US Beefs Up Middle East Presence With Guided-Missile Submarine Amid Tensions With Iran

Elliot Schaudt/U.S Navy Central Command/Handout via REUTERS

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
Font Size:

The U.S. Navy 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 U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” according to a statement by Commander Timothy Hawkins, Reuters cited. 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. servicemembers 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 U.S., U.K. and Israel, AP News noted. (RELATED: Iran Sending Hundreds Of Armed Drones To Russia)

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, the Wall Street Journal reported. U.S. intelligence indicates Iran was planning further attacks across the region, the outlet said.