The USS Nevada, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarine carrying 20 Trident ballistic missiles and dozens of nuclear warheads, arrived in the US Pacific island on Saturday. It is the first arrival of a Guam ballistic missile submarine since 2016 and only the second announced arrival since the 1980s.
“This arrival strengthens cooperation between the United States and its allies in the region, demonstrating the U.S. capability, flexibility, readiness, and continued commitment to Indo-Pacific regional security and stability,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement.
The #USNavy ballistic-missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam Jan. 15, reflecting the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
Read more ?? https://t.co/bzjPpYRQnH pic.twitter.com/N4YCdcizct
– US Navy (@USNavy) January 16, 2022
The positions of such submarines are usually strictly kept secret. The nuclear power plant means that these submarines can operate underwater for months – the only thing that limits them is the supplies needed by the crew, writes CNN.
The Navy says Ohio-class submarines are at sea for an average of 77 days and then enter a port to maintain and replenish supplies. They can rarely be photographed outside their home ports in Washington and Georgia. Analysts therefore believe that with this move, the United States is sending a message to China and North Korea.
“The US Navy has consciously or unconsciously sent a message – we can bring 100 nuclear warheads to your doorstep, and you will not know it or do anything about it. “The other side can’t do that,” said Thomas Sugart, a former U.S. Navy submarine captain and now an analyst with the U.S. Center for Security.
North Korea’s ballistic submarine program is under development, and China’s fleet of six ballistic missile submarines is smaller and weaker than the US. Chinese submarines with 094 ballistic missiles are twice as noisy as American submarines and easier to detect. They carry fewer missiles and warheads.