The main submarines currently operated by the JMSDF are the Oyashio class, the Soryu class, and most recently the Taigei class.
The Taigei Class, also known as the “Big whale”. The first of its class, with the hull number, the SS-513, will become the first representative of a new class of attack diesel-electric submarines.
The Big whale was launched on October 14, 2020, scheduled to enter service in 2022. The project has accumulated more than ten years of research, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The result is a product dubbed a pioneer for a number of entirely new technologies.
Taigei is the successor of the Sōryū class. The new submarine retains the same general configuration of the Soryu-class submarine hull, but weighs more than 100 tons and has several design changes.
The Taigei has a displacement of 3,000 tons, a length of 84m, a beam of 9.1m, and a draft of 10.4m. Her crew is 70 sailors.
Compared to its predecessor, the Taigei was designed with a more streamlined hull and shrunken sail, making it quieter and more hydrodynamic. The new submarine has a significantly reduced wheelhouse, which is expected to be “fitted” into the hull to reduce drag and improve noise performance. In addition, the “insides” of the submarine have undergone significant changes.
It is reported that the submarine has an improved snorkel system in order to reduce the signature, a new generation GAS, new sound-absorbing materials are used to reduce the submarine’s signature.
The Taigei is the world’s first class of lithium-ion battery-powered submarines. Lithium-ion cells increase endurance at high speeds and allow submarines to charge faster, as well as extend battery life compared to lead acid batteries, the developer claims. They are also less cumbersome and require less maintenance.
Japan has been working on using lithium-ion batteries for submarines since the early 2000s and is currently the only country with submarines powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The capabilities of Taigei’s sonar and combat command system have been enhanced. It is also equipped with Torpedo Counter Measures, which ejects decoys to evade enemy torpedoes for improved survivability.
Taigei weapons include six 533mm HU-606 torpedo tubes, which can launch Type 89 torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Type 89 is a torpedo manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, guided by wire, that features both active and passive homing modes, with a warhead weighing 295kg.
UGM-84 Harpoon is an anti-ship missile system operating in all weather with active radar navigation system. This missile has a maximum range of 124km.
|Builders:||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kawasaki Heavy Industries|
|Operators:||Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force|
|Preceded by:||Sōryū class|
|Cost:||¥69.7 billion (Approx. US$ 639 million)|
|Displacement:||Surface: 3000 tonnes|
|Length:||84.0 m (275 ft 7 in)|
|Beam:||9.1 m (29 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||10.4 m (34 ft 1 in)|
|ZPS-6H surface/low-level air search radar Oki ZQQ-8 Sonar|
|Armament:||6 × HU-606 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes for: 1.) Type 89 torpedo or Type 18 torpedo 2.) Harpoon (missile)|