US Boomer’s Guam Trip Tells China It ‘Can’t Do Much About 100 Nukes Parked on Doorstep’, Media Says
17:02 GMT 17.01.2022 (Updated: 17:04 GMT 17.01.2022)
© Photo : US NavyUSS Nevada missile sub in Guam port visit, January 2022.
© Photo : US Navy
A US Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile sub with 20 nuclear-armed Trident ballistic missiles onboard arrived in Guam on Saturday, with the sub’s port call the first to be so widely publicized since the embarrassing October 2021 incident which saw the USS Connecticut attack sub limp to Guam after colliding with a seamount in the South China Sea.
The USS Nevada ‘boomer’ missile sub’s port call in Guam sends a message to US adversaries about America’s reigning superiority in sea-based nuclear strike capability, analysts have told CNN.
“It sends a message – intended or not: we can park 100-odd nuclear warheads on your doorstep and you won’t even know it or be able to do much about it. And the reverse isn’t true and won’t be for a good while,” Thomas Shugart, a former sub captain-turned analyst at the Center for a New American Security, a neoconservative Washington-based think tank, told the news channel.
Alessio Patalano, a professor of war and strategy at King’s College London, suggested the port call provides “an important opportunity to learn how to hunt [the ballistic missile subs] of other actors in the region.”
“The DPRK (North Korea) is pursuing the development of such a type of platform, and China already fields them. Honing in the skills to track them is as important as deploying them as a strategic deterrent,” Patalano said. The professor expects US deployments of missile subs in the Indo Pacific to increase as regional tensions do.
The USS Nevada’s Guam jaunt is only the second publicized port call of its kind since the Cold War. The USS Pennsylvania, another Ohio-class ballistic missile sub, visited the Western Pacific island in 2016.
The Navy provided few details on the purpose of the visit, apart from a boilerplate statement that it “strengthens cooperation between the United States and allies in the region, demonstrating US capability, flexibility, readiness, and continuing commitment to Indo-Pacific regional security and stability.”
The #USNavy ballistic-missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam Jan. 15, reflecting the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) January 16, 2022
Read more 👉🏽 https://t.co/bzjPpYRQnH pic.twitter.com/N4YCdcizct
Ohio-class subs constitute the backbone of America’s sea-based nuclear force, consisting of 14 ballistic missile subs and four coverted to launch cruise missiles. Russia has 11 Borei and Delta-class ballistic missile subs in its arsenal, with the UK, France and India also operating this class of weapon. China has five Type 094 Jin-class ballistic missile subs and one Type 092 Xia-class boomer in its stock, while North Korea has a sole 8.24 Yonguan Sinpo-class experimental ballistic missile sub, which was launched in 2014.
21 October 2021, 13:29 GMT
Analysts in Washington remain confident that the US enjoys superiority over China’s boats in terms of noise levels.
China’s nuclear doctrine forbids the preemptive use of nukes. The US faces no such restrictions, with the 2018 Nuclear Posture strategy document allowing for American nuclear weapons to be used even against non-nuclear-armed adversaries and calling for the development of new micronukes. The Biden administration has hinted at plans to alter the US nuclear posture. However, Washington’s allies have reportedly pressured the president not to drop the threat of preemptive nuke strikes against China and Russia.
Earlier this month, Russia, the US, China, France and Britain issued a joint statement affirming that they believe “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and that their weapons are not targeting one another.
30 October 2021, 10:39 GMT