TOKYO (Sputnik) – The 18,000-metric ton USS Michigan is equipped with 154 Tomahawk missiles that are capable of hitting targets that are up to 1,400 miles away.
Following the submarine, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier will also be dispatched to South Korea next week, Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.
The United States is building up its military presence in South Korea amid the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests, which were conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Duringthe course of the escalating crisis, North Korea has been trading threats with Washington. In his first-ever address to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend the United States or its allies. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a statement, warning Washington of the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" in response to Trump's remark.
Hit by a wide array of UN-imposed sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, Pyongyang justifies its effort by the need to have a strong deterrence against the United States and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.
Washington, for its part, is considering redeploying tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea, breaking away from the doctrine of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo “discussed the option” of putting nuclear weapons in the country during their meeting in Washington in September.
The USS Michigan, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarine, is one of the 18 subs active with the US Navy that can be armed with 24 Trident I and Trident II ballistic missiles. Each Trident I can carry up to eight 100-kiloton warheads, while the Trident II carries 14, or eight warheads capable of frightening 475-kiloton detonations. For comparison's sake, the bomb that devastated Hiroshima, Japan in 1945 delivered only a 12-18 kiloton blast.