File photo shows USS Springfield.
The number of US submarines deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman has reached five with the dispatch of the USS Springfield (SSN-761) to the region.
The USS Columbia (SSN-771) is operating west of the Strait of Hormuz, which is a key oil transit route. The US has also stationed eight minesweeping ships in international waters of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
The United Kingdom has also deployed HMS Trenchant, a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine, to the Sea of Oman.
Financial woes in the United States have forced Washington to reduce its military presence in the Persian Gulf.
The news comes after the US administration was forced to sign into effect the spending cuts known as the sequester last Friday, which will take USD85 billion from the US federal budget in 2013.
About half of the cuts, or USD46 billion, will affect the US military sector, the most sensitive of which will be altering plans for the deployment of Pentagon’s naval assets.
While the Pentagon had been previously considering plans to assign two of its 10 aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf, the giant budgetary cuts have now forced the Department of Defense to deploy only one of those aircraft carriers to the region.