The USS Michigan, a nuclear submarine known for carrying special-ops teams, arrived in the South Korean city of Busan for what the Navy called a routine port visit last Friday, as tensions between the US and North Korea remain high.
The Michigan is an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, one of four such US subs designated SSGNs.
In April, the last time the Michigan was in Busan, South Korean media reported it was carrying SEALs to train with South Korean forces to take out the North’s nuclear command structure and leader Kim Jong Un, though the US military has said that it does not train for attempts at regime change.
The Michigan used to carry nuclear missiles but is now outfitted with Tomahawk precision-guided missiles.
Here’s what it can do.
It's 170 metres long and 12 metres wide. It also weighs 16,764 metric tons when surfaced and 18,750 metric tons when submerged.
Its S8G PWR nuclear reactor powers two geared turbines that push the sub through the water at 22km/h when surfaced and 37km/h when submerged.
It was built to carry Trident C-4 missiles but was converted into a guided-missile submarine on June 11, 2007.
The Michigan has 22 tubes that each hold seven Tomahawk missiles, meaning the ship can carry a maximum of 154 Tomahawks.
The Michigan is also known for carrying special-ops teams, and when it arrived in Busan last Friday, it appeared to have silos for US Navy Seal submarines, as seen in the picture below.
Below is one such Navy SEAL submarine, known as a SEAL Delivery Vehicle, seen from the back of Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia during a 2012 training exercise.
Here is SEAL Delivery Team 1 surfacing in its SEAL Delivery Vehicle and swimming back to the Michigan in the Pacific Ocean in 2012.
The Michigan can hold up to 66 special operators, and its crew may train to insert such forces while off the Korean Peninsula.
The Michigan has an unlimited travel range and has been successfully tested at more than 240 metres in depth.
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