An Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the USS Kentucky, arrived in Busan on Tuesday for the first visit of its kind in more than 40 years, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said, as Seoul and Washington step up efforts to deter nuclear threats from North Korea.
The 560-foot-long Kentucky is capable of launching up to 20 Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, which have a maximum range of around 7,500 miles. It has a displacement of 18,750 metric tons when submerged and is powered by a single nuclear reactor.
The visit by a U.S. Navy nuclear ballistic missile submarine, known as an SSBN, was announced in April as part of the Washington Declaration signed by U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol during a state visit to the White House.
In a press statement, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said the deployment “demonstrates through action that U.S. extended deterrence for South Korea will be firmly implemented.”
“We are demonstrating a strong U.S.-South Korea combined defense posture to our people and the international community,” he said.