The 1.8m long 37kg AUV is supposed to hover above the sea bed, with sonar scanners picking up images from each side. But the images are not uploaded immediately, and must be retrieved from the craft's memory card after each deployment to be reviewed manually by trained personnel. Ergo, any items identified may have drifted away by then. Also, the AUV is not a pinger, and pretty useless for detecting signals emitted by a plane's black box. The craft's primary use in the Singapore Navy is to search for mines. Last we heard, AirAsia QZ8501 was not carrying mines.
Meanwhile, harsh weather notwithstanding, the Indonesians, using correct equipment for the task at hand, found two large objects on Friday night measuring about 10 metres by 5 metres. "As I speak we are lowering an ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) underwater to get an actual picture of the objects detected on the sea floor. All are at the depth of 30m," rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo proudly announced.
Indonesia is unique among developing countries, and unusual among other Asian countries, in the relatively low priority given to defense spending. In 2009 the military budget totaled US$3.3 billion, about the same military budget and force level as Thailand, a country with less than one-third of Indonesia’s population, and Burma (Myanmar), which has only one-quarter of Indonesia’s population.
Last year Singapore allocated about $12 billion of its budget to national defense. Malaysia's annual defense budget was almost $5 billion in 2013, while Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, had an annual defense spending of about $7.9 billion.
That's the difference between Indonesia and Singapore.