As part of UNITAS 2022, a multinational Amphibious Operation was carried out today (16th) in Itaoca (ES). The Operation involved a simulation of rescuing threatened citizens from the coast of a country in conflict, through an amphibious incursion, carried out by ships and aircraft from the Fleet and the Fleet Marine Forces (FFE). In the previous edition, held in Brazil in 2019, troops landed on Marambaia Island (RJ). 

Operation Amphibious is a naval operation through which a Landing Force is launched from the sea, from military ships, over a coastal region to fulfill various types of missions. An operation of this type can also be used in times of peace to, for example, support a population that is stranded as a result of having been hit by a natural disaster.

Today, more than a thousand soldiers from the Brazilian Navy (MB) and from eleven other countries were disembarked. Previously, special operations teams were dropped off at strategic points. From the beach, amphibious assault vehicles and landing craft could be seen, which launched themselves ashore to disembark Brazilian Marines, the United States, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

Divided into phases, UNITAS is the oldest active multinational maritime exercise. At UNITAS 2022, there are representatives of 19 navies, a greater number than other editions and which also had navies from the European, African and Asian continents. It is organized annually by North Americans and, in this edition, Brazil is the coordinator and host country. In the sea phase, amphibious operations aim to coordinate the efforts of the Naval Force with the Marine Corps troops, seeking to strengthen the capacity to carry out, for example, real operations of humanitarian aid and disaster remediation. 

As Rear Admiral Marcelo Menezes Cardoso, Commander of the 1st Division of the Fleet and Task Group, reinforces, “at UNITAS, this objective has an even greater dimension, when we consider the opportunity to consolidate this coordination with other navies.”

In this Operation, the entire command of the troops was centralized by the Brazilian Marines, more precisely by the Captain of Sea and War (Marine) Luís Felippe Valentini da Silva, Commander of the Landing Troop. He even held operative control over US Marine Corps troops. This novelty contrasts with the organization of previous years, in which the command and control structures were parallel. 

For Sea and War Captain Valentini, exercises like UNITAS are an excellent opportunity to increase interoperability – the ability to work together – between forces. “Since the port phase, we have had the chance to work together and develop the actions that have been used now. During this period, we strengthened our relationship, understood and reinforced the procedures of other countries, so that we could use complementary capabilities to build a landing force”, he highlights.

From the sea, all the Marines and their equipment disembarked from five ships of the Brazilian Navy: the Capitânia da Esquadra Brasileira, the Multipurpose Aerodrome Ship “Atlântico”; the Multipurpose Landing Vessel “Bahia” and the Landing Vessel of Combat Vehicles “Almirante Saboia”, from MB; the US Navy Amphibious Transport Ship “Mesa Verde”; and the Multipurpose Ship “Libertador”, of the Mexican Navy.

From land, it was possible to observe the deployment of a Landing Force with its combat, fire support, logistics and communications systems. The Cars Caterpillar Amphibian (CLAnf) and the “PIRANHA” wheeled armored vehicles were used, in addition to the new UNIMOG vehicles, recently acquired by MB.

Also positioned in the exercise area were a battery of ASTROS multiple rocket launchers, of national manufacture, and an Advanced Trauma Unit (ATU), equipped with telemedicine resources, which is capable of providing medical care to the military in combat. From the air, MB aircraft were used, such as the AF-1 “Skyhawk” intercept and attack helicopter and the UH-15 “Super Cougar” general purpose helicopter, in addition to US aircraft (UH-1Y Venom helicopters and the AH-1Z Viper) and Mexico (Mi-17 helicopter).