US deploys rarely seen nuclear sub while Putin holds war games in the Med

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A US Navy nuclear-powered submarine has made a rare appearance in a show of force this week.

The USS Tennessee ballistic submarine popped up in the Norwegian Sea on Tuesday and was accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser and two naval aircraft.

It’s thought the sub surfaced as a show of force after Russia sent a nuclear-powered submarine and naval fleet to Cuba.

It comes as the Kremlin plays war games in the Mediterranean Sea with its own show of force.

It what appears to be further sabre rattling from Putin, Moscow has deployed the missile cruiser Varyag in the Med to conduct drills and demonstrate his capability.

The 611ft-long warship simulated attacking an enemy ship, destroying a submarine, and destroying kamikaze drones and other airborne weaponry.

The Kremlin is projecting its maritime power by maintaining his Pacific Fleet flagship in the Mediterranean, calling at the Libyan port of Tobruk after taking part in a joint exercise with the Egyptian Navy.

Russian navy missile cruiser Varyag carries out drills in the Mediterranean Sea. June 2024.
Varyag has been carrying out drills in the Mediterranean (Picture: MOD/east2west news)
Russian navy missile cruiser Varyag carries out drills in the Mediterranean Sea. June 2024.
It simulated destroying a submarine and missiles (Picture: MOD/east2west news)

USS Tennessee can carry up to 20 Trident nuclear missiles and surfacing demonstrated ‘multi-domain readiness in action’, a spokesperson for the US 6th Fleet said on X.

One of the naval planes, an E-6B Mercury, took part in an operation off the coast of Norway on Sunday.

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said the flight ‘indicated forward operations with nuclear missile submarines’ – and described the USS Tennessee surfacing as ‘a blunt signal to Russia’.

The locations of nuclear submarines are rarely publicised by the US Navy, but since 2020 it has been making its presence known in the North Atlantic and other nearby seas much more often, Business Insider reports.

Russia is also often intentional when revealing the locations of its own nuclear submarines, including one of its Severodvinsk-class submarines which was spotted in Cuba earlier this month.

Russian navy missile cruiser Varyag carries out drills in the Mediterranean Sea. June 2024.
The drills have been seen as a show of power and a threat towards the West (Picture: MOD/east2west news)

The drills involving Varyag come amid high tension over Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Under international agreement, Putin can’t move the Varyag or other Pacific Fleet vessels to the Black Sea, despite the significant weakening of his Black Sea Fleet due to Ukrainian missile and kamikaze drone attacks.

NATO member Turkey under the Montreux Convention is restricting access to the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits for Russian warships.

‌The Varyag – which arrived in the Mediterranean in April – is expected to sail to Latin America as Putin seeks to show Russia as a world power challenging the West.

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