The US Pacific Fleet revealed that on October 2nd, the USS Connecticut struck an object underwater in the South China Sea.
Statement regarding #USSConnecticut (SSN 22):
The #USNavy Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine struck an object while submerged on Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. There are no life threatening injuries.
— U.S. Pacific Fleet (@USPacificFleet) October 7, 2021
The USS Connecticut is now limping back to port with “no life-threatening injuries” aboard. No damage to nuclear reactor.
The US submarine did not collide with another submarine.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational,” the statement said. “The incident will be investigated.” The US Navy did not specify the incident took place in the South China Sea, only that it occurred in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.
At the same time, the departmental publication USNI News reported that at least 11 sailors received minor and moderate injuries in the collision.
“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries,” Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”
The Connecticut was operating in the waters around the South China Sea as the US and its allies have been carrying out a major multinational show of force in the region led by the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group 21.
The ongoing operations saw exercises with ships from the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands, including three aircraft carriers, training in and around the South China Sea.
Connecticut is one of three Sea Wolf-class boats, a late Cold War attack submarine designed to hunt the most complex Soviet submarines in deep blue water. Along with USS Sea Wolf (SSN-21) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), Connecticut is among the Navy’s most capable and sensitive attack boats.
The last known instance where a submerged U.S. submarine struck another underwater object was in 2005. Then, USS San Franciso (SSN -711) struck an underwater mountain at full speed near Guam. One sailor died in the incident.
On October 2nd, 39 Chinese military aircraft, including fighter jets and transport aircraft, entered Taiwan’s ADIZ, causing the Taiwanese air force to scramble jets and deploy air defense missiles to monitor the aircraft. Two days later, China sent 56 aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ within 24 hours, the highest number since the self-governed island began publicly releasing such numbers last year.
“We are very concerned by the PRC’s provocative military activity near Taiwan,” US Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Paris on October 6th when asked about the Chinese activity. “As we said, the activity is destabilizing. It risks miscalculation and it has the potential to undermine regional peace and stability. So, we strongly urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion directed at Taiwan.”
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