US Deploys Guided-Missile Submarine to Middle East Amid Iran Tensions

The US rarely reveals the location of its submarines

The US Navy has deployed a guided-missile submarine capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk missiles to the Middle East in a show of force amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, announced the deployment on Saturday. “It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to US 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” he said.

The announcement is likely meant as a message to Iran as the US rarely reveals the location of its submarines. The 5th Fleet often sends vessels near Iran’s coast through the Strait of Hormuz. The US has previously deployed bombers on roundtrip flights to the Middle East when tensions are high with Iran.

The submarine deployment comes after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the US needed to start targeting Iran’s Quds Force, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, over attacks in Syria. The Pentagon said a drone that recently hit a US base in Syria and killed a contractor was of “Iranian origin” but provided no evidence for the claim.

Tensions are also soaring between Israel and Iran as Israeli airstrikes in Syria recently killed two IRGC members. Tehran has vowed revenge, and Western officials claimed to The New York Times that the IRGC might launch a drone attack against an Israeli-owned merchant vessel in the region.

Hawkins mentioned alleged threats from Iran when announcing the submarine deployment. “Recent events, including the strikes in Syria and public threats made by Iran against merchant vessels, prompted us to remind regional mariners to remain vigilant,” he said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.