Japan Unveils Its Latest Lithium-Ion Powered Attack Submarine

The first of this new class submarine goes by the name Taigei, and will officially be hitting underwater in 2022.
Fabienne Lang

Japan has launched its latest naval arrival: the Taigei, meaning Big Whale, and it's a new class of submarine that will bring the nation's submarine fleet to a total of 22 boats once it's in service. 

Taigei was unveiled on October 14th at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Kobe and is planned to be ready for official launch in 2022.

The diesel-electric submarine will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, as per Defense News.


New class of submarine

The Taigei is an attack submarine that weighs a hefty 3,000 tons, measures 275 feet (84 meters) long and 29.8 feet (9.1 meters) wide, and can accommodate 70 crew members. It is the first successor to Japan's Soryu submarine and will carry lithium-ion batteries on board, just like Soryu

Japan has been working on its submarine fleet using lithium-ion batteries as a power source for nearly two decades, as the batteries require less maintenance and can last longer than lead-acid batteries at high speeds even when submerged.

So far, Japan is the only country that has submarines that can be powered through lithium-ion batteries, per Defense News.

The plan is for the Taigei to be commissioned by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in March 2022. Before then, it will undergo sea trials and more fitting out to ensure everything is in order. 

The Taigei submarine is built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and cost 76 billion Japanese Yen ($720 million) to build, per the Japan Times.