Africa participated in America’s largest naval defense exercise for the first time

This content was published on September 22, 2022 – 22:38

Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 22 (EFE).- The sixty-third edition of Operation Unitas, America’s premier naval defense exercise and annually led by the United States, concluded this Thursday in Brazil after calling on African military personnel for the first time. involvement.

The Namibian and Cameroon navies sent military ships for the maneuvers conducted over the past two weeks off the coast of the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro and Espiritu Santo, simulating defense exercises of the Americas.

In its new edition in Brazil, the naval exercise, which is conducted annually in a different country in America, counted 5,500 soldiers, 21 warships – including a submarine – and 21 aircraft from 20 countries.

The maritime exercises, which took place between September 8 and 22, included the participation of the navies of Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Ecuador, Spain, the United States, France, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia , Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

The operation already included the participation of Asian and European countries, but for the first time African countries were invited, chosen specifically because their location on the west coast of the African continent and in the South Atlantic Ocean makes them strategic for the defense of Brazil.

“It was the first time that African ships crossed the Atlantic to participate in an exercise on our coast. It is a milestone,” said the commander of the Brazilian naval fleet’s First Division, Rear Admiral Marcelo Menezes Cardoso. , quoted in a statement. .

“The participation of the Namibians and Cameroonians deserves to be emphasized. Not only for the recognized effort to cross the Atlantic, but also for the seriousness, professionalism and dedication shown from the planning phase to the execution of the exercises at sea,” he added.

For naval and war captain Simon Kombada, commander of the Namibian Navy’s flagship NS Elephant, participation in the exercises was doubly important as it instilled not only the crew’s confidence but also their ability to participate in joint operations. improved.

Considered the oldest multinational exercise in the world after being first conducted in 1959, Unitas aims to “improve the ability of naval forces to achieve common goals, conduct joint maritime operations and develop greater interoperability between participants.” “.

Brazil, as host country and organizer, participated with 12 ships in the exercises, including the “Atlántico” Multipurpose Ship-Aerodrome, the “Bahia” Multipurpose Ship-Doca, the “Almirante Sabóia” Tank Landing Ship; three frigates, two ocean patrol craft, an ocean support vessel and a cargo landing craft.

After Brazil, the country with the most ships in the exercises was the United States, flying the destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), the amphibious transport ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and the nuclear-powered submarine Los Angeles USS Albany (SSN 753).

The participating navies jointly conducted surface, submarine and anti-aircraft operations, as well as electronic warfare and naval interdiction operations.

They also took part in a civilian rescue exercise via an amphibious raid on Itaoca Beach, Espiritu Santo state, landing nearly 1,000 soldiers, including Marines and combat divers. EFE


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