Naval forces from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and the United States kicked off UNITAS 2014, an annual multinational exercise, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 12.
Personnel from Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Italy, Panama, United Kingdom and New Zealand are also participating in the exercise.
This year’s exercise is hosted by the Peruvian navy and will include 20 warships that will conduct operations in the Southern Pacific through Sept. 26.
UNITAS is intended to train participating forces in a variety of maritime scenarios to test command and control of forces at sea, while operating as a multinational force to provide the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability.
“UNITAS develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of both U.S. forces and partner nation maritime forces through complex and comprehensive multinational training at sea,” said Rear Adm. George Ballance, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, U.S. 4th Fleet.
The overall objectives of the intense training focus on developing coalition building, multilateral security cooperation, promoting tactical interoperability and promoting friendship, professionalism and mutual understanding among the participating partner nations.
“While the overarching goal of the exercise is to develop and test command and control of forces at sea, training in this exercise will address the spectrum of maritime operations,” Ballance said. “Specifically, there will be high end warfare scenarios addressing electronic warfare, anti-air warfare and air defense, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and maritime interdiction operations.”