The Navy is investing in Guam through submarines and infrastructure, according to the commander of the Pacific submarine force, who said this week the service plans to have five fast-attack submarines stationed in the U.S. territory by the end of 2022.
“We are focused on the Pacific and increasing our posture there,” Rear Adm. Jeffrey Jablon said Thursday at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium.
As the Navy starts moving the subs to Guam, there will be increased infrastructure to support it, Jablon said.
There is a pier plan to support the Virginia-class Block 5 submarine that will eventually come to Guam in the future, Jablon said.
Not only is the submarine force expanding its presence on Guam, the Marine Corps and the Air Force are also advancing in the area, Jablon said.
The Navy is considering putting the Standard Missile-6 on Guam, the only weapon system that could have the capability to defend against hypersonic missiles.
“Investments are being made on Guam and they’re really impressive right now. We need to continue those investments because our focus is only going to continue to move the forces West,” he said.
Jablon also discussed the effectiveness of submarine-launched unmanned aerial vehicles in a communications-denied environment such as the South China sea and highlighted the Pacific force’s Submarine-Launched Unmanned Aerial System program as “very successful” in addressing the threat to secure communications.
“My vision is that a submarine launches an unmanned aerial vehicle, but then the submarine can go submerge, do the things it needs to do and come back up and talk to that aerial vehicle and get the information downloaded from that vehicle,” Jablon said. “I think that’s where we need to go with that concept, but we’re not there yet. If we could get there soon, that’d be great.”