MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s National Police presented on Wednesday three new, U.S.-made helicopters that mark a significant upgrade to the force’s aerial capabilities.
The police paid roughly $500,000 each for the Robinson 44 Raven II aircraft, which are similar to those used by the Los Angeles Police Department, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States.
“They are complete instruments to monitor the ground, to improve patrols, vigilance and ground operations,” Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi said during the presentation at Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport.
The choppers will become part of a police Aerial Unit comprising two fixed-wing aircraft and a number of drones.
The Interior Ministry first proposed the acquisition of the helicopters in 2010 and the government sought advice from authorities in the U.S., Spain, Argentina and Russia, among other countries, before making a final decision.
While one of the Robinson 44s comes specially equipped for police use, the other two will require upgrading at a cost of nearly $500,000 apiece.