US Navy, NASA Join The Search For The Missing Argentine Navy Submarine With 44 Sailors On Board

The Argentine Armada (Navy) diesel-electric attack submarine referred to as the ARA San Juan (S-42) had been out of radio contact for three days. And now, the U.S. Navy and NASA join the search for the missing submarine with its crew of 44 sailors.

ArsTechnica reports that NASA sent a modified P-3 Orion patrol plane to help search the missing submarine, which was built in 1983 by the German shipbuilder Thyssen Nordseewerke. This NASA plane is used by the Navy for submarine hunting in the past. It has a magnetic anomaly detector or also referred to as magnetometer, infrared cameras, a gravimeter for identifying small fluctuations in the planet’s gravity and other sensors for gauging ice thickness. Probably, the NASA plane could detect the whereabouts of the submerged submarine with this equipment.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) ordered the U.S. Navy to send a P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft to help search for the missing submarine as requested by the government of Argentina. It stated that the aircraft and its 21-person crew will depart El Salvador’s Comalapa Air Base. The P-8A Poseidon also took part in the search for The Republic of Korea ship named Stella Daisy, which sank in the Southern Atlantic, off the western coast of Africa.

Besides the U.S. Navy aircraft and NASA plane, the Argentine Armanda also has sent the corvettes ARA Rosales (P-42), the destroyer ARA Sarandi (D-13)) and ARA Drummond (P-31). Enrique Balbi, the Argentine naval spokesman, said that the detection has been difficult despite the number of boats and aircraft in the search. He further said that they are investigating the reasons for the lack of communication. He added that if there was a communication problem, the boat would have to come to the surface, as noted by the U.S. Naval Institute News.

The ARA San Juan submarine departed from the Argentine naval base and was headed to Mar del Plata, its homeport near the Buenos Aires. It was last heard from about 250 miles off of Patagonia. This submarine is one of the three Argentine Armada submarines. It joined the fleet in 1985 and had a midlife upgrade in 2013.

[Featured Image by Marseas/Thinkstock]