Burbank and Glendale together are purchasing a new helicopter to replace a two-decades-old one that officials say is past its service life.

The Burbank City Council last week unanimously approved the purchase. The city will split the $2.9-million cost with Glendale, leaving Burbank on the hook for roughly $1.4 million. The Glendale City Council signed off on the purchase in October.

The new air unit will be replacing a 22-year-old MD-520N helicopter, according to a city report. It’s one of three helicopters the two cities currently share. The new helicopter — an updated version of the same model — is expected to last 20 years, or 15,000 hours.

“It’s a very reliable platform for police observation work,” said Burbank Police Lt. Armen Dermenjian, who used to manage the city’s helicopter unit.

The cities plan to sell the old helicopter for between $450,000 to $500,000 and split the revenue.

The new helicopter includes improved navigational features and real-time weather information, Dermenjian said.

In 2007, Burbank and Glendale entered into an agreement to combine their air-support units. Before that, the cities separately owned, operated and maintained their own helicopters, according to a city report.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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