The USS Kidd, a guided missile destroyer, has been taking part in the near week-long search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 along with another American destroyer and a P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft.
"The Kidd is going to the Straits of Malacca and will be searching in the western section of the strait at the request of the Malaysian government," an official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The hunt initially focused on the South China Sea east of Malaysia, along the plane's intended route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
But the desperate search has expanded to include waters on both sides of peninsular Malaysia.
Authorities have said the airliner may have doubled back after taking off from Kuala Lumpur and military radar detected an unidentified object early Saturday north of the strait.
A second American destroyer, the USS Pinckney, remains in the Gulf of Thailand and it was unclear if it would remain in the international search effort after this week, officials said.
The airliner had 239 people on board and its disappearance remains a mystery, with various leads so far coming to nothing. US officials said that American military spy satellites detected no sign of a mid-air explosion at the time the plane went missing at 1:30 am Malaysian time.