60th edition of exercise UNITAS kicks off in Brazil

Navy ships and personnel from 13 countries kicked off the 60th iteration of multinational exercise UNITAS LX (60) in Rio de Janeiro on August 19.

This year’s exercise is hosted by the Brazilian Navy and will feature the former Royal Navy helicopter carrier PHM Atlantico.

Operations off the coast of Rio de Janeiro will focus on demonstrating regional maritime cooperation in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) response scenario, as a means to develop a multinational maritime task force.

Comprised of both Atlantic and Amphibious phases, UNITAS participants include naval forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and the United States.

UNITAS, which is Latin for “unity” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960, and has been held every year since.

The Argentine Navy has sent destroyer ARA Almirante Brown and amphibious cargo ship ARA Bahía San Blas. The US Navy will be represented by dock landing ship USS Carter Hall.

Portugal, Japan and the United Kingdom have sent observers who will be embarked aboard the Brazilian multipurpose dock ship Bahia for the duration of the drill.

“It’s an honor to be here, seize this opportunity,” said Adm. Greg Faller, commander U.S. Southern Command. “Trust is the building block of our ability to work together as a team. When I look at you, when I see the ships, the staffs, I know you are professionals that represent democracies that fight for freedom.”

Photo: Photo: US Southern Command