A Navy nuclear-powered submarine made a first-ever port visit to the remote Faroe Islands this week, a signal to Moscow – and to U.S. allies – of the U.S. military’s ability to project power throughout the North Atlantic region.
The Virginia-class fast attack submarine Delaware arrived at the capital of the Faroe Islands, which are roughly midway between Iceland and Norway, for a scheduled port stop June 26, the Navy said in a statement.
The stopover for the sub at the self-governing island group, which is a part of Denmark, follows another U.S. submarine’s visit off nearby Iceland’s coast in April and comes amid worries from NATO countries over Russia’s underwater activities.
During a congressional hearing in April, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of U.S. European Command, told lawmakers that Russian submarines were actively patrolling the Atlantic, even in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
“Much of the Russian military has not been affected negatively by this conflict,” especially their undersea forces, Cavoli said.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported NATO launched a new center for protecting undersea pipelines and cables amid growing concern Russia may target such critical infrastructure.
Separately, the Faroe Islands government said it would be limiting considerably port access for Russian fishing vessels.
U.S. Navy submarines routinely patrol the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, but stopping at new ports means expanding options available in case of a future emergency.
“The Faroe Islands and the High North are vital areas for our submarine operations and we thank the Faroese and Danish people for allowing us to conduct this strategically important port visit,” Rear Adm. Stephen Mack from U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa said in the release. The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine Georgia conducted a brief stop for personnel at the capital of the Faroe Islands in August 2022, the release noted.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media