Israel-Hamas war: US announces entry of nuclear submarine in West Asia


The United States military on Monday announced that a guided missile has arrived in West Asia. The US Central Command took to its social media ‘X’, and stated that an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the US Central Command area of responsibility on November 5. According to CNN, the arrival of the missile seemed intended to display a message of deterrence clearly directed at regional adversaries like Iran and its proxies as the Biden administration tries to avoid a broader conflict amid the Israel-Hamas war.



The post was accompanied by a picture which appears to show a guided missile submarine in the Suez Canal passing under the Al Salam Bridge northeast of Cairo. The submarine joins a number of other US Navy assets already in the area, including two carrier strike groups and an amphibious ready group, reported CNN. However, the social media post did not mention the sub, but the US Navy has four Ohio-class guided missile submarines (SSGNs), that are former ballistic missile subs converted to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles rather than nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

Each SSGN can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 50 per cent more than US guided-missile destroyers pack and almost four times what the US Navy’s newest attack subs are armed with, CNN reported. Each Tomahawk can carry up to a 1,000-pound high-explosive warhead. According to an interview he gave to CNN in 2021, Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center said that “SSGNs can deliver a lot of firepower very rapidly.” “One-hundred and fifty-four Tomahawks accurately deliver a lot of punch. No opponent of the US can ignore the threat,” he said as cited in CNN.

The US broadcaster noted that the first time the SSGNs were used in combat was in March 2011, when the guided missile sub USS Florida fired almost 100 Tomahawks against targets in Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn. The announcement of the arrival of an Ohio-class submarine comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a series of talks with US partners in West Asia. Meanwhile, Blinken is on a visit to West Asian countries, including Turkey, Iraq, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Cyprus.

Earlier on Sunday, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and said that the US was committed to deterring “any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this conflict,” a clear reference to Iran and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed armed group, CNN reported. Moreover, this month, Austin also said that the additional forces in the area were meant to “bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for US forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel.”