South China Sea feud sparks US navy panic as ‘most prized asset’ damaged | World | News

There are reports that the US Navy is considering scrapping the $3.5 billion nuclear-powered submarine after it crashed into an underwater mountain in October. The Sea Wolf submarines, which have been described by Military Watch Magazine as one of the “highest-valued assets” of the US Navy, are the most expensive submarines ever produced outside of France.

Only three of a planned 29 were ever built due to their extreme cost.

Each vehicle displaces 8,600 tons and carries 140 crew members, 50 cruise missiles and a series of torpedoes.

The US Navy says the ships are “quiet, fast, well armed and equipped with advanced sensors”.

The incident took place in the disputed South China Sea and led to the resignation of three senior officers.

US Navy officials said two sailors suffered moderate injuries and nine minor injuries, including bruises and scrapes.

After the incident, the submarine withdrew toward the port of Guam.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s most contentious and economically important waterways, making the US Navy crash particularly controversial.

For weeks, the cause of the incident had remained a mystery, with the US Navy initially saying the submarine had hit an “object” while submerged in international waters.

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Washington provided limited information, revealing only that the submarine was stable, there were no life-threatening injuries, and the nuclear systems on board had not been compromised.

However, the risk of fallout following damage to the nuclear-powered submarine is said to have led the US to deploy a so-called “nuke sniffer” aircraft to identify any leakage, despite the US denying any leakage. occurred.

A US Navy spokesman said of the incident: “The investigation has revealed that the USS Connecticut was grounded on an uncharted seabed while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.”

But Chinese officials responded to the statement, with spokesman Wang Wenbin saying: “The key is for the US military to stop sending warships and warplanes everywhere, show its military muscle and violate the security of other countries.

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“If not, these kinds of accidents will only happen more often.”

China has claimed ownership of nearly all of the South China Sea under its controversial “nine-dash line” and has built artificial islands and military outposts in recent years.

Also Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan each claim parts of the sea.

But in 2016, the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected China’s nine-bar line, ruling that Beijing had no historic title over the South China Sea.

The US has since been conducting ‘freedom of navigation’ operations in the sea to enforce navigation rights and freedoms in accordance with international law.

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