US defense official says Navy submarine deployed to Mideast is not carrying nukes.

A picture released November 5, 2023, apparently shows an Ohio-class submarine in the US Central Command area of responsibility. (US CENTCOM).

The Ohio-class submarine that US Central Command announced had sailed into Middle East waters yesterday is an SSGN, a guided missile submarine variant that is not capable of firing nuclear weapons, a defense official tells The Associated Press.

The official speaks on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The vessel was photographed as it transited the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, the defense official says.

Earlier today, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the submarine would provide “further support our deterrence efforts in the region.”

Although it is not unusual for a US submarine to transit the canal in Egypt, Central Command’s online statement acknowledging the location of an Ohio-class submarine is rare. There are Ohio-class submarines that can fire nuclear weapons known as SSBN, or ballistic missile submarine variants.