This Photo Of A V-22 Osprey Hovering Over A Nuclear Submarine Is Crazy


Underwater shots rarely get colder than this. An image recently shared by our friend the @thenewwarea51 shows a Bell-Boeing CV-22 Osprey performing underwater logistics operations with a Ohio nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine, or SSGN.

Although the exact submarine depicted has not been confirmed, it is most likely the USS Georgia (SSGN-729).

Images published on social networks by United States Special Operations Command April 22 provide more clues about the submarine depicted and where the image might have been taken. These images come from an exercise that the 352d Special Operations Wing unfolded in the Eastern Mediterranean in December 2021 to test its ability to provide rapid infiltration and exfiltration capabilities to support a range of missions with an unidentified SSGN apparently identical to the USS Georgia. It therefore seems likely that the photo was taken in the moments before or after the special operators winch on or off the submarine.

Special operators winched onto an SSGN in the Mediterranean. (Credit: USSOCOM)

USS Georgia has been spotted in various European waters over the past few months. Last January, the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet released photos of the submarine near the Mediterranean island of Cyprus – no doubt in a deliberate attempt to bolster NATO’s visible presence in the region following Russian threats against Ukraine. She was also announced to be undergoing special operations training with Marines in Souda Bay, Greece on March 27.

BAY OF SOUDA (March 27, 2022) – The Ohio USS-class guided missile submarine Georgia (SSGN 729) near Souda Bay, Greece, while training with U.S. Marines from Task Force 61/2 (TF-61/2), conducting launch and recovery training with their lifeboat rubber combat, March 27, 2022. (US Marine Corps photo by Sgt Dylan Chagnon/Released)

After a passage off Gibraltar, which ended on April 22, it was speculated that the USS Georgia had returned to patrol the eastern Mediterranean.

With the sea whirlwind beneath the CV-22’s rotors, the image shows how exhilarating the operation must have been for the commandos involved. The Osprey is a particularly attractive option for accessing US nuclear submarines while on patrol.

The type’s range and speed allow it to go where helicopters can’t and do it faster, as needed. This could include performing medical evacuations, delivering small cargo, or moving special operations personnel on or off a submarine. The latter is particularly relevant to the Navy’s four SSGNs, which have a fundamental special operations mothership and command and control mission that you can read all about here.

Of course, the V-22s could carry other types of personnel. These kinds of strained human transfers were made famous by In search of red October, sure.

Hopefully the special operators aboard the Osprey had a far less hectic time than Jack Ryan during their transfer!

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