Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UNITAS Kicks Off in Colombia

CARTAGENA, Colombia (Sept. 7, 2013) Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) anchors in the Cartagena harbor to prepare for the start of the annual UNITAS multinational naval exercise hosted this year by the Colombian Navy, Sept 8-15. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker/Released)
CARTAGENA, Colombia (NNS) -- Naval forces from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States kicked off UNITAS 2013, an annual multinational exercise, Sept. 8 in Cartagena, Colombia.

This year's exercise is hosted by the Colombian navy and will include 19 warships that will conduct operations in the Western Caribbean Sea through Sept. 15.

Observers from Belize, El Salvador, Germany, Jamaica, Panama and Mexico are also participating in the exercise.

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.

"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," said Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, the U.S. 4th Fleet commander.

UNITAS develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of U.S. and partner nation maritime forces through complex and comprehensive multinational training at sea.

"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," Harris said.

The training focuses on developing coalition building, multilateral security cooperation, promoting tactical interoperability and friendship, professionalism and mutual understanding among the participating partner nations.

The next UNITAS exercise is scheduled for spring 2014.