WASHINGTON — It may not be “far more powerful than the aircraft carrier” — as President Trump said in a recent interview, but a well-armed U.S. submarine has arrived in Korea.
The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine Michigan pulled in to the South Korean port of Busan Tuesday for what the U.S. Navy called a “routine visit.”
“During the visit sailors will experience the culture and history of the ROK [Republic of Korea], as well as foster outstanding relations between the U.S. Navy, ROK military and the local Busan community,” the U.S. Navy said in a press release.
But the arrival of the Michigan is a significant addition to U.S. naval forces gathering in the Sea of Japan and elsewhere off the Korean Peninsula in response to rising tensions in the area due to a series of ballistic missile tests carried out by North Korea. The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its strike group, now accompanied by two Japanese destroyers, also is expected to reach the area in a day or so.
The Michigan may have been what Trump was referring to April 11 when, in an interview with the Fox Business Network, he described US forces heading for the region.
“We are sending an armada, very powerful,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo. “We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”
The Michigan is one of four missile and special operations submarines converted from Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, designated SSGN. While they no longer carry ballistic missiles, the SSGNs carry up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other weapons and gear in the former ballistic missile tubes.
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