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Kawasaki confirms contract for next-generation submarine design work

A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Soryu-class submarine. The country has embarked on a programme to design the next-generation submarine, which will be able to deploy stand-off missiles with greater ranges. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has received a research and development (R&D) contract from the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) to design a new class of diesel-electric submarines (SSKs), a representative from the company confirmed to Janes on 28 December.

The boats will be the next generation of SSKs to be operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) after the Taigei class.

KHI first released a concept image of this next-generation submarine in a corporate presentation on 12 December. The presentation was made to provide an update on the company's ‘Group Vision 2030' blueprint.

According to the image, the next-generation submarine will be equipped with an X-rudder configuration, which is similar to the form factor adopted by the JMSDF's Soryu and Taigei classes of submarines. The boats will also have the ability to deploy stand-off missiles.

The vessel will be equipped with Kawasaki engines and it will be incorporated with air-purification devices to separate carbon dioxide from its emissions. In addition, the submarines will feature improved mobility compared with its predecessors, according to the presentation materials.

However, unlike its predecessors, the concept features a sail that is located on the submarine's mid-section and is slightly closer to its aft than its bow. In addition, the concept's diving planes are located on its bow, which is a departure from the design adopted by Japan's earlier submarines.

In response to questions from Janes

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