The US has deployed one of its most powerful military assets to the Middle East as tensions soar in the region as the Israel-Hamas war rages.
US Central Command – responsible for the area from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia – announced a nuclear missile capable and nuclear-powered submarine was operating in the Middle East.
CENTCOM said: “On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the US Central Command area of responsibility.”
The US Navy rarely announces the locations of its submarines and some analysts have seen the move as a stark warning to Iran against escalation in the region following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas.
Ohio class submarines are one of the Navy’s most formidable weapons – 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) roam the seas carrying 20 Trident missiles tipped with nuclear warheads. In comparison, four cruise missile submarines (SSGNs) can carry out conventional strikes virtually undetected.
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CENTCOM did not comment on which type of Ohio class sub had been moved to the Middle East.
The 14 SSBNs carry about half of the US’s thermonuclear warheads making up a huge part of America’s nuclear deterrent.
However, as Iran is thought to not yet have a nuclear weapon of its own, it’s likely an SSGN would be used to carry out conventional strikes against Tehran in the event of a war with the US.
An SSGN also packs an astonishing amount of firepower and is able to be equipped with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles as well as Harpoon anti-ship missiles to defend itself while it carries out strikes.
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The news comes as the Israel-Hamas conflict ripples through the region with the Iranian-led “axis of resistance” striking Israel and US targets in the Middle East.
US bases in Iraq and Syria – where America maintains a small presence to fight ISIS – have been attacked dozens of times by Iranian-backed militias since the war began on October 7.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have joined the fray firing drones and missiles at southern Israel while the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah has launched limited attacks to the north.
The announcement of the Ohio class sub could be a warning to Iran to reign in its proxies in the region or to risk escalation that could involve the United States.
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