Aug. 5 (UPI) — The dock landing ship USS Carter Hall left port in Virginia to travel to UNITAS LX, an annual, multinational exercise hosted this year by Brazil.
The ship left Joint Expeditionary Base-Little Creek with nearly 350 Navy and Marine personnel on Sunday.
Scheduled for Aug. 19 to Aug. 30 in the Rio de Janeiro area, it will include military personnel and ships from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the United States.
The event, now in its 60th year, is regarded as the world’s longest-running multinational maritime exercise.
“We are looking forward to showcase the partnership between the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team with our partner nations, especially as it relates to amphibious operations and the ability to demonstrate maritime cooperation in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response scenario,” Cmdr. Bruce Golden, Carter Hall’s commanding officer, said in a press release.
The exercise is meant to develop and sustain relationships to improve each country’s maritime force, a U.S. Navy statement said, and to develop interoperability skills. This year UNITAS will have three phases: Amphibious and Atlantic, hosted by Brazil, and Pacific, completed earlier in the summer and hosted by Chile.
One scheduled operation, early in the program, has a maritime stage integrated with an amphibious phase, which will include a simulation of humanitarian aid from an amphibious operation on Brazil’s Marambaia Island.
Other basic tasks of naval power, including surface, air, electronic warfare and maritime interdiction operations, will be demonstrated later in the week.
Participating forces will include 15 ships, six helicopters, three fixed- wing aircraft and a submarine that will conduct operations in the region.