- CENTCOM confirmed on Sunday that an Ohio-class submarine had visited the Mediterranean Sea.
- Ohio-class submarines can be equipped with advanced ballistic or Tomahawk missiles.
- The submarine was photographed appearing to be sailing through Egypt’s Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
An Ohio-class submarine, a type of ship that can be equipped with advanced ballistic missiles or Tomahawk cruise missiles, has arrived in the Mediterranean as the United States continues to strengthen its defensive posture amid Israel’s war and Hamas.
CENTCOM, the Department of Defense’s combatant command with authority over U.S. forces in the Middle East and West and Central Asia, issued a photo Submarine Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, confirming its arrival in the region.
Disclosure of the submarine’s location is important because the location of ships is usually kept secret from security regions.
The CENTCOM photo appears to show the ship navigating the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal passes through Egypt, which borders Israel, and connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.
Representatives for CENTCOM did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Israeli media outlet Ynet reported that the newly deployed submarine in the region is the largest of 14 ballistic submarines controlled by the US Navy and is equipped with ballistic munitions. Insider was unable to independently verify the exact configuration of the weapons aboard the ship. Yet together, the fleet of two dozen nuclear-powered, capable submarines carry about half of all U.S. strategic thermonuclear warheads.
It remains unclear whether the submarine sailed to the region in response to new intelligence suggesting its use may be necessary or whether the move was previously planned as part of the United States’ current defensive military posture in the Middle East.
The submarine’s deployment coincided with high-level diplomatic visits by Anthony Blinken to the region, during which the US secretary of state met with senior Israeli leaders, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as officials from Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon and Qatar.
Last month, the Pentagon sent two U.S. 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 deployed significant US firepower in waters near Israel, amid growing fears that the war between the country and the Gaza-based militant group Hamas could escalate into a regional conflict.
The massive display of American firepower in support of one of the country’s closest allies is intended, military officials say, to have a deterrent effect on hostile forces, including those of Iran, which has provided financial and strategic support for Hamas, as well as Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon.