAM.COM – TV 7 – Video CNN

Half a world away, the consensus is never again. In a bid to prevent another Flight 370, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the aviation arm of the United Nations, said all jetliners should be tracked continuously, especially in the most remote parts of the world.

By the end of the year, airlines with international flights will voluntarily start this global tracking. Some have already started, but there’s no timeline for when binding standards and regulations mandating global flight tracking will go into effect.

“We feel that it is fairly important factor that we’re moving as quickly as possible because the flying public deserves to have even more safe conditions when they fly,” said Kevin Hiatt, International Air Transportation Association senior vice president of safety and flight operations.

The group’s recommendations are advisory but usually become law. The ongoing mystery of Flight 370 is fueling urgency to act now.

Satellite tracking companies are jockeying for favor among airlines. Immarsat, the British company whose analysis led crews to the search zone, said they’ll track planes for free. Competing companies like Globalstar are making a pitch too.

“You can continuously track one second at a time for continuously across any trip and know exactly where an airplane is. That is invaluable, and in the case of 370, it would have told us whether the plane turned, whether the plane continued straight and when it stopped emitting all together,” said Jay Monroe, CEO and chairman of Globalstar.

There’s still no concrete evidence about what went wrong onboard Flight 370, but its disappearance is about to change the way all planes in the air are tracked.

A special task force will release recommendations for global flight tracking in another four months. Flights are tracked now using radar, satellite technology and position reports, but there are dead spots when it comes to those methods. The task force is working on global tracking that would work even if planes are over the Indian Ocean and out of radar’s reach.

Source: Wdam

Bluefin-21 will search in the seabed where pings from suspected black boxes were detected in April

Grieving families of 239 people aboard the crashed Malaysian jet have demanded to release the raw Inmarsat data Read more at:

Grieving families of 239 people aboard the crashed Malaysian jet, including from India, have demanded the release raw satellite data to solve the over two-month-long aviation mystery even as an underwater drone is set to resume the hunt for wreckage in the remote Indian Ocean.

 The next of kin of the passengers and crew of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have formed Voice370, short for MH370 Victims Families and Crew Association.

In an open letter signed by family members from China, Malaysia, the United States, New Zealand and India, it urged the Malaysian Government to release the raw Inmarsat data so that “it can be subject to broader analysis by relevant experts”.

“The Inmarsat satellite data is the only lead we have and is key in identifying MH370’s flight path after the plane vanished from civilian radar screens on March 8,” the Star newspaper of Malaysia reported.

“In view of the lack of emergency locator transmitter activation and zero debris, we feel it is necessary that the data be subject to independent third-party review,” said Voice370, which claims to represents 800 family members so far.

The letter, addressed to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping, also requested the Joint Agency Coordination Centre to release the pings recorded by the towed pinger locator, the paper said.

The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 plane, carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals – had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia has been criticised for its handling of the tragedy, particularly by the relatives of the Chinese passengers on board the plane, besides being accused of hiding information.

The plane had lost contact with air traffic controllers over the South China Sea.

Malaysia believes the flight was deliberately diverted by someone on board and that satellite data indicates it crashed in the Indian Ocean, west of the Australian city of Perth.

A multinational search has so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft or its black boxes despite deploying hi-tech gadgets.

Investigators, including the FBI, are looking into a range of aspects, including hijack, sabotage, personal and psychological problems, that may have caused the incident.

On Saturday, Australia said its defence vessel Ocean Shield has left for a second mission in the Indian Ocean to continue the hunt for the plane.

The ship will deploy underwater vehicle Bluefin-21, which will search the seabed where pings from suspected black boxes were detected in April.

The initial deployment of Ocean Shield ran from March 31 until May 5. After five weeks at sea, it returned to port where a software update was run on Bluefin-21’s scanner.

It will take about three days for the ship to reach the search zone, Captain Mark Matthews said.

A total of 4.64 million square kilometres of ocean had been searched as of Tuesday, but no sign of wreckage from the plane has been found so far.

He said the equipment will be used in the same area where sounds consistent with a black box locator were detected last month.

“That whole area has not been fully surveyed so they’re continuing work there,” he said.

He said a team of experts from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, National Transportation Safety Board, Boeing and Inmarsat were looking again at the satellite data to make sure they refine as much as they can the broader search area.

The ship will return at the end of the month, and what happens beyond that will be determined by Malaysian, Australian and Chinese authorities, Mathews said.

Last week, experts from Australia, Malaysia and China held a a tripartite ministerial meeting in Canberra to discuss the new phase of the search for the missing plane.

Malaysian Navy deputy chief Vice-Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said the meeting was “extremely positive and productive.”

Kamarulzaman said among the matters discussed in the closed-door meeting was on the mapping of the southern Indian Ocean floor and how state- of-the-art equipment would be rolled out in the new phase of SAR.

“The best technology will be put to bear for next phase in search of #MH370,” he said, adding that technical and operational challenges in the SAR mission were also discussed.

In a series of tweets, Kamarulzaman also described the characteristics of two underwater search equipment, namely the multibeam echosounder and backscatter, which were discussed during the meeting.

The multibeam echo sounder for deep water could go to depths between 4,000m and 6,000m, compared with the Bluefin- 21, which could only reach 4,500 m.

“The best available (vessel mounted) multibeam systems (will be of) 12kHz or 30kHz (and will provide) high-resolution acquisition (and) information on seabed to improve autonomous under-water vehicle deployment options or navigation.”

The backscatter provides information to differentiate between “hard” and “soft” parts of the sea- bed and might provide targets for higher resolution survey work.

Universiti Sains Malaysia Associate Professor Mohd Rizal Arshad said the multibeam echo sounder and backscatter were acoustic imaging devices that would be mounted at the bottom of the vessel.

He said the multibeam echosounder would emit sound waves from directly beneath a ship’s hull, while the backscatter would be used to produce high-resolution maps of the seabed.

“The raw data obtained will then be analysed to make 3D images,” said Rizal, who specializes in underwater robotics technology.”