USS Michigan, an Ohio-class guided missile submarine, has reached South Korea’s Busan port. Although the submarine is reportedly on a “routine deployment,” it may have been deployed as a show of force to North Korea. Amidst rising tensions in the region, the advanced submarine with precision strike capabilities will remain in the port for “hull check,” confirmed military sources.
The USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered Ohio class submarine with a slew of precision-guided Tomahawk cruise missiles, has reached Busan, a bustling port in South Korea. Although the submarine, which was originally designed to safely carry and launch nuclear missiles, is expected to make a routine port call, the timing indicates it may have been deployed in the region to act as subtle but powerful statement to North Korea.
According to Fox News, which confirmed the deployment, as well as the scheduled arrival of USS Michigan in Busan, the Ohio-class submarine will initially make a port call to the South Korean port city and then will head to the Sea of Japan. The sub will reportedly join the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group for advanced naval exercises. The official description of these exercises hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the aircraft carrier is currently in the Philippine Sea. Moreover, the U.S. Navy vessels will be joined by those belonging to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Together, the two forces are expected to travel north to the Korean peninsula.
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When asked about the deployment of USS Michigan, Lieutenant Commander Matt Knight with U.S. Pacific Fleet, said, “U.S. Navy ships and submarines routinely make port calls in a variety of locations. As a matter of routine, we do not discuss future operations or the details regarding the operations of our submarines. USS Michigan is currently on a routine deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.” The Lt. Commander had previously mentioned that the submarine was “on an independent deployment.”
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Once designed to deliver a nuclear payload, the converted ballistic missile tubes in USS Michigan can hold as many as 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. However, it may be currently stacking about two dozen of the precision missiles. Part of the land attack and SOF (Special Operation Forces) platform, USS Michigan is one of four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines. The four submarines can collectively haul and fire up to 616 Tomahawk missiles. These submarines are manned by more than 250 specially trained marine forces that include the elite and deadly Navy SEALs.
Currently ruled by Kim Jong Um’s dictatorship, North Korea recently demonstrated several new missile systems and configurations at a military parade. Although the country claims to possess several powerful missile technologies, they haven’t been independently verified, and their strike capabilities have not been proven yet. However, the lack of credible and verifiable information hasn’t stopped the country from hinting at long range strike capabilities. The military parade was held on April 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung. Interestingly, North Korea’s calendar lists the current year as Year 106 because it reportedly started on the day the Kim Il-sung was born.
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Military experts on North Korea have predicted that the tiny country may choose to carry out its sixth underground nuclear test soon. Its current leader has reportedly threatened North America several times through the tightly controlled regional news publications. Hence, the USS Michigan could be on a routine mission, but its presence in the Korean peninsula may be a show of force.
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