The U.S. Military has spent $2.5 million from a total budget of $4 million on the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, defense officials told NBC News on Friday.
Helping with the hunt is a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane that is based on the design of a Boeing 737 passenger jet but is packed with cutting-edge military equipment.
The plane, which was only brought into service last year, has been searching waters in the Southern Indian Ocean where two objects that might be linked to Flight 370 were spotted in satellite imagery. Farther north, a P3 Orion plane also assisted with the search in waters near Indonesia.
Two guided missile destroyers -- the U.S.S. Kidd and the U.S.S. Pinckney -- also joined the hunt on the water but were later called off.
The $4 million would likely be spent by early April, defense officials said, adding that it was too early to tell whether more money would be allotted. That would depend on developments in the search, they said.
At an earlier press conference, Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein said he was planning to ask Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for "specialist" help to locate the missing plane.
He said would be requesting "further specialist assets to help with the search and rescue efforts including remotely operated vehicles for deep ocean salvage."