The Fleet’s New Game-Changer
I have to give the US Navy some rare credit. They have deployed an amazing capability with the new Ohio class SSGN boats in a short time, and they didn’t have to strain the budget to get them, since they are “off the shelf”. Here is Mark Thompson at Time:
That’s why alarm bells would have sounded in Beijing June 28 when the Tomahawk-laden 560-foot USS Ohio popped up in the Philippines’ Subic Bay. More alarms likely were sounded when the USS Michigan arrived in Pusan, South Korea, the same day. And the klaxons would have maxed out as the USS Florida surfaced the same day at the joint U.S.-British naval base at Diego Garcia, a flyspeck of an island in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese military awoke to find as many as 462 additional Tomahawks deployed by the U.S. in its neighborhood. “There’s been a decision to bolster our forces in the Pacific,” says Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “There is no doubt that China will stand up and take notice.”
This is an interesting development since normally you only hear such talk in reference to the fleet of giant Nimitz class supercarriers. Now, instead of the President asking “where are the carriers” you have China questioning “where are the missile firing submarines”. The problem for Beijing being-they could be most anywhere, popping up where they are least expected.
Last month, the Navy had announced that all four of the Tomahawk Tridents were operationally deployed away from their home ports for the first time. Each vessel packs “the firepower of multiple surface ships,” says Capt. Tracy Howard, commander, Submarine Squadron 16 in Kings Bay, Ga., and can “respond to diverse threats on short notice.”
To me this signifies a profound moment in naval history. Those worried over the declining number of giant flattops should consider the immense capability of these mighty stealth vessels, which likely could take on the PLAN single-handily and be a threat to Chinese bases on shore, with a battery of 616 precision guided weapons.