USS Lassen (DDG 82) and Brazilian frigate BNS União (F45) conducted a 5-day maritime exercise September 23-28 that took place off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

The bilateral exercise between U.S. and Brazilian forces focused on maritime security and strengthening maritime partnerships with partner nations.

“The bilateral exercise continued to demonstrate collaboration and interoperability between the United States and Brazil’s Naval forces,” said Capt. Meger Chappell, deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40. “We built on the lessons learned during UNITAS LXIII to further strengthen our ability to ensure maritime superiority in the region.”

The United States and Brazil Naval forces built a relationship on a shared vision of free and open southwestern Atlantic Ocean, and a constant practice on eliminating illegal drug trade throughout the area. Both countries continued to work together and conducted bilateral exercises to strengthen regional consistency.

“This was a great opportunity to build capacity and increase our friendship together,” said Brazilian Naval Capt. Rafael Zeque Monteiro, Commander, Brazilian Escort Squadron 1. “Safety is always paramount, but we learned greatly from each other.”

The Lassen and the União safely conducted rescue and assistance operations, gun exercises, flight operations with an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter attached to Navy Helicopter Squadron “Spartans” (HSM) 70 and a Brazilian Navy UH-12 Esquilo Helicopter, and a Close Air Support Exercise (CASEX) where both ships are given a wide area to search for submarines.

Working closely together, the U.S. and Brazilian Naval forces were able to build maritime relationships and partnerships together.

“This bilateral exercise was an amazing opportunity to build on the bonds between the U.S and Brazilian Navies,” said Cmdr. Christopher Turmel, commanding officer of Lassen . “Sailors on both sides built capacity as we worked through a wide variety of exercises, emerging better trained with improved interoperability. Lassen was honored to be a part of this exercise.”