In a recently released Military photograph, the USS Florida nuclear submarine was seen in the open waters of the Suez Canal, an artificial canal in Egypt that links the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea.
A spokesperson for the United States Navy announced on April 8 that a guided-missile submarine with the capacity to carry more than one hundred missiles had been sent to the Middle East. According to Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, the USS Florida, reached its destination on April 6 and started transiting the Suez Canal the following day.
Stationed in Kings Bay, Georgia, the Florida is a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine. It’s part of the U.S. 5th Fleet and can carry 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles.
Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from ships or submarines range up to 1,500 miles and have been used in high-profile conflicts such as the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the 2018 response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The 5th Fleet watches over the narrow opening of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world’s oil flows. The area stretches from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the direction of Yemen up to the Suez Canal in the Red Sea.
Conflict between Israel and Iran has been going on for years, and it recently increased when Tehran provided assault drones to Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Tehran has sought stronger relations with China in addition to growing ties with Moscow, and Beijing was the mediator in last month’s deal to reestablish diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel have all accused Iran of attacking oil tankers and commercial ships in recent years, a charge Tehran has consistently rejected. The United States Navy has recorded a series of uncomfortable interactions with Iranian soldiers at sea, who it claims were acting dangerously aggressively.
A representative for the Israeli Ministry of Defense confirmed over the weekend that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had spoken with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Iran is “the largest disruptive influence in the area,” the ministry said.