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Japan launches second Taigei-class sub Hakugei with Li-ion batteries

JS Hakugei
Photo: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) held a naming and launching ceremony on October 14 for Japan’s second Taigei-class air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine.

The new submarine has been named Hakugei (SS 514), which translates to white whale, and follows the launch of the lead unit, JS Taigei (SS 513) exactly a year before, on October 14, 2020.

Just like JS Taigei, which is expected to enter service sometime in 2022, JS Hakugei will start a testing campaign from KHI’s Kobe yard where it was launched. According to plans, Hakugei is expected to enter service in 2023.

Taigei-class boats feature the innovative lithium-ion batteries, which are capable of storing more energy and providing the submarines with the capability to remain submerged for longer periods of time.

Compared to their Soryu-class predecessors, Taigei boats will retain much of the design features of their predecessors with improvements in systems on board and the likely addition of pump-jet technology for propulsion. At an estimated 3,000 tons, Taigei-class boats will be 100 tons heavier than the Soryus.

The submarines are jointly built by KHI and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.