TOKYO: The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) has unveiled the new first-of-class Taigei submarine, in a ceremony held at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Kobe Shipyard, in Hyogo Prefecture, Oct 14.
The event was attended by newly-appointed Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi. Also present were Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura, and senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The 3,000-ton submarine, scheduled to go into service in March 2022, will be the 22nd vessel in JMSDF submarine fleet.
Japan is increasing efforts to beef-up the number of its submarines from 16 to 22, as highlighted in the country’s 2010 National Defence Programme Guidelines, in light of increasing activities by China in waters near Japan, especially around a group of Japan-administered islands claimed by China in the East China Sea.
The Taigei, meaning big whale in Japanese, measures 84 metres in length and 9.1 metres in width and cost around ¥76 billion ($720 million) to build, according to the JMSDF.
The vessel could accommodate 70 crew members, has a stealth-like design and is equipped with lithium-ion batteries so that it can remain underwater longer than previous models.
Japan currently operates nine 2,750-ton Oyashio-class submarines and eleven 2,950-ton Soryu-class warships, and is planning to introduce a 12th Soryu-class vessel next year. –shpmedia/aaa/mgm
PHOTO: Japan Ministry of Defence