Peru, United States Conduct Southern Seas 2015 and Other Military Exercises

Peru, United States Conduct Southern Seas 2015 and Other Military Exercises

By Dialogo
November 19, 2015


Peru's Navy is participating in the Southern Seas 2015 exercise with the crew of aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and other U.S. forces, continuing the countries' joint training program that started in 2006.

“Our Navies are aware that our countries have responsibilities as members of the international community, and therefore, we ought to be prepared for any eventuality, such as a crisis or need for humanitarian aid or assistance in the event of a disaster,” Captain César Chávez Parodi, head of the International Affairs Division of the General Staff of the Peruvian Navy, told Diálogo
in an interview.

The exercise -- sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), planned by the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet, and carried out by the USS George Washington (CVN 73) -- is in its eighth iteration this year. It supports U.S. Maritime Strategy and SOUTHCOM objectives for enhanced maritime security in the region, and allows U.S and partner nations to operate in a multinational environment, refine coordination, and improve interoperability and flexibility.

“The benefit for all those involved is undeniable at several levels," Capt. Chávez said of the training exercise, which began in September and will run through December. "It is an opportunity for the continent’s Navies to get to know each other and forge professional bonds...Peru and the U.S. have for years maintained strong collaborative ties in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and related agencies, the Armed Forces, the National Police, and other Peruvian government agencies.”

Peruvian service members participated in operational coordination training exercises aboard U.S. aircraft carriers, which were off the Peruvian coast from October 3-7; the USS George Washington task group includes Carrier Strike Group NINE (CSG9), Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2), USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198), USNS Guadalupe (T-AO-200), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and the USS McFaul (DDG 74).

Bilat 2015 aerial training

Southern Seas 2015 is just the latest of multiple recent exercises involving Peru and the United States.

In early October, for example, Base Chiclayo hosted the Bilat 2015 training course involving Peruvian MiG-29SMP airplanes from the Sixth Aviation Group, Mirage 2000P/DP airplanes from the Fourth Aviation Group and F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets assigned to the USS George Washington. There, the countries engaged in exercises involving aerial combat, interceptions, joint patrols, and fly-overs near the U.S. aircraft carrier, as Bilat 2015 enabled Peru's Air Force (FAP, for its Spanish acronym) to provide training not typically available to its pilots.

“This is an innovation and a new effort to find yourself with an airplane and then practice visual or radar-guided interceptions,” FAP Major Manuel Rodríguez Barrera told FAP-TV

U.S. service members “trained with colleagues from the FAP and Navy in every aspect of maritime operations, including anti-submarine warfare, air defense, and maritime interdictions,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Lisa Franchetti, CSG-9 commanding officer.

“It has taken a long time for this to come about, and it’s a great opportunity to work with the Peruvian Air Force members involved in training,” added Lieutenant Matthew McDonough, a U.S. Air Force pilot, in an interview with FAP-TV
. “This doesn’t happen often; it is very moving for me to be here.”

PASSEX and UNITAS exercises

Peruvian and U.S. Naval forces also participated in the PASSEX training operation at sea. As part of that exercise, seven Peruvian crew members were assigned as “shipriders” and left port aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier for a five-day journey before arriving at the Port of Callao, which is in the middle of Peru’s coastline.

Peru used its Lupo class BAP Mariategui (FM54) and BAP Villavicencio (FM52) frigates; 209-type BAP Pisagua (SS33) and BAP Arica (SS36) submarines; and at least one Sea King helicopter. U.S. forces included the USS George Washington, its Carrier Strike Group 9 (CSG-9), and the USS Chafee (DDG 90).

Additionally, the two countries are also among 13 nations participating in UNITAS 2015, which is divided into the UNITAS AMPHIBIOUS and the UNITAS ATLANTIC stages and will take place from November 14-25.

The Brazilian Navy-organized exercises, which will be held on coasts of Río de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, will include participation from ground, air, and submarine units, as well as special operations platoons and Marines from Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Senegal.