A nuclear-powered Ohio-class submarine has arrived in the Middle East, US Central Command has said, in a rare announcement apparently aimed at deterring regional actors from escalating the conflict. The announcement was made on X, formerly known as Twitter, provided few details, including the name of the vessel or whether it is carrying cruise or nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.
On Saturday, the US had said that a strike group including the flagship aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower as well as a guided missile cruiser and guided missile destroyers had also arrived in the region “as part of the increase in regional posture”.
The Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier arrived in the region last month.
The show of strength comes over the weekend while Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been shuffling across the region to Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and in meetings with Palestinian Maahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, and Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad.
Blinken has consistently stated that the United States supports Israel's "obligation and right to defend" itself against Hamas stressing how Israel achieves that goal "matters."
"Israel must take every possible measure to prevent civilian casualties," Blinke said during a joint press conference with Egyptian Minister Sameh Shourky and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan on Saturday.
The Secretary of State has repeated stated that the war must not expand and spillover.
This is not the first time a U.S. ballistic missile submarine was deployed to Central Command. Army Gen. Michael Kurilla, the Central commander, boarded the USS West Virginia at an undisclosed location in the Arabian Sea, according to an Oct. 20, 2022, command news release.
The Ohio-class vessels come in two variants that carry either guided missiles like the Tomahawk cruise missile or those that carry nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
Four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines can carry up to 154 Tomahawks with a range of 1,000 miles. Fourteen nuclear-capable submarines can carry up to 20 ballistic missiles with ranges of 4,000 miles.
The U.S. last publicly announced a submarine visit in July, when the USS Kentucky deployed to South Korea for a port call, marking the first visit of a nuclear-capable American submarine to the country in 42 years.
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