A U.S. ballistic missile submarine made a stop in Guam on Saturday amid tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
The USS Nevada arrived at the Apra Harbor in Guam on Saturday, according to a statement from the Navy. The branch said the rare visit reflects the United States’ “commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, and complements the many exercises, operations, training, and military cooperation activities conducted by Strategic Forces to ensure they are available and ready to operate around the globe at any time.”
The USS Nevada is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine that is typically kept at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state. It serves as an undetectable launch platform for ballistic missiles.
The vessel provides the U.S. with its “most survivable leg of the nuclear triad,” according to the Navy. It carries 20 Trident ballistic missiles and is armed with dozens of nuclear warheads, CNN reported.
The vessel’s visit in Guam on Saturday was the first stop it made to the territory since 2016 and only the second announced visit it has made since the 1980s, according to CNN.
When one of the country’s ballistic missile submarines is set into motion it is typically kept a secret, according to CNN, which is why the network said it was rare for the USS Nevada to be photographed outside of its home port.
Because the vessel is nuclear-powered, it can reportedly function while being submerged for several months at a time.
The public USS Nevada visit comes amid tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, with the U.S. and China at odds over the self-rule of Taiwan, according to CNN. North Korea is also boosting its missile tests.
The USS Nevada visit can serve as a statement by the U.S., according to CNN, as both North Korea and China’s ballistic submarine efforts are far behind that of the U.S.