151209-N-YZ910-005 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 9, 2015) A P-3C Orion flown by Lt. Cmdr. Adam Schantz, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast P-3C product officer and test pilot, ascends to cruising altitude after taking off from the NAS Jax runway on the morning of Dec. 9. (U.S. Navy Photo by Victor Pitts/Released)
This story was originally published May 19 at 10:30 a.m. and has been updated.
The Navy has joined the search for a missing EgyptAir passenger jet that went missing over the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday nightmorning.
The Greek government hasve asked for the Navy to send a maritime patrol aircraft to search for the missing airliner, which was carrying 66 people from Paris to Cairo.
The Navy is dispatching a P-3C Orion from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, at the behest of the State Department's defense attache in Athens, Greece, according to a defense official.
The Navy has three P-3Cs in Sigonella and one in Souda Bay, Greece, all elements of Patrol Squadron Four. The destroyer Donald Cook, the command ship Mount Whitney and the salvage ship Grapple are also operating in the Mediterranean, the official said.
The last known position of the Flight 804 was about 50 miles off the coast of Egyptover Egyptian airspace. The plane lost contact shortly before 2:30 a.m. local time. It was traveling at 534 knots att about 37,000 feet.
The Navy also deployed P-3s and P-8As, as well as the destroyer Kidd, during the long search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in 2014, as well as the destroyer Kidd. The P-3s are equipped with radar and infrared sensors that could help locate a debris field in the ocean.