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U.S. Deploys One-Third of Pacific Submarine Fleet for Major Naval Exercise

Newsweek logo Newsweek 6/4/2021 Tom Batchelor
a ship in a body of water: In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Tuscon (SSN 770) transits the East Sea Monday, July 26, 2010 while leading a 13-ship formation. The United States is conducting a maritime readiness exercise in the Pacific. © Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam K. Thomas/U.S. Navy via Getty Images In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Tuscon (SSN 770) transits the East Sea Monday, July 26, 2010 while leading a 13-ship formation. The United States is conducting a maritime readiness exercise in the Pacific.

The U.S. navy is deploying a third of its Pacific submarine force as part of a major exercise to assess its combat readiness.

Exercise Agile Dagger 2021 kicked off on Thursday with deployments from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Submarines from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Bremerton, Washington; and San Diego will take part.

The U.S. Pacific Submarine Force comprises submarines that make fast attacks and those that can fire ballistic and guided missiles. The fleet is capable of engaging with other hostile submarines and surface ships, as well as carrying out precision strikes on land targets. It also offers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services for the U.S. military worldwide.

Among the vessels deployed is the U.S. Navy Seawolf-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine U.S.S. Connecticut, which has eight torpedo tubes and can hold up to 50 weapons in its torpedo room.

"The Pacific Submarine Force is always ready," said the commander of the Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon. "Exercise Agile Dagger 2021 allows us to test our capabilities and showcase our warfighters' ability to rapidly deploy armed submarines into the Pacific.

"Our Submarine Force ensures capabilities overmatch by sharpening warfighting capacity in this short notice exercise.

"Our unparalleled key to success in undersea dominance is the U.S. Navy Sailor. We have, and must continue to develop, the best trained Sailors; so we must test our ability to load out weapons and supplies for extended combat operations, deploying to multiple locations in the Pacific."

Later this year the U.S. navy will embark on what has been described as the biggest naval exercise in a generation.

Large Scale Exercise 2021 will see 25,000 personnel participate alongside aircraft carriers, submarines, military aircraft and unmanned vessels.

The Chinese navy began its own exercises on Wednesday, according to the state media outlet Global Times.

A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy flotilla comprising a guided-missile destroyer, guided-missile frigate Xiangtan and supply ship were said to have set sail via the Osumi Strait for exercises in the Pacific.

Last month, the U.S. Pacific fleet said it was closely tracking a Russian Navy surveillance ship that had been operating off the coast of Hawaii near a crucial American missile range.

The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) reported that the vessel off the coast of Kauai was the Russian Navy Vishnya-class auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship Kareliya.

The ship was operating just outside of U.S. territorial waters, around 13 nautical miles west of the island.

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