Twenty Nations to Participate in FA PANAMAX 2007

NORFOLK NAVAL STATION, Va., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Civil and military forces from 20 countries will participate in Fuerzas Aliadas (FA) PANAMAX 2007, a U.S. Southern Command joint and multi-national training exercise co-sponsored with the Government of Panama , in the waters off the coasts of Panama and in Honduras , Aug. 29 - Sep. 7 .

The exercise is focused on ensuring the security of the Panama Canal from both the Caribbean and Pacific approaches to the Canal. Simulated ground forces will participate at Soto Cano air base in Honduras . This year, more than 30 vessels, a dozen aircraft and 7,000 personnel will take part.

"This training brings together international civil, naval, air and ground security forces in a multi-national environment," said U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis , commander, U.S. Southern Command. "As an integrated team, these forces will respond quickly to simulated crises to ensure the security of one of the world's most important waterways."

Participating forces will comprise Multi-National Force South under a combined joint task force led by U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Evan Chanik , commander, U.S. Second Fleet. In addition to the traditional multi-national maritime force participation, FA PANAMAX 2007 includes the added dimension of both ground and air assets.

"This added dimension more fully accounts for a defense that would be required to help ensure the canal's security and neutrality," said Chanik. "The increased participation over previous years underscores the importance the international community places on freedom of navigation as a pillar of security and stability worldwide."

The FA PANAMAX 2007 exercise scenario will include sea-based training devoted to maritime interdiction operations, and visit, boarding, search and seizure. Additionally, land-based training in Honduras will focus on command and control, stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Fuerzas Aliadas PANAMAX 2007 Participating Nations: Argentina , Brazil , Chile , Canada , Colombia , Dominican Republic , Ecuador , France , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua , Netherlands , Panama , Peru , the United States and Uruguay . El Salvador , Mexico , Paraguay , and the United Kingdom are scheduled to participate as observers.

SOURCE U.S. Southern Command