- CENTCOM on Sunday confirmed an Ohio-class submarine has traveled to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Ohio-class submarines can be equipped with advanced ballistic or Tomahawk missiles.
- The sub was pictured appearing to sail through the Suez Canal in Egypt, which connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
An Ohio-class submarine, a type of vessel which can be equipped with advanced ballistic or Tomahawk cruise missiles, has arrived in the Mediterranean as the US continues to bolster its defensive posture amid the Israel-Hamas war.
CENTCOM, the Department of Defense combatant command with authority over US forces in the Middle East and West and Central Asia, posted a photo on Sunday of the submarine on X, formerly Twitter, confirming it had arrived in the region.
The disclosure of the submarine’s location is significant as the whereabouts of the vessels are typically kept secret for security regions.
The CENTCOM photo appears to show the vessel sailing through the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal passes through Egypt, which borders Israel, and connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
—U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 5, 2023
Representatives of CENTCOM did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Israel news outlet Ynet reported the submarine newly deployed in the region is the largest of the 14 ballistic submarines controlled by the US Navy and comes equipped with ballistic munitions. Insider was unable to independently verify the exact weapon configuration aboard the vessel. Still, together, the fleet of two dozen nuclear-powered and capable submarines carries about half of all US strategic thermonuclear warheads.
It remains unclear whether the submarine set sail to the region in response to new intelligence suggesting its use might be necessary or if the move was previously planned as part of the US’s current defensive military posture in the Middle East.
The sub’s deployment coincided with high-level diplomatic visits from Anthony Blinken to the area, where the US Secretary of State met with senior Israeli leadership, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and officials from Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon, and Qatar.
Last month, the Pentagon dispatched two US Navy carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean — the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group. The maneuvers delivered a significant amount of American firepower to the waters near Israel amid mounting fears that the country’s war with the Gaza-based militant group, Hamas, could escalate into a regional conflict.
The massive display of US firepower in support of one of the country’s closest allies is, according to military officials, meant to act as a deterrent to hostile forces, including those in Iran, which has provided financial and strategic support to Hamas, as well as Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon.