US Navy nuclear submarine surfaces at Guam base

Stopover was second time an Ohio-class ‘boomer’ has been seen in territory

Gino Spocchia
Monday 17 January 2022 17:21
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<p>The USS Nevada in Guam</p>

The USS Nevada in Guam

The US Navy has announced the arrival and departure of a ballistic missile submarine to Guam at the weekend.

It said in a statement that the USS Nevada’s stop in Guam in the Western Pacific was a symbol of the United States’ commitment to the Inso-Pacific region.

Guam itself is a US territory situated some 7,100 miles from the US West Coast, and within touching distance of the Philippines and China.

“The port visit strengthens cooperation between the United States and allies in the region, demonstrating US capability, flexibility, readiness, and continuing commitment to Indo-Pacific regional security and stability,” a US Navy statement said.

The Ohio-class class submarine is nuclear powered and among 14 ballistic missile submarines operated by the US Navy, alternatively called “boomers”.

A submarine of that class has not visited Guamn since 2016, and according to CNN was only the second such visit in four decades.

Nor is it ordinary for “boomers” to be photographed outside of their bases.

While no further details were given about the USS Nevada’s visit at the weekend, the announcement comes amid rising tensions between Washington DC and Beijing on a range of issues.

The USS Nevada, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarine, in Guam at the weekend

That includes growing Chinese military activity in the South China Sea in the Western Pacific, and Beijing’s claim to Taiwan as its own.

“It sends a message – intended or not: we can park 100-odd nuclear warheads on your doorstep and you won’t even know it or be able to do much about it,” said Thomas Shugart, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, to CNN about the Guam stopover.

“And the reverse isn’t true and won’t be for a good while,” the former submarine captain added.

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