There was a time when US nuclear-armed submarines were never seen in public and never made public announcements of trips, but that has all changed in the last year.
The Pentagon has announced that one of the 14 Ohio-class submarines in the United States Navy will make a public tour to South Korea.
The previously top secret submarines were referred to as “boomers” because of their ability to go beneath the surface of the sea unnoticed and to dock at unknown locations.
The Nuclear Posture Review, a new initiative from the Biden administration, has increased the visibility of American Boomers across the globe.
⚡️BREAKING: A U.S. Navy Ohio Class Nuclear Submarine has embarked on its deployment to South Korea.— The Enforcer (@ItsTheEnforcer) May 4, 2023
This will be the first time in 40 years that a U.S. Nuclear Submarine will be docked in South Korea. It will arrive in ~14 days. https://t.co/z8MyOOBSX8 pic.twitter.com/wNr621z3e9
“We will work with Allies and partners to identify opportunities to increase the visibility of U.S. strategic assets to the region as a demonstration of U.S. resolve and commitment, including ballistic missile submarine port visits and strategic bomber missions,” it said.
The US Navy said on April 18 that the Ohio-class USS Maine had performed an on-surface logistical visit at the Guam naval station, days before the US-South Korea announcement.
Ronald O’Rourke, chief naval forces analyst for the Congressional Research Service, cited “unusual Navy actions late last year to publicize the presence” of nuclear-armed vessels “in the Arabian Sea, at Diego Garcia, at Gibraltar and in the Atlantic.”
He said it’s not clear whether the upcoming South Korea visit is part of such a new “public signaling strategy” or a one-time decision “reflecting circumstances specific to the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.”