The “unbreakable bond” comes on the tail end of the NATO summit in Madrid where alliance members pledged closer ties and cooperation in the face of Russian hostility. HMNB Clyde is home to Britain’s own deterrent in the form of the Trident nuclear missile-carrying Vanguard-class submarines, in addition to Astute-class attack submarines, as well as a fleet of smaller surface vessels.
Joining the USS Rhode Island at the base near Glasgow, the USS Georgia has been seen coasting along the Gare Loch.
The USS Georgia is distinctive due to its unique underwater launch system hump on the deck of the submarine.
Like the USS Rhode Island, it is an Ohio-class submarine.
Unlike the Rhode Island, however, she was converted to a cruise missile submarine from a ballistic missile submarine.
The arrival of the submarine into Faslane is a routine visit, yet sends a clear message of unity between the NATO members.
Speaking of the visit, a US Navy statement said: “This port visit to Faslane reflects the United States’ commitment to our allies and partners in the region and complements the many exercises, training, operations, and other military cooperation activities conducted by Strategic Forces to ensure they are available and ready to safely and effectively operate around the globe at any time.
“This port visit strengthens the US / UK cooperation and Rhode Island’s forward presence demonstrates our capability, flexibility, and continued commitment to NATO allies.”
The last visit to Faslane by a US submarine came in 2019 when the USS Alaska docked at the port in July.
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The unique underwater launch system is a drydock for the “SEAL delivery system”.
The SDV is a manned submersible and a type of swimmer delivery vehicle used to deliver United States Navy SEALs and their equipment for special operations missions.
It is also operated by the Royal Navy’s Special Boat Service, which operates three SDVs from Astute-class submarines.
The SDV, which has been in continuous service since 1983, is used primarily for covert or clandestine missions to denied access areas.
It is generally deployed from the Dry Deck Shelter on a specially-modified submarine, although it can also be launched from surface ships or land. It has seen combat in the Gulf War, Iraq War, and the US intervention in Somalia.
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In April, a French Rubis-class submarine was also seen approaching the naval base as it passed Kilcreggan.
The French Navy operates six Rubis Amethyste class attack submarines from the naval base in Toulon. The submarines, built at the Cherbourg Naval Dockyard of DCN, are the Rubis S601 commissioned in 1983.
According to Global Firepower, China holds the world’s largest fleet of submarines with 79 vessels at its disposal.
The United States is second with 68, followed closely by Russia with 64.
Britain is tied with Greece and Columbia with 11 units, although, not all nations have nuclear fuelled or nuclear deterrent vessels.
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