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US Navy says nuclear submarine USS Connecticut collided with seamount

USS Connecticut returns after hitting a seamount
USS Connecticut returns after hitting a seamount. Image: USNI

The USS Connecticut nuclear submarine collided with an unidentified object on October 2 in the South China Sea turned out to be a seamount, the US Navy said.

“Investigations revealed that USS Connecticut encountered an uncharted seamount during operations in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region,” the US Navy said in a statement.

The results of the investigation were sent for consideration to the commander of the US Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, who will then “determine the feasibility of subsequent actions, including prosecution.”

Earlier it was reported that the USS Connecticut nuclear submarine on October 2 collided with an unknown object in the South China Sea, resulting in extensive damage. The United States Naval Institute reported that the submarine’s ballast tanks in the submarine’s bow were damaged. American veteran submariner Aaron Amick also tweeted that the sub has lost the sonar section located in the bow.

The damaged submarine entered the base on the island of Guam in the western part of the Pacific Ocean on October 8. A group of military specialists arrived there to inspect the damage, establish its source and resolve the repair issue.

On October 28, at a meeting of the Congressional Armed Services Committee, Acting Under Secretary of the US Navy for Research, Development and Procurement, Jay Stephanie noted that the repair capacity of the base on Guam is limited. There is no dry dock in Guam to carry out repairs on the submarine, he said.

Earlier, the Hong Kong news site iNews reported that the American nuclear submarine USS Connecticut, which was damaged on October 2 during a mission in the South China Sea, most likely collided with an unknown Chinese underwater object.

According to him, after the incident, the satellite recorded the submarine on the surface on October 3, about 77 km from Yongxing Island, which is part of the Paracel archipelago in the South China Sea. The island was controlled by the People’s Republic of China in 1974. There is a Chinese submarine base and a military airfield.
It is assumed that the USS Connecticut submarine approached the island for reconnaissance, iNews notes. Submarines of this type and conducting combat operations are also designed to perform reconnaissance functions.

At the same time, it was noted that a collision with the underwater relief could hardly have occurred. The US Navy, which constantly operates in the South China Sea, knows it well. Most likely, the submarine collided with a Chinese artificial underwater object recently created near Yongxing Island to counter the approaching enemy forces, the newspaper said. The sea depth in the area of ​​the island is only about 300 meters.

According to the US Navy, as a result of the collision, which occurred in international waters off the South China Sea, 11 of the 130 crew members were injured. They received non-life-threatening injuries.

As pointed out by the US Navy, “the submarine is in a safe, stable condition after the incident.” It was also emphasized that its nuclear reactor was not damaged. After the incident, the submarine was forced to surface and go to Guam on the surface.

The US military reported that it was not about a collision with another submarine, a ship, or the aggressive actions of another country. The Navy noted that according to topographic data, there was also no collision with the underwater relief. They did not rule out that the submarine could collide with a sunken ship or a container that fell into the sea from a cargo ship.

The USS Connecticut, with a displacement of 7.5 thousand tons, is a fourth-generation multipurpose nuclear submarine of the Seawolf type. Its missile armament is up to 50 Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles, which are launched from torpedo tubes. In addition to combat missions, it also performs reconnaissance functions.

There are only three such submarines in the US Navy. They are all assigned to the Kitsap-Bremerton Pacific Submarine Base, Washington. The cost of each reaches $ 8.5 billion at current prices.

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