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Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has signed the so-called ‘Shooting Law,’ which authorises the Uruguayan Air Force to shoot down any aircraft demonstrating irregular behaviour and that fails to obey legitimate instructions once intercepted.

The provision specifies the conditions of irregularity for an aircraft, as well as the 12 circumstances identifying such behaviour in national airspace, while also establishing the range of actions to be undertaken once such behaviour is detected. They include deterrence, communication, identification and accompaniment, as well as ‘neutralization’ of the hostile flight, as a final step.

What we want is to make known that our airspace is protected, that it is not a feast for drug trafficking and organized crime, [who] choose Uruguayan routes because there are ‘shooting laws’ in other countries of the region. Now we have an action protocol for the Air Force,” commented Uruguayan Minister of Defence, Javier García.

The final decision regarding downing an aircraft is the responsibility of the President of the Republic, together with the Minister of Defence. “When there is an aircraft that is located and does not respond to communications, an Air Force plane goes to ask it to descend and if the intercepted plane makes dangerous and hostile manoeuvres or puts personnel, equipment or facilities at risk, in that moment, the mechanism is triggered in the last phase,” explained García.

Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguy in Buenos Aires for MON

The Uruguayan Air Force currently operates the Cessna A-37B DRAGOBFLY in the fighter role, and expects to make a final replacement selection in 2021. (Photo: Santiago Rivas)

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