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Japan commissions lead Taigei-class submarine with Li-ion batteries

JS Taigei commissioning
Photo: Japan Maritime Self Defence Force

The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) commissioned its first Taigei-class submarine in a ceremony at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Kobe shipyard on March 9.

JS Taigei (SS 513), whose name translates to Great Whale, entered service after being launched and named in October 2020.

Taigei boats are Japan’s next-generation submarines that will succeed the Soryu-class. At an estimated 3,000 tons, the new boats will be 100 tons heavier than the Soryus.

The boats feature improvements in systems on board and the addition of pump-jet technology for propulsion. As previously reported, the Taigei-class will have a new type of sonar system with improved detection capabilities, and a new submarine combat management system (CMS).

Japan’s defense ministry earlier said that Taigei would be converted to a “test submarine” with the aim of obtaining a dedicated test submarine, accelerating research and development while at the same time ensuring more operational days for dedicated attack submarines.

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

The second submarine in the Taigei class, which is being built by MHI compatriot Kawasaki Heavy Industries, was launched in October 2021. Future JS Hakugei is expected to enter service in 2023 after completing a testing campaign at KHI’s Kobe yard.