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Aviación Naval Uruguaya

Compared to its heyday in the fifties of the 20th century, the aviation branch of the Uruguay Navy is small in size. Yet, it fulfills an important role in safe-guarding the Rio de la Plata, search and rescue and last but not least, supporting Uruguayan naval operations in Antarctica. One Aviagrapher made a memorable visit.

This Brazilian-supplied Esquilo helicopter, better known as Twin Squirrel or Ecureuil is used for variety of missions. It is seen here over sea, acting as a photo ship, near the resort town of Laguna del Sauce. The dayglow paint comes to good use for both SAR-missions as well as Antarctic operations, where great visibility is a key factor for survival.

The T-34C Turbo Mentor is used for training pilots and observation missions. The air station at Laguna del Sauce was developed as a sea plane base, but with a runway, which contributed to the size and interesting lay-out of the base.

The Turbo Mentor is a powerful aircraft as can be appreciated by its large prop. Serial 272 taxies in after a familiarization flight in the area.

This MBB Bo105P clearly shows its past as a German army helicopter. However, it can be equipped with floats and is operated from Uruguay’s frigates and supply ships as such. Six of these were delivered and two are ready to be deployed at any given time.

Five Grumman Trackers can still be found at Laguna del Sauce naval air station. Although still good looking, this S-2G is no longer operated and has been replaced by more economical types.

Like many other navies, the Uruguay naval aviation has chosen a Beech King Air version as a maritime patrol aircraft. This Beech 200 looks quite the part in its dark blue colour scheme.