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LIMA, Peru – Naval and Marine forces from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain, South Korea, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the United States gathered for the opening ceremony for UNITAS LXII, the longest running multinational maritime exercise, in Lima, Peru, Sept. 27.
This year's exercise is hosted by the Peruvian Navy and will include 32 warships/vessels, four submarines, and 26 aircraft that will conduct operations off the coast of Lima and in the jungles of Iquitos through Oct. 6.
The ceremony included remarks from Comandante Alberto Alcala Luna, Commander-in-Chief of the Peruvian Navy, Comandante Luis Polar Figari, Peruvian Navy Commander of Pacific Operations, Comandante Oscar Torrico Infantas Peruvian Navy Commander of the Surface Force and Capt. Michael Weaver, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Chief of Staff.
“This exercise is an incredible opportunity for our nations to come to together, as a fighting force, to operate as a team and enhance our ability to work together,” said Weaver. “The significance of UNITAS cannot be overstated – the importance of advancing our collective maritime domain awareness and warfighting capabilities is paramount.”
Following opening ceremony, the ships headed out to sea and will conduct combined and joint operations as a multi-national task force, executing an event-driven scenario to train in multiple warfare areas such as anti-surface warfare, air defense warfare, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations, and jungle operations.
Torrico will lead the combined multinational task force embarked on Peruvian navy Makassar-class landing platform dock ship BAP Pisco (AMP-156).
Participating U.S. forces this year include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89), the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26), the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771), the “Scorpions” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, the “Golden Eagles” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9, Special Boat Team (SBT) 22, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH), and U.S. 4th Fleet.
UNITAS is designed to train forces to conduct joint maritime operations through the execution of littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interdiction operations, countering transnational organized crime, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, communications exercises, and air and amphibious operations that increase interoperability and capability between participating naval and marine forces.
UNITAS, which is Latin for “unity,” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960 and held every year since. This year marks the 62nd iteration of the world’s longest-running annual multinational maritime exercise. Additionally, this year Peru will celebrate their bicentennial, a historical milestone commemorating 200 years of the country’s independence.
UNITAS develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of our reemerging and enduring maritime partners to achieve common objectives. Additionally, the military-to-military exchanges foster friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies and marine corps.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.