Naval maritime forces from 19 countries have joined forces to begin the 58th iteration of the annual multilateral exercise UNITAS 2017 in Lima, Peru.
The exercise was commanded by Peruvian Navy rear admiral Alberto Alcala and includes participants from the UK, Spain, Italy, US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Indonesia.
UNITAS 2017 will see the combined landing force be commanded by Peruvian Marine Corps capitan de Navo Victor Robles, with Marine colonel Paul Konopka acting as deputy.
This year’s exercise comprises two phases, UNITAS Pacific and UNITAS Amphibious, which are both occurring concurrently and involve multinational partners.
UNITAS Pacific has been designed to train each naval force to carry out combined naval operations through the execution of littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interdiction operations, countering transnational organised crime and anti-surface warfare.
The phase also includes training in electronic warfare, communications exercises, and air and amphibious operations in order to enhance the collective capabilities of participating naval and marine forces.
UNITAS Amphibious will help improve interoperability and partner nations' ability to plan combined amphibious operations, stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions across the region.
UNITAS Amphibious will be conducted by the US Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH), in collaboration with US Naval Forces Southern Command / US 4th Fleet (USNAVSO / FOURTHFLT), the Peruvian Navy and marines, and other regional partner nations.
The exercise is expected to conclude on 26 July.
Image: US and Peruvian sailors recover a diver during a joint diving and salvage training exercise as part of UNITAS 2017. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy by mass communication specialist 2nd Class Bill Dodge / Released.