The Pentagon announced last week that the US had deployed a guided-missile submarine to the Middle East in what is likely a message of deterrence to the broader region as the White House seeks to prevent Israel’s war with Hamas from expanding into a wider conflict, CNN reported.
In a post on X last Sunday, US Central Command announced that an Ohio-class submarine had arrived in its “area of responsibility.” The image accompanying the post showed a submarine entering the Suez Canal northeast of Cairo.
The US Navy fleet includes four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines which are ballistic missile subs that have been converted to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles instead of nuclear ballistic missiles.
Each Ohio-class submarine can carry 154 Tomahawks, 50 percent more than guided-missile destroyers and four times more than the Navy’s latest attack subs.
A single Tomahawk can carry a warhead with up to 1,000 pounds of high explosive.
The magnitude of an Ohio-class sub’s firepower was on display in March 2011 when the USS Florida fired nearly one hundred Tomahawk missiles on targets in Libya. The Libya attack was the first time a converted Ohio-class guided-missile submarine was used in combat.
The Pentagon rarely announces the movement of its fleet of guided-missile or ballistic submarines, leaving the nuclear-powered subs to operate in near secrecy.
The Ohio class sub joins several other US Navy assets already deployed to the region, including an amphibious ready group and two carrier strike groups.
US Central Command likely announced the deployment as a message of deterrence directed at Tehran and its proxies in the region.
The Navy announced in April that the USS Florida was operating in the Middle East. In June, the Navy announced that one of its West Coast-based Ohio-class guided missile subs, the USS Michigan, had visited South Korea to demonstrate the US’s commitment to its allies in the Indo-Pacific.