update deskMiddle East

US boosts Mideast presence with guided-missile submarine amid tensions with Iran

The USS Florida was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet to “help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” says U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman.

The Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) makes her way through Cumberland Sound to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, April 11, 2006. Credit: U.S. Navy/Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Lynn Friant via Wikimedia Commons.
The Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) makes her way through Cumberland Sound to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, April 11, 2006. Credit: U.S. Navy/Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Lynn Friant via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Navy has deployed a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine to the Middle East, officials confirmed Saturday.

The USS Florida “is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to [the] U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” said 5th Fleet spokesman Commander Timothy Hawkins in a statement cited by Reuters. The 5th Fleet is responsible for patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway through which 20% of all oil passes, the outlet noted.

The move follows a series of attacks in recent months by Iranian-backed militants on U.S. forces. In March, one American contractor was killed and five U.S. service members were injured in a drone strike on a U.S. base in Syria after U.S. Central Command conducted airstrikes against facilities used by an Iranian paramilitary group. U.S. officials confirmed the strike was carried out by a suicide drone launched by Iranian-backed militants in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Iran also stands accused of targeting oil tankers and commercial ships, according to allegations by the United States, United Kingdom and Israel, AP News noted.

Iran-aligned forces have carried out approximately 80 attacks against U.S. forces in the region since the start of 2021, prompting four retaliatory airstrikes from the Biden administration, the WSJ reported.

Movements of submarines are not often shared publicly unless the Pentagon aims to send a message, according to the WSJ. U.S. intelligence indicates Iran was planning further attacks across the region, the outlet said.

Originally published by the Daily Caller.

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