Yesterday, at “Carlos Curbelo” Naval Air Base in Punta del Este, a ceremony was held to welcome the first of two AB412s acquired by the Uruguay Navy.
The event was attended by the President of the Republic, Dr. Luis Lacalle Pou, Defence Minister Dr. Javier Garcia, Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Defense Colonel Rivera Elgue, Tourism Minister German Cardoso, and the Commander in Chief of the Navy Admiral Jorge Wilson, among others.
The aircraft is one of two acquired from the Italian Coast Guard, who had retired all nine of their AB412CF fleet on the delivery of their AW139s a few years ago. The Italian ambassador to Uruguay, Giovanni Battista Iannuzzi, represented the European nation at the event.
The Italian Coast Guard (Guardia Costiera) had originally acquired 10 AB412s, although one suffered a fatal accident on an SAR training exercise in October 2001. The organisation now flies 15 AW139s.
During yesterday’s ceremony, the Commander of the Naval Aviation Nicolás Sanguinetti made a speech, highlighting the very important role that this new helicopter will play, thanking the effort made by the State and the National Navy in the acquisition. He also mentioned that with the two aircraft will enable “adequate operational capacities” to be recovered to fulfill the range of tasks his Naval Aviation organisation is responsible for. The 412s are equpped for full SAR work including radar, infra-red camera from FLIR Systems, Surface Radar, ELT Radio Beacon Locator, winch and external charging system among others.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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