The Pentagon deployed the nuclear-powered USS Florida attack submarine to the Persian Gulf region as the US makes a show of force as a deterrent to Iran, according to US defense officials.
The Florida’s arrival was confirmed by the officials after the US Central Command posted on X, formerly Twitter, about an “Ohio-class” submarine in the region without specifying whether it was of the type that carries nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.
The Florida, though nuclear powered, doesn’t carry nuclear weapons. It is one of four US Navy submarines converted from carrying sea-launched nuclear missiles to Tomahawk land-attack weapons and commandos.
The Florida’s arrival intensifies the Defense Departments’ efforts to dissuade Iran from carrying out what it says are proxy attacks on Israel, or more attacks on American forces in Iraq and Syria.
The Florida can carry as many as 154 Tomahawk missiles or as many as 66 Navy SEAL commandos, who can clandestinely leave the vessel through forward bow compartments.
Its deployment to the Persian Gulf is at least its second this year. The Navy in April released a photograph of the Florida cruising through the Suez Canal en route to the Red Sea after a Mediterranean deployment.
Two US carrier strike groups — the USS Gerald R. Ford and Dwight D. Eisenhower — are in the eastern Mediterranean, and last week conducted joint operations including missile defenses and operating each other’s aircraft off their decks.
Separately, the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf announced last week that it conducted in late October its first-ever launch of a weapon from one of the unmanned drones in its Task Force 59, which now patrols the gulf via remote control.