Japan’s newest submarine which has stealth features and can remain submerged longer than comparable foreign submarines, was floated today at a shipyard in Kobe.
“On October 14, Defense Minister Kishi visited Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe Shipyard and attended the naming ceremony of the new submarine 29SS. She was named “Taigei” meaning “large whale,” the Japanese Ministry of Defence Tweeted.
The first vessel in the advanced Taigei-class category, the submarine is built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. It is scheduled to go into service in March 2022, becoming the 22nd vessel in the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (MSDF) submarine fleet.
The MSDF has set a goal of increasing the number of its submarines from 16 to 22 Under its 2010 National Defense Program Guidelines which also includes expanding its surface warships fleets and naval aviation.
Japan is preparing to counter increasing activities by China and North Korea in waters near Japan, especially around a group of Japan-administered islands claimed by China in the East China Sea.
The “Taigei” measures 84 meters in length and 9.1 meters in width and cost around ¥76 billion ($720 million) to build, according to the MSDF.
The submarine, which can accommodate a crew of 70, has a stealth-like design and is equipped with lithium-ion batteries so that it can remain underwater longer than previous models, it also said.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and MSDF Chief of Staff Hiroshi Yamamura, attended a ceremony held at Mitsubishi Heavy’s Kobe Shipyard in Hyogo Prefecture.
Japan currently operates nine 2,750-ton Oyashio-class submarines and 11 2,950-ton Soryu-class warships, and is planning to introduce a 12th Soryu-class sub next year.
The Taigei will be the first in the new Taigei-class category following the Oyashio and Soryu.