Panama hosts multinational naval exercise UNITAS 2016

The Panamanian Navy is host to this year’s iteration of exercise UNITAS which is attended by the United States, Panama, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom.

The ten-day exercise kicked off September 18 and will include operations in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility through Sept. 28.

Participating units from the United States include USNS Spearhead, USCGC Mohawk, JTF-Bravo with 3 H-60 Blackhawk Helicopters, VBAT UAS, Puma UAS (TBC), Destroyer Squadron 40 and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet.

UNITAS 2016 is designed to train each navy to conduct joint naval operations, through the execution of littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interdiction operations (MIO), countering transnational organized crime (CTOC), anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, communications exercises and air operations in order to increase interoperability and capability between participating naval forces.

The U.S. Navy’s longest-running exercise will focus on promoting tactical interoperability and friendship through training and joint operations.

The first UNITAS was planned in 1959 and took place in 1960; it has occurred annually ever since.