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LIMA, Peru – Naval and Marine forces from Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the United States kicked off UNITAS LXII, an annual multinational exercise, Sept. 24, in Lima, Peru.
This year's exercise is hosted by the Peruvian Navy and will include 29 warships/vessels, four submarines, and 20 aircraft that will conduct operations off the coast of Lima and in the jungles of Iquitos through Oct 6.
The initial in port phase will include cultural exchanges including sporting events, community relations projects, an international cuisine festival, and city tours to build relations between participating nations.
Following opening ceremonies, the ships will head to sea to conduct combined and joint operations as a multi-national task force, executing an event-driven scenario to train in multiple warfare areas.
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, 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.