The United States deployed a high-capacity nuclear submarine, the USS Nevada, to the Western Pacific this weekend. an unusual unannounced move that focuses on the US presence in a region of high tensions with China.
The ballistic missile submarine is of the Ohio class and serves as an undetectable launch pad for ballistic missiles, so it is one of the most important legs of its nuclear triad, alongside strategic fighter-bombers and silo-based missiles.
The USS Nevada visit was to the Guam naval base, an unincorporated US territory, according to images released by the US Navy.
“The Guam port visit reinforces cooperation between the United States and its allies in the region, demonstrating the capability, flexibility, and readiness of the United States and its continued commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” highlighted the official statement.
The USS Nevada, based at the Kitsap naval base (Washington), but can spend months under water without revealing its position, under nuclear propulsion. In fact, the movements of the 14 submarines of this type are usually classified secrets and they regularly return to collect supplies for the crews, usually over 150 officers.
The visit “complements the numerous exercises, operations, training and military cooperation activities that the Strategic Forces carry out to ensure that they are available and ready to operate around the world at any time,” the Navy said.
This is the first arrival in Guam of a submarine of this type since 2016, when the USS Pennsylvania made a stopover.
In a context of growing geopolitical tensions with China and the latest missile tests by North Korea, the unusual deployment is taken as a warning to regional rivals.
“This sends a message, intended or not: We can park 100 nuclear warheads on your doorstep and you won’t know it and you won’t be able to do much about it. And the opposite is not true and won’t be for a long time,” Thomas Shugart, a former submarine captain in the US Navy and now an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, told CNN.
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