Having been invited by the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet, the Peruvian Navy (MPG, per its Spanish acronym), will attend the multinational amphibious exercise Dawn Blitz 2017 as an observer, with a view toward solidifying its active participation in the future.
Because of its complexity, the amphibious exercise requires prior planning and coordination. In this context, U.S. authorities drew up three meetings in advance of the naval training. The first meeting was held from January 11th-13th. The second meeting will be from March 13th-17th, and the final meeting is scheduled for August 22nd-24th. The biennial naval exercise will take place between October 16th and October 30th, in San Diego, California.
During their first preparatory meeting, the service members decided what different naval and marine units will participate in the event. They outlined the international naval event’s potential scenario and the tasks and activities to be carried out during the training, as well as what means and logistical requirements are required for the joint training among participating nations. For its part, Mexico will arrive with two ships and several aircraft.
During the planning conference, U.S. forces told the participating navies they would “deploy the F-35 aircraft in support of the marines in the amphibious debarking exercise to achieve the proposed objectives,” Commander Hanna Eduardo Samaan De la Torre, operations chief for the Peruvian Marines, told Diálogo. The F-35 aircraft is capable of taking off and landing vertically in spaces that have reduced maneuverability.
“From the perspective of development, the use of this technology is welcome. Our new threats are not only terrorism, drug trafficking or some other type of piracy that could occur in the region. The development of technology used by criminal organizations is also a new threat,” Admiral (R) Jorge Montoya Manrique, member of the Consultative Council of the Peruvian Navy’s Commander General, told Diálogo. “These groups have a lot of money to invest in state-of-the-art technology and turn the Pacific into an inferno. It is important not to lose sight of that.”
Under the auspices of the U.S. Navy, the objective of the exercise is to train their Navy and Marine Corps while building the operational response and reaction capacities of partner maritime forces participating in the event. Dawn Blitz 2017 will put the military units to the test as they plan and execute amphibious operations.
The U.S. and Mexican naval and marine units will contribute a wide range of vessels, aircraft, and personnel, who will use the latest technologies and exercise techniques to ensure a successful land and sea training. After the participation of the Chilean and Colombian navies in Dawn Blitz 2015, observers from Peru, Colombia, and Chile will take part of the 2017 event. .
The Peruvian Ministry of Defense approved the participation of three marines and two MGP officers trained in surface warfare. The officials will be integrated into the Joint Staff of the Multinational Force of the naval exercise. They will participate in the operations, logistics, and aviation sections “to contribute with our experience to the detailed, joint planning of all the activities or actions carried out during and after an amphibious debarkation,” reported Cmdr. De la Torre, who attended the initial planning conference.
Since Dawn Blitz began in 2010, the Peruvian Navy has periodically attended the event as an observer. “U.S. Southern Command’s invitation to participate in the multinational exercise is with a view toward future collaboration. It is possible we might join the debarking force and the surface groups in the 2019 version,” Cmdr. De la Torre said.
“In time, the MGP will increase its participation, from observer to active participant. It is crucial for this naval institution to keep up its performance in the international arena, as it has been doing,” Adm. Montoya said.
Practicing complex amphibious and interoperability operations is done in a difficult, stressful environment that provides the Peruvian participants with the opportunity to learn tactics, techniques, and procedures on how to carry out a multinational amphibious debarkation. They can then share what they have learned with other officers in their units.
Doctrine and interaction will be the immediate challenges during DB-17. “Getting to the point of having a shared doctrine and enriching it with the experiences of each of the exercise’s participating countries is not easy,” Adm. Montoya remarked. “A major challenge in amphibious debarkations is joint interaction between surface forces and the marines,” Cmdr. De la Torre added.
In October 2016, a team from the recently formed Engineer Battalion of the Peruvian Marines participated in the Koa Moa 2016 exercise in preparation for UNITAS 2017, the U.S. Navy’s longest-running multinational exercise, the goal of which is to train and increase the interoperability of Latin American navies.
Peru also commanded the maritime component of PANAMAX for the first time in 2016. The mission of the annual multinational exercise organized by SOUTHCOM is to protect the Panama Canal and the surrounding areas.
“Dawn Blitz, UNITAS, and PANAMAX are like a transfer channel for carrying out real operations with sufficient security and conviction,” Cmdr. De la Torre said. “Ultimately, they also help make the Americas bigger,” Adm. Montoya added.
Peru is building two multi-purpose vessels for troop support. “Developing our capacities is parallel to developing these multinational exercises,” Cmdr. De la Torre said. “In a few years, the MGP will be able to participate [in Dawn Blitz 2019] with these types of units. We all want peace, but you build peace with decisive action,” Adm. Montoya concluded.