The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet will likely soon deploy more powerful sonar equipment like the technology used to find the Titanic, an official said Wednesday.
Australian Defense Minister David Johnston said authorities were consulting with Malaysia, China and the United States on the next phase of the search for the plane that went missing March 8, which is likely to be announced next week.
Johnston said more powerful towed side-scan commercial sonar equipment would probably be deployed, similar to the remote-controlled subs that found RMS Titanic 12,500 feet under the Atlantic Ocean in 1985.
Such equipment can delve deeper as the current search of the most likely crash site in the southern Indian Ocean has failed to yield any clues.
"The next phase, I think, is that we step up with potentially a more powerful, more capable side-scan sonar to do deeper water," Johnston told The Associated Press.
The search coordination center said Wednesday a robotic submarine, the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21, had so far covered more than 80 percent of the 120-square-mile seabed search zone off the Australian west coast, creating a three-dimensional sonar map of the ocean floor. Nothing of interest had been found.