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Japan commissions first Taigei-class submarine with better underwater endurance

Taigei , seen here at its launch ceremony in October 2020. The vessel was commissioned in March 2022. (Japanese Air Self-Defense Force)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has commissioned the first vessel in a new class of diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) with better underwater endurance than its predecessors.

The boat, which has been named Taigei with pennant number SS 513, was commissioned on 9 March at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries‘ (MHI's) shipyard in Kobe, said the JMSDF in a statement published via an official social media channel on the same day.

Taigei was launched by MHI in October 2020. It has an overall length of 84.5 m, a beam of 9.1 m, an estimated draught of about 8.5 m, and a standard displacement of about 3,000 tonnes.

Notably, it is equipped with lithium-ion cells instead of lead acid batteries found on the JMSDF's older boats. The lithium-ion cell is similar to the ones found on the service's final two Soryu-class SSKs that were commissioned in March 2020 and March 2021, respectively.

Taigei is powered by two Kawasaki diesel engines and it can reach a top speed of 20 kt. It is equipped with six 533 mm tubes and is expected to field a new heavy torpedo variant known as the Type 18, in addition to the Type 89.

Additionally, Taigei has been designed with reduced electro-magnetic and acoustic features, and will be equipped with a new combat management system (CMS), the details of which have not been released by the JMSDF.

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