A US Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine was damaged after striking an object in an underwater collision



The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut

The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut. US Navy

  • A US Navy nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine struck an object underwater in the Indo-Pacific earlier this month.

  • The Seawolf-class submarine USS Connecticut was damaged, and an unknown number of sailors were injured.

  • The incident is under investigation.

A US Navy nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine was involved in an underwater collision with an object earlier this month, the service said in a statement Thursday. The submarine was damaged and an unspecified number of sailors were injured.

US Pacific Fleet said “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 submarine collision was first reported by USNI News.

PACFLEET declined to say what the submarine collided with during the incident, only telling Insider that the incident is under investigation. An official told Navy Times, though, that the topography of the area did not indicate the presence of a land mass in the submarine’s path.

Additionally, there are reportedly no indications the collision was hostile or involved some other vessel.

PACFLEET also declined to say exactly where the collision occurred, but US officials told Fox News that it happened in the South China Sea.

The Navy reports that the submarine is in safe and stable condition, that the nuclear propulsion plant and associated spaces were not affected, and that there were no life threatening injuries. The injuries, an official told Navy Times, were mainly “bumps, bruises, and lacerations.”

Concerning the damages to the submarine, “the extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed,” PACFLEET said.

USS Connecticut, which is based out of Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton in Washington, deployed to the Pacific in late May. Navy Times reported that the damaged submarine will be arriving in Guam on Thursday.

A damaged submarine typically must travel on the surface to protect a damaged hull that could be stressed, possibly to the point of implosion, underwater. It is unclear if Connecticut is still fit to submerge.

USS Connecticut is one of only three Seawolf-class submarines and is widely considered to be among the US Navy’s most capable submarines. The powerful class of attack submarines was built toward the end of the Cold War to hunt down Soviet submarines in deep water, but in the aftermath, the Navy cancelled the costly Seawolf program.

Though the US Navy still operates its limited fleet of Seawolf-class submarines, which also includes USS Seawolf and USS Jimmy Carter, the service’s primary attack submarine is the Virginia-class submarine.

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