Wednesday 8 February 2023
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PoliticsWorldHow US submarine went undetected while visiting Indian Ocean

How US submarine went undetected while visiting Indian Ocean

An official of the US Navy said that a standard stealthy submarine patrol lasted for 10 to 12 weeks, extendable by many weeks by switching out the crew

Its allies, as well as adversaries, were surprised when in a rare move, the US military informed them about the docking of a nuclear-powered ballistic missile for the first time at the remote island of Diego Garcia, located in the Indian Ocean, as part of the months-long deployment. The US Navy revealed in its message that the USS West Virginia‘s docking in the Indian Ocean and its visit to the port from 25 to 31 October. The question is how no other country came to know of the arrival of the US at Diego Garcia.

Why nobody came to know about the until announced

That is because submarines’ specific movements undersea remain highly classified. The US needed the time to transit to a different location in the Indian Ocean because of the delayed announcement.

According to a military official, the importance of publicising the USS West Virginia‘s port call now is to relay a message to its potential allies as well as adversaries. “They should take from this that a ballistic missile which is undetectable can operate in any ocean for an extended period,” said the official.

The US, as well as British forces, use Diego Garcia, a highly militarised island, located in the south of the equator. The remote location of the nuclear-missile-equipped helped it in ensuring that outsiders could not notice the 150-person crew and the operations of the watercraft remained a secret, allowing it to dock in the region for a longer duration.

The official did not explain whether the US was giving a message to Russia, North Korea or China, but it is common knowledge that the US submarines’ underwater stealth is critical to collecting highly classified signals intelligence related to adversaries along with providing sea-based nuclear deterrence with the presence of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In a statement, Commander of US Strategic Command Admiral Charles Richard said: “Every operational plan rests on the assumption that nuclear deterrence is holding, and (ballistic missile submarines) like West Virginia are vital to a credible nuclear deterrence for the United States and our allies.”

The official said that a standard patrol lasted for 10 to 12 weeks and it could be extended by many weeks by switching out the crew.

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