7 countries take park in military training in Key West

Published On: Sep 17 2012 08:16:58 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 17 2012 08:31:09 PM EDT
KEY WEST, Fla. -

Seven countries are currently taking part in a joint naval training operation in Key West.

It's the largest gathering of naval firepower in Key West since 1974.

Ships from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the U.S. are training together in a realistic tactical environment featuring undersea warfare, maritime interdiction operations, air defense and amphibious operations.

"The purpose of UNITAS, which is Latin for 'unity,' is to bring these countries together, put them through some various maritime scenarios and exercises once they get out to sea to figure out how they can better work together towards a common mission or a common goal," said Captain Patrick Lefere, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Key West.

UNITAS has taken place for 53 years and is the longest-running joint naval exercise.

Ships will leave Key West on Thursday to begin sea operations in the western Caribbean.

The entire exercise lasts 2-weeks.

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