End of the assembly line for Boeing’s C-17 program (copy)

A C-17 Globemaster III crew from Joint Base Charleston is participating in search and rescue efforts for a missing Argentine sub. File

A military transport plane from Joint Base Charleston is providing support for the U.S. effort to help find a submarine missing off the coast of Argentina.

The aircraft from here is part of a contingent of five C-17 Globemaster III transport planes and three C-5M Super Galaxies delivering Navy undersea rescue equipment.

The last contact with the A.R.A. San Juan, an Argentine navy submarine, was Nov. 15, officials said.

The C-17 from Joint Base Charleston carried a tow bar, a tunner 60K aircraft cargo loader and three members of the 437th Aerial Port Squadron. While on the ground, the team conducted runway assessments prior to other equipment arriving in the country.

The missing sub is considered a humanitarian emergency. The U.S. is supporting a request from the government of Argentina for international assistance with the search and rescue effort.

“Our rapid global mobility response bringing critical supplies and assistance to our Argentine allies and friends may be the difference,” said Col. Jimmy Canlas, 437th Airlift Wing commander. 

The Air Force cargo included a submarine rescue chamber and remotely operated underwater vehicle. More flights are scheduled to deliver a pressurized rescue module and supporting equipment.

“Our airmen understand their responsibility and unique ability to respond within hours anywhere in the world,” Canlas said. “They, along with our joint service partners, have made a visible impact on this operation to assist our partners in Argentina during this time of need.”

The submarine rescue chamber can go 850 feet deep and bring six people at a time out of a disabled sub. The pressurized rescue chamber can descend to 2,000 feet for docking and mating and can rescue 16 at a time.

Strong winds and high waves have hampered the search. On Monday, Argentine navy officials said that noises picked up by two search vessels did not come from the sub, dashing relatives' hopes for a speedy rescue, the BBC reported.

Although the crew of 44 has enough food, oxygen and fuel to survive about 90 days on the sea’s surface, they only have enough oxygen to last seven days if submerged, the Military Times reported.

Adm. Gabriel Gonzalez of the Mar del Plata Naval Base said the submarine reported an electrical problem and was returning to the base when it went missing.

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Reach Prentiss Findlay at 843-937-5711.