The Uruguayan Navy initiated a plan to modernize its fleet, beginning with the transfer of three Protector-class patrol vessels from the U.S. Coast Guard, Uruguayan Minister of National Defense Javier García said on December 16, 2021.
USCG cutters Albacore (WPB-87309), Cochito (WPD-87329), and Gannet (WPB-87334) valued at $8.7 million will be delivered at no cost. The Uruguayan Navy will invest $4.9 million to modernize the vessels and train their crews, the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay reported.
“The U.S. and Uruguay have a long history of cooperation since our office opened here more than 70 years ago […], and we are proud to be the trusted partner on their defense modernization, and are looking for more ways to collaborate in the near future,” said Colonel Brian Symon, senior Defense official at the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo. “These vessels helped keep our country safe and guarded our democracy […]. We hope they will be able to do the same for Uruguay for many years to come.”
According to the Embassy, the vessels are 27 meters long and have a range of 1,700 kilometers and a maximum speed of 25 knots (about 46 km per hour). In addition, the ships have a rigid-hull inflatable boat that can be launched from the stern via an innovative launch and recovery system. This capability allows for rapid interception, inspection, and/or boarding of other vessels while on patrol without stopping.
“These ships are a proven workhorse of the [U.S.] Coast Guard, but still have many years of use ahead,” U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Jennifer Savage said. For his part, Minister García announced an expansion at the naval base where one of the patrol boats will be deployed, on the Uruguay River, which also runs through Brazil and Argentina.