Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on 12 October held a christening and launching ceremony for a 3,000-ton class submarine for the Ministry of Defense at MHI’s Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works. This follows the naming and launching ceremony of the first ship of the same type, “Taigei”, held in October 2020.

The submarine is the third submarine of the Taigei class, which is the successor to the current Soryu class submarine of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, and was named “Jingei”. In the future, she will be handed over to the Ministry of Defense after carrying out outfitting work such as the hull, engine, electricity, and weapons.

MHI will develop, design, and build state-of-the-art naval vessels with superior functionality, performance, and cost performance while centrally operating defence equipment businesses spanning land, sea, and air, and demonstrating technological synergies.

JMSDF submarines are currently pressed to expand their roles and missions as China, North Korea, and Russia are all boosting their military muscles around Japan. In particular, Japanese subs could be drawn into a Taiwan contingency, which has become an increasingly real possibility in recent months.

The new submarine has a crew complement of about 70, an overall length of 84 meters, a beam of 9.1 m, a draught of 10.4 m, and a standard displacement of about 3,000 tonnes. It is just slightly larger than the well-known previous Soryu-class SSKs, which have a standard displacement of 2,950 tonnes. The Taigei class for the first time has female-only compartments such as a living space for up to six women.

The new submarine is expected to enter service in March 2024. Jingei means “speedy whale” in Japanese and was the name borne by an ocean-going imperial yacht and a submarine tender during the Imperial Japanese Navy. The new submarine, which cost about 70 billion yen ($480 million) to build, is powered by a diesel-electric engine generating 6,000 hp. It has a maximum speed underwater of 20 knots.

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