The number of sightings of American nuclear submarines visiting Scotland this year has doubled over the same period last year.
We reported previously that while visits themselves are common, the frequency of visits is not common. Neither is it common for visits to be publicised by the U.S. Navy or Royal Navy unlike the visit of the USS Rhode Island, a Trident-armed nuclear submarine, that arrived (and departed) earlier this year.
In figures reported here, it is claimed that double the usual number of NATO submarines have been spotted heading to and from the key Faslane naval base.
“Sightings so far this year stand at 85 compared with 43 for the whole of 2021, and include a string of America’s most advanced Virginia-class fast-attack submarines.”
The U.S. Navy said previously that port visits to Faslane reflect 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”.
The last time a U.S. Navy SSBN like the USS Rhode Island conducted a port visit to Faslane was when USS Alaska (SSBN 732) visited in July 2019.
In a visit to BAE in Glasgow, where the Royal Navy’s new anti-submarine frigates are being constructed, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“The one thing Putin is going to have left after his illegal invasion is a navy and an air force. He uses his submarines, and they are good submarines, very well to intimidate. We’ve seen worries about critical national infrastructure, gas pipelines, internet cables. We need ships that are going to hunt those submarines or deter them, and that’s the role the ships are going to take.”
Russian submarines will “stay away” if they know a type 26 frigate is in the water, he added.