Naval forces from eight countries participated in a multinational amphibious landing during the amphibious phase of exercise UNITAS LXII, Oct. 2.
UNITAS is designed to train forces in joint maritime operations and to increase interoperability and capability between participating naval and marine forces. This exercise develops and sustains relationships that improve the capacity of maritime partners to achieve common objectives.
The amphibious landing was led by Peruvian Navy Capt. Eduardo Díaz León serving as the multinational combined landing force commander, under the overall command of Rear Adm. Oscar Torrico Infantas, commander of Combined Task Force 401. The landing included nine amphibious ships, six fixed-wing aircraft, five helicopters, 20 light-armored vehicles, nine small boats, two air-cushion landing craft, two utility landing craft, and five ground support vehicles brought ashore by connectors.
Some key events of the day included the aerial insert of special operators from the Peruvian Navy’s Fokker F60 aircraft, bomb runs from Peruvian Air Force jets Mirage 2000, helocasting of partner nation combat swimmers from the U.S. UH-1 Huey helicopters, and ship-to-shore movement of approximately 200 multinational service members on 23 different watercraft.
“Our multinational forces, both navy and marine, integrated today with assets from air, land and sea to conduct an amphibious landing for UNITAS,” said Rear Adm. Jim Aiken, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. “This integration shows true unity and collaboration which will strengthen our bonds and training for years to come.”
During the Pacific phase, which took place following the opening ceremony on 27 September, the ships maneuvered and coordinated in the open ocean to neutralize and defeat a scenario-based enemy. The navy set conditions in the Pacific which facilitated the amphibious landing ashore in order to gain a foothold on land, secure the objective, and conduct follow-on actions in support of the exercise scenario. The scenario is event-driven and provides opportunities for the multinational force to improve interoperability in a challenging and uncertain environment.
Naval integration between the navy and marine corps is a critical element to joint maritime operations that facilitates the safe and effective employment of troops and weapon systems. The maritime domain includes the littorals which incorporate not only the ocean, but also the area inland from the shore that can be supported and defended directly from the sea.
During this amphibious landing, Peru coordinated fires across the multinational force ensuring the timing and sequencing of events were executed safely and realistically to enhance readiness and strengthen the partnerships between the participating nations.
“The UNITAS exercise is the demonstration of the cohesion, coordination, and the will of the different countries that are taking part,” said Díaz. “This operation demonstrates the cooperation and coordination that exists among all the countries in order to ultimately be prepared to face any threat that threatens the security and stability of the countries of this region.”
Peru’s President, Pedro Castillo, was in attendance with other key leaders from the government, military, and partner nations to view the amphibious landing of UNITAS LXII. This year’s exercise also coincides with Peru’s bicentennial, a historic milestone commemorating 200 years of the country’s independence and the birth of their Navy.