USSI to aid in Malaysia Airlines search

COLUMBIA CITY -- The Royal Australian Air Force will be in Fort Wayne Saturday to pick up underwater surveillance equipment made in Columbia City for use in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.The equipment, called the AN/SSQ-53F DIFAR sonobuoy system, is made by the Columbia City plant of Ultra Electronics – UnderSea Sensor Systems Inc.USSI, a subsidiary of Ultra Electronics Holdings, partners with Sparton Corp. to make the equipment under their Sonobuoy TechSystems joint venture.An announcement from the 122nd Fighter Wing said it will provide ramp operation and logistical support at its base next to Fort Wayne International Airport as the Royal Australian Air Force loads 26,000 pounds of sonobuoys cargo onto a C-17 military transport aircraft.“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 announcement explained.The C-17 will pick up 21 containers, totaling 1008 sonobuoys, for transport — with the potential of further shipments if needed.