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US donates eighth Bell UH-1H(ST) helicopter to Panama

Panama's National Aeronaval Service (Servicio Nacional Aeronaval: SENAN) received the eighth Bell UH-1H(ST) Huey helicopter donated by the United States on 31 May, completing deliveries that began with six helicopters donated from 2019.

A US Southern Command spokesperson told Janes on 5 June that “the donation ceremony [on 31 May] brought the total [number of helicopters] to 8”.

According to a 31 May press release by Panama's Ministry of Public Security, the donation was made via the US Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) as part of the INL-SENAN co-operation programme.

Panama's President Laurentino Cortizo said in a 31 May post on X (formerly Twitter) that the helicopters will replace SENAN's six single-engine Bell UH-1Hs; the UH-1H(ST) is a twin-engine helicopter, which the Ministry of Public Security claimed will improve the capabilities of the air fleet. (Janes was unable to verify the UH-1H(ST) designation; other authorities also refer to the donated helicopters as UH-1H or UH-1ST).

A 2 June post on X by SENAN said that the helicopters are to be deployed along the Panama-Colombia border for operations against illicit narcotics traffic and irregular migration, and to conduct search-and-rescue operations.

For more information, please seePanama - Air Force .

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