US submarine appearance off Subic just routine — DND spokesman

May 16, 2012 9:45 pm 

MANILA, May 16 — Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Dr. Peter Paul Reuben Galvez on Wednesday said there is nothing out of the ordinary with a US nuclear submarine surfacing and making a port call in the Philippines.

"It is just a regular port call of foreign warship. In fact, their request to dock at Subic Bay, was made last April 3, more than a month in advance," he said.

The USS North Carolina (SSN-777), a Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, arrived in the country last May 13 for restocking and is expected to leave by May 19.

As a matter of course, warships of friendly countries with ties to the Philippines, can make a port call anytime as long as it is approved by the responsible government agencies.

Galvez said the visit of the USS North Carolina is in no way connected to the ongoing maritime stand-off between the Philippines and China regarding ownership of Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

USS North Carolina is the fifth ship of the United States Navy named for the 12th state. This class of submarine is unique as it features a photonics mast program (PMP) that freed ship designers to place the boat's control room in a lower, less geometrically-constrained space than would be required by a standard, optical tube periscope.

It is additionally unique in the U.S. Navy for featuring all-digital ship and ballast control systems that are manned by relatively senior watch standers and a pressure chamber to deploy SEAL divers while being submerged.

It is also fitted with 12 vertical launch system for firing BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and four 533mm torpedo tubes. (PNA) DCT/lgi/PFN

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