Members of the 122nd Fighter Wing will assist with Air Cargo operations, Saturday, April 5th, in a joint effort with the Royal Australian Air Force to aid in the ongoing search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which has been missing since March 8th. At approximately 10:30 a.m., an Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III arrived at the wing to load equipment for a return flight to Australia and the equipment will be used to conduct maritime search operations.
Over the past week, the Australian Air Force has called on local Columbia City, Indiana, defense contractor Ultra Electronics - UnderSea Sensor Systems, Inc., which partners with Sparton Corporation (SPA) under the Sonobuoy TechSystems Joint Venture to help meet the growing demand for sonar buoys used in ocean search operations. Both Ultra Electronics and Sparton Corporation manufacture the AN/SSQ-53F DIFAR Sonobuoy system. These units are dropped from aircraft in a grid pattern and once in the water self-deploy a hydrophone or water microphone to listen for transmitter signals. The units are also used frequently by the United States Navy.
The C-17 will pick up 21 containers, totaling 1008 Sonobuoys for transport with the potential of further shipments if needed. Airmen of the 122nd Fighter Wing will be providing ramp operation support as well as logistical support for the 26,000 pounds of cargo requested.