Head of U.S. Central Command visits West Virginia nuclear submarine

Head of U.S. Central Command visits West Virginia nuclear submarine

The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East visited a U.S. ballistic missile submarine in the Arabian Sea.

This rare move drew attention to U.S. submarine nuclear capabilities at a time of tension with Iran and Russia.

Gen. Eric Kurilla was taken to the submarine West Virginia and spent about eight hours aboard it while the submarine was on the surface in unspecified international waters.

“West Virginia” is one of the Navy’s long-range Ohio-class submarines known as “boomers.”

They are stealthy and, as one part of the U.S. nuclear triad, can conduct nuclear missile strikes and are considered a key strategic deterrent.

The U.S. rarely discloses the location of its nuclear submarines, and they do not often patrol in the Middle East.

In a statement, U.S. Central Command noted that the submarine Kurilla met with U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper.

The report said that a “hands-on demonstration of the vessel’s capabilities” was arranged for Kurilla.

The unusual visit to the submarine by the head of the Central Command came amid threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons as his troops lose territory in the war in Ukraine.

At the same time, Iran, which is part of the Central Command’s area of responsibility, has become more involved in this war by supplying Russia with drones, which it uses to launch strikes in Ukraine.