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.
14 OCT, the naming and launch ceremony was held at Kobe Shipyard, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the newest submarine was named “TAIGEI”. She is the first of its class submarine that improve detection ability, and suitable environment for female submariners. 🐳 pic.twitter.com/d6SdC6J32h— Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (@jmsdf_pao_eng) October 14, 2020
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.