US Navy moves fifth guided missile destroyer toward Syria

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55), which sailed from Naval Station Norfolk on Aug 18, will join the USS Barry (DDG-52), USS Ramage (DDG-61), USS Mahan (DDG-72) and USS Gravely (DDG-107) in the Sixth Fleet OPAREA, poised for cruise missile strikes against Syria.

Fifth U.S. Destroyer Moves Closer to Syria

The guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) departs Naval Station Norfolk for deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet on Aug. 18, 2013. US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy is moving a fifth Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer closer to Syria, according to information from the U.S. Navy to USNI News.

USS Stout (DDG-55) departed from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on Aug. 18 on a regular deployment and will join four other destroyers in the region.

USS Mahan (DDG-72) was slated to leave the region and be replaced by USS Ramage (DDG-61) for a ballistic missile defense (BMD) patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. Now both ships, along with USS Barry (DDG-52) and USS Gravely (DDG-107) will remain in the region.

All five destroyers are capable of intercepting ballistic missiles as well as launching land attack missiles.

In addition to the DDGs there are likely a unknown submarines capable of firing Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM). Press reports have indicated at least one U.K. Royal Navy submarine in the region. U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class (SSN-688) and Virginia-class (SSN-744) are capable of firing TLAMS.

It is also unknown is any of the service’s guided missile submarines (SSGN) are in the region. The SSGNs are capable of fielding 154 TLAMs.

The U.S. preliminary assessment of an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack holds the regime of Bashar al-Assad responsible for the deaths of 1,429 people.

“The United States says it has ‘intelligence that leads us to assess that Syrian chemical weapons personnel … were preparing chemical weapons munitions prior to’ what Washington believes was a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21,” according to a Friday repot from CNN.

“ ‘In the three days prior to the attack, we collected streams of human, signals and geospatial intelligence that reveal regime activities that we assess were associated with preparations for a chemical weapons attack,’ the U.S. government said in its assessment released Friday.”

US Navy moves ships within striking rage of Syria

The US Navy has moved four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers within striking distance of Syria. The Mahan, Gravely, Barry and Ramage are equipped with the Mk 41 VLS that can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. The Block IV TLAM-E has a range of 900 nautical miles (1000 statute miles, 1600 km) and can strike Syrian military targets with precision.

US prepares to carry out military action against Syria

The US Navy has positioned its four destroyers near Syria, in preparation of carrying out military action against the war-torn country, according to a defence official.

The move follows the massive chemical attack by the Syria Government on rebels and civilians near Damascus, which killed hundreds of people.

The Washington Times has quoted an official as saying that the vessels USS Mahan, USS Gravely, USS Barry and USS Ramage, each equipped with up to 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles, are positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama had met top national security advisors and ordered the intelligence community to gather facts and evidence to determine what occurred in Syria.

Meanwhile, the Syria Government has allowed the United Nations chemical weapons experts to examine the recent suspected chemical weapon attack allegations near Damascus, the capital of Syria.

The Syrian state news agency SANA quoted the country’s Information Minister Omran Zoabi as saying, to Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV, that “US military intervention will create a very serious fallout and a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East.”