- Japan has taken delivery of its eighth Souryu-class submarine
- Delivery increases Japan's fleet of AIP-capable submarines, which feature better underwater endurance
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has taken delivery of its eighth Souryu-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK) from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI).
The 4,100 tonne (when submerged) vessel, which has been named Sekiryu with pennant number 508, was handed over on 13 March in a ceremony held at KHI's facilities in Kobe.
The SSK is the fourth Souryu-class boat to be built by KHI, and was first laid down in March 2013. The boat was subsequently launched by the shipbuilder in November 2015.
According to Jane's Fighting Ships, the Souryu class features a length of 84 m, a beam of 9.1 m, and a hull draught of 8.5 m. The platform, which is powered by two Kawasaki 12V 25/25 diesel engines, and four Kawasaki Kockums V4-275R Stirling air-independent propulsion (AIP) engines, has a top speed of 20 kt when submerged, and 12 kt when surfaced.
The Souryu class is equipped with six 533 m bow tubes that can fire the Japanese-developed Type 89 heavyweight torpedo. The boats are also capable of deploying the UGM-84C Harpoon medium-range anti-ship missile against surface targets. Each vessel has also been equipped with underwater countermeasure launchers.
The JMSDF currently operates a fleet of seven other Souryu-class SSKs, four of which were built by another Japanese shipbuilder, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Funding for a 12th boat was approved under Japan's fiscal year 2016 budget, and the country is expected to operate a fleet of 12 Souryu-class submarines by 2021.
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