MAYPORT NAVAL STATION, Fla. (AP) - Navies from the United States and 10 other countries are launching two weeks of war exercises off Florida's coast that also will include training in combatting piracy and drug smuggling.

Several Latin American countries, Canada and Germany are taking part in the exercise called UNITAS Gold.

The exercise is now in its 50th year and is the Navy's longest-running yearly exercise.

It was begun in 1959 to foster cooperation among navies across the Americas.

Sailors, Marines and other military forces will perform live-fire exercises, undersea warfare and other operations.

More than 25 ships, four submarines and 6,500 sailors are taking part.

The exercise is being hosted by the U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet, based
at Mayport Naval Station just north of Jacksonville.

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