For the Second Time, USS Rhode Island Nuclear Submarine Comes To The Surface

For the Second Time, USS Rhode Island Nuclear Submarine Comes To The Surface
USS Rhode Island Nuclear Submarine Comes To The Surface

Washington - For the second time in two weeks, a ballistic missile submarine belonging to the United States Navy made its appearance on the surface. This time it was the turn of the ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island to appear in the Port of Gibraltar, entering British territory. Visits by the US Navy's Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island to public ports, such as Gibraltar, are extremely rare. Moreover, this stopover was announced to the public which was officially confirmed by the US Navy.

The service also noted that this is the first time the Ohio ballistic missile submarine, or SSBN, has visited Gibraltar since the submarine USS Alaska stopped there in June 2021. The USS Alaska's stopover is the first time in two decades either of these vessels has visited British territory.

The Gibraltar Naval Base has a very strategic role, being one of a number of facilities in the region capable of housing nuclear-powered submarines and carrying out repairs. Gibraltar as a whole is strategically located, situated at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.

Quoted from The War Zone, Wednesday (2/11/2022) Navy Captain John Craddock, head of Task Force 69 said "The USS Rhode Island port visit to Gibraltar reinforces our strong commitment to our allies and partners in the region. The US and UK share a strong history of cooperation, through exercises, operations and collaborative activities such as these, which enhance our joint capabilities and partnerships."

The US Sixth Fleet's Task Force 69 is responsible for overseeing all Navy submarine warfare operations across Europe and Africa. The US Navy is usually very tight-lipped about the activities of deployed submarines, more so about ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) commonly referred to as 'boomers' at sea.

The US Navy's ballistic missile submarines represent a second-strike nuclear deterrent that is both survivable and difficult to detect. Moreover, the US Navy's 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), each carrying about 20 Trident D5 ballistic missiles on patrol.

Each missile is highly explosive because it can carry up to 14 individual nuclear warheads, called multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles or MIRVs. The US Navy also has four other Ohio-class submarines converted into guided-missile submarines or SSGNs, capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles.

It should be noted that the Ohio Navy's Trident D5 ballistic missiles are capable of at least being equipped with the W76-2 low-power nuclear warhead, as well as the higher-power W76-1 and W88 types. The W76-2 warhead, which is now in use at least to some degree, was specifically developed to help provide a more flexible deterrent.

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS West Virginia previously disclosed its presence in the Arabian Sea on October 20, 2022. The disclosure was framed by a visit by the top commanding officer, US Army General Michael Kurilla, to get a first-hand look at one of America's key capabilities operating in the region. .

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