A US Navy nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine has entered the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz in a move rarely made public by the service.
Ohio-class submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) entered the Persian Gulf along with the guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG 73) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) on December 21.
The navy said Georgia’s presence in the US 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) demonstrated its ability to sail and operate wherever international law allows. The announcement of the transit is widely seen as a message from Pentagon to Iran, and to regional allies.
The move also comes on the heels of a Sunday rocket attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad, which the US believes was carried out by Iranian backed militias. “The United States strongly condemns the latest attack by Iran-backed militias on the International Zone in Baghdad,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in response to the attack.
According to photos that the navy shared on December 21, Georgia is operating with a dry-deck shelter used for deploying special operations forces (SOF). The SSGNs can carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and can also be configured to host up to 66 SOF.
This is the first time in eight years that the navy has disclosed the operation of an Ohio-class submarine in the Persian Gulf. The last such confirmed operation was carried out by USS Florida in 2012.
It is worth noting that the carrier strike group centered around USS Nimitz is operating near the Gulf of Aden after conducting operations in the the Persian Gulf earlier this month.