The missile launch was the first to be done on Anzio in nine years and was part of a larger subject matter expert exchange with other UNITAS participants.
"It was a challenge to coordinate this intricate operation with so many different ships," said Lt. Julio A. Nilsson, the operations officer aboard Anzio. "My job was to make sure everyone was on the same page so we could execute this as quickly and safely as possible. It takes teamwork to accomplish any kind of mission whether it be subject matter exchanges or the real thing."
The type of missile used for the exercise was a SM-2/RIM-66 and was used to fire at a drone aerial target launched from the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36).
"My job is to make sure that our guns work properly and the missile launches," said Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan M. Griffin, the combat systems officer aboard Anzio. "It takes plenty of planning and hard work [goes] into firing off these weapons, especially when we haven't fired a missile off the ship in nearly a decade."
Once launched the missile locked on and hit the fast moving drone destroying it.
"We accomplished our mission today because the end result was a dead drone," said Griffin. "This shows the importance of the planning and years of training that we receive that culminate in moments like these."
UNITAS Atlantic 53-2012 is a U.S. and South America-sponsored international naval exercise. This is the 53rd year partner nations have participated in UNITAS, which stands for "unity" in Latin, making it the longest ongoing maritime exercise in the region.
Thirteen warships from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom and observers from France, Jamaica, Panama and Peru are participating in the exercise, which will run from, Sept. 17 though September 28, 2012 in the west Caribbean and associated areas.
UNITAS is designed to train each naval force in a variety of maritime scenarios, with each operating as a component of a multinational force to provide the maximum opportunity to improve interoperability. The exercise develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners' maritime forces to achieve common desired effects. This annual exercise fosters friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies.
Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. Fourth Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.