Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, not shown, escorts the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) in the Strait of Hormuz, Dec. 21, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Indra Beaufort)

Ohio-class submarines are best known for their ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles.

Basically, draw a 1,000 miles circle around the boat’s location and any suitable targets that lay inside of it are potentially within reach.

That message — that the USS Georgia could unleash a deadly salvo at any moment — has obviously been telegraphed to Tehran and its regional proxies with the rare public announcement that the US nuclear-powered submarine has been sent to the Persian Gulf, Joseph Trevithick of The War Zone reported.

Georgia passed through the highly strategic Strait of Hormuz on Dec. 21, 2020, accompanied by two Ticonderoga class cruisers, USS Port Royal and USS Philippine Sea.

This is the first time one of these boats has sailed into that body of water in eight years.

This trio traveled into the Persian Gulf following the movement of the supercarrier USS Nimitz, and elements of its carrier strike group, further south in the Arabian Sea to support Operation Octave Quartz, the repositioning of the bulk of US forces out of Somalia, War Zone reported.

The USS Georgia’s diverse capabilities give the Navy a powerful tool to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions along the Iranian coastline. Credit: US Navy photo.

“USS Georgia (SSGN 729) is supporting routine maritime security operations in the region,” Navy Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a spokesperson for the US 5th Fleet, which oversees the service’s operations in and around the Middle East, as well as in parts of the Indian Ocean, told War Zone.

“The US Navy, alongside our partners, maintain a constant state of vigilance to ensure the critical waterways remain safe for the free flow of commerce.”

The Strait has been described as the most important choke point for the world’s oil supply — a disaster here could have far-reaching economic and political implications.

Now that it is in the Persian Gulf, Georgia‘s diverse capabilities give the Navy a powerful tool to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions along the Iranian coastline, as well as throughout the rest of the body of water, while remaining largely hidden from potential adversaries, War Zone reported.

Should a conflict arise, Georgia could engage a wide array of targets with Tomahawks, including ones deep inside Iran or those belonging to Iranian proxies, while remaining better protected below the waves.

The submarine could also launch special operations teams to conduct raids, gather intelligence, or conduct other missions ashore, as well.

Georgia‘s public arrival in the Persian Gulf comes amid a spike in tensions between the United States and Iran, as well as Tehran’s regional proxies. 

On Sunday Iranian-backed militias in Iraq launched rockets at the sprawling Green Zone in Baghdad, which contains the US Embassy, as well as various Iraqi government buildings, killing at least one innocent bystander, War Zone reported. 

The one-year anniversary of the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad by a US drone strike, is also fast approaching. Suleimani was killed on January 3, prompting vows of revenge from the Iranian administration.

Friction has also been heightened in recent weeks following the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November, which Iranian authorities have blamed on Israeli operatives.

Since then, the Air Force has also sent B-52 bombers on two separate long-range round-trip sorties to the Middle East, War Zone reported.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Fakhrizadeh said Iran’s first priority after the killing was the “definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.”

“We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” President Hassan Rouhani said.