On May 16, more than 2,000 Sailors from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States began the Unitas 2012 multilateral naval exercise, in which they will simulate actions to fight drug trafficking and organized crime in the region, the Peruvian Navy announced.
“The aim of these exercises is training to be able to combat drug trafficking, smuggling, and piracy in our countries,” Peruvian Navy Commander Jorge Núñez told AFP.
During Unitas 2012, the naval and air units will conduct electronic warfare, surface, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious and maritime interdiction operations.
The operations will last ten days and will take place between the coasts of Huacho (in northern Peru) and Pisco (in the southern part of the country), with the participation of frigates, landing ships, submarines, helicopters, and combat planes from the five countries.
Colombian Navy Captain Juan Aldana indicated at a press conference that he was glad to have arrived in Peru with a very young crew eager to share many experiences with the other Navies.
Peru is participating with five missile frigates, two corvettes, one landing ship, two submarines, and Cessna A-37 and MB 339 planes.
Mexico, Chile, and Colombia will contribute helicopters, ships, and patrol boats, while the United States has sent its combat frigate Underwood, a helicopter, and a maritime patrol plane.
This is the fifth time since 2000 that the Peruvian coast will be the stage for these multilateral naval exercises.
The first Unitas exercise was held in Venezuela in 1960, with the aim of training, skills development, cooperation, and establishing ties of trust among the Navies of the region.