The nuclear-power Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) along with the guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG 73) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) transited the Strait of Hormuz entering the Arabian Gulf, December 21, a statement from the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs said.
Georgia’s presence in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s ability to sail and operate wherever international law allows.
As an inherently flexible maneuver force, capable of supporting routine and contingency operations, Georgia’s presence demonstrates the United States’ commitment to regional partners and maritime security with a full spectrum of capabilities to remain ready to defend against any threat at any time, the statement added.
SSGNs are one of the most versatile platforms in the fleet, equipped with superior communications capabilities and the ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. The platform can also be configured to host up to 66 Special Operations Forces.
The 5th Fleet AOO encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.
The vessels’ entrance into the area comes amid heightened tensions with Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blaming Iranian backed militias for a rocket attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad, on Sunday, CNN noted.
Some US officials have expressed concern that Iran may use the anniversary of the killing of General Qasem Solemani to carry out a strike on the US.
Eight rockets were fired into Baghdad’s International Zone on Sunday, causing damage to buildings and cars in a residential area near the US Embassy. The US Embassy compound suffered slight damage, but no embassy personnel were injured. The Iraqi military said one Iraqi soldier was injured when a rocket landed near a security checkpoint.