[Photo] Periscope of U.S. submarine emerges next to UK aircraft carrier in Middle East waters

Released by the UK Ministry of Defense, this image shows the periscope of the American submarine USS Dallas cutting through the surface as UK aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious sails past.

Both units, along with RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Fort Austin and USS Bulkeley and the American Los Angeles Class took part in a joint ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) exercise in the waters of the Gulf.

The exercise foresaw three phases.

The sonar sonar environment of the warm and shallow waters of the Middle East is particularly challenging, hence, during the first one, ships and submarines tested acoustic and non-acoustics sensor performance against known positions, gaining useful real life data for the region.

The second phase saw ships escorting HMS Illustrious as the Mission Essential Unit (MEU) along a passage whilst evading detection and simulated torpedo attacks by the American submarine.

Finally, the Los Angeles class USS Dallas tried to locate and destroy RFA Fort Austin as the MEU, in a holding box which simulated an anchorage, as the UK and US naval ships provided protection.

The exercise, saw also Merlin, Seahawk and Lynx helicopter support to the ships.

Image credit: UK MoD

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. This pic is pure Bullshit. A sub in combat would not have a chance in hell to get that close. Not even for a quick hip shot. No carrier sails alone, they sail in groups of heavily armored escort ships whose duty it is to make sub commanders shit their pants. This pic is of a lot of things, but a US sub popping up for a gotcha ain’t one of them.

    • Calm down. I’m pretty sure this is just a PR shot, and there is no claim of how successful any of the participants were. All it says is, “took part in a joint ASW exercise”. Regardless of what the picture represents (PR or bragging rights), it is entirely plausible that, with a well trained crew, modern submarines are capable of getting even closer to targets than even this photo would suggest.
      That being said, modern subs do not need to get this close to make a “kill shot”. Supposedly, and to the horror of the top brass and those tasked with protecting the CSG, China has been able to get a few of their subs well within range of American carriers…and then surfacing while still undetected to prove the point.

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