Oceanographers at the Helmholtz Oceanography Institute in Kiel hope to deploy the unmanned Abyss submarine, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday, as soon as wreckage from the flight is found.
The Kiel institute has one of the world’s three Abyss submarines which can stay submerged for 24 hours. The other two submarines are with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
Peter Herzig, director of the Helmholtz Institute, said: “We have already agreed to launch a joint search with our American colleagues. With Sonar from three submarines we will be able to search a much bigger area."
But their deployment will depend on wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines flight, which disappeared on March 8th with 239 people on board, being spotted on the ocean surface.
The submarines can then dive deep underwater to look for wreckage – and are operational at depths of between 3,000 and 6,000 metres.
The Abyss submarines were used in 2011 to find wreckage of Air France flight 447 which disappeared in 2009 with 228 passengers on board.
“We're charging the batteries,” Herzig added.