Japan commissions first new Taigei-class diesel-electric attack submarine

The JS Taigei (SS 513) during its first operational cruise. Photo c/o JMSDF.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) has commissioned its first new Taigei-class diese-electric attack submarine.

The submarine, named JS Taigei (SS 513), was formally commissioned during ceremonies held on 9 March 2022 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Kobe Shipyard.

“Taigei” means Great Whale in Nihonggo, with the lead submarine launched on 14 October 2020.

The new submarine will be assigned with the JMSDF’s Escort Division 4 homeported at Yokosuka Naval Base.

The main feature of this new submarine class is the use of lithium-ion batteries from Kyoto-based company GS Yuasa, replacing lead-acid batteries used in previous diesel-electric submarine models. 

It also features an improved and more compact electricity storage and supply system, allowing a longer time underwater without increasing the physical size of the submarine.

The submarine also has a new Combat Management System (CMS), an enhanced snorkel system with reduced cross-section signatures, and a new generation sonar system using fiber-optic array technology.

The Taigei-class will also use the JMSDF’s latest torpedo, the Type 18 which features improvements in propulsion, guidance system and data processing compared to the older Type 89 torpedo. It can also fire the UGM-84L Harpoon Block II submarine-launched anti-ship missile, which is also capable for use as a land attack munition.

The JMSDF is expected to have a total of 6 Taigei-class submarines, although there is a potential for the Japanese Government to increase these numbers depending on the security situation and policy of the country.

The second ship of the class, the Hakugei (SS 514) was launched by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) in October 2021, and is scheduled to be commissioned with the JMSDF by March 2023. Funding has also been allocated for 4 more submarines, two of which would constructed by MHI and the other two by KHI.

Standard dimensions include a displacement of 3,000 tons, length of 84 meters, a width of 9.1 meters, and a crew of 70 officers and sailors. 

[1] Naval News

[2] The Diplomat

Japan commissions first new Taigei-class diesel-electric attack submarine  Japan commissions first new Taigei-class diesel-electric attack submarine Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on March 15, 2022 Rating: 5

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