US deploys nuclear-powered submarine in Middle East

US Navy spokesperson did not provide details about purpose of submarine or the area where it is headed

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The guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) pulls into the Bay of Naples, Italy. — Reuters/File
The guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) pulls into the Bay of Naples, Italy. — Reuters/File

The US Navy has said on Saturday that it has deployed a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine in the Middle East in the wake of heightening tensions with Iran, reported Bloomberg on Saturday.

Commander Timothy Hawkins said in a statement that The USS Florida entered the region on Thursday and began transiting the Suez Canal on Friday, adding that "It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to US 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability."

The spokesperson of the 5th Fleet did not provide additional details about the purpose of the submarine or the area where it is headed.

The announcement made by the US is considered very rare as it deals with sensitive nuclear-powered submarines.

In October last year, US Central Command (Centcom) said its chief General Michael Kurilla would visit a ballistic missile submarine in the Arabian Sea.

Before that in late 2020, a guided-missile submarine also transited the Strait of Hormuz.

The deployment is regarded as the backdrop of rising tensions with Iran as the US hit last month the areas of Iranian-backed groups in Syria after the Iranian airstrike killed a US contractor in its military facility in northeast Syria.

The development is also seen as Iran’s normalisation with Saudi Arabia and its increasing cordiality with Russia and China.