Japan is modernizing its naval forces.
And it has just launched another of the new class of diesel-electric submarines, a year until the day after the first boat from the Japanese submarine with lithium-ion engines entered the water, according to a recent press release from Kawasaki.
And it’s called Hakugei, which means White Whale.
Japanese submarines with a lithium-ion battery have lower maintenance
The new submarine was launched on Thursday from the city of Kobe by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries shipyard. The next step for the newest Japanese submarine is the final construction efforts and naval tests before its possible entry into the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JMSDF), scheduled for March 2023. the second Taigei class submarineThe Hakugei is a 3,000-ton diesel-electric attack submarine. It is 84 meters long and was originally known as the 29SS class, named in memory of the 29th year of the reign of Emperor Akihito. The first boat in this class, the Taigei itself, launched in October 2020 and began sea trials in July last year. Assuming nothing goes wrong, it will be commissioned in March 2022.
This is the last of MJSDF’s comprehensive efforts to recapitalize its submarine fleet. This includes some older boats that remain in service, while the total number of submarines in operation rises to 22. The decision to increase the country’s submarine forces from 16 to 22 boats was taken during the guidelines of the national defense program. 2010 a DefenseNews report. The country’s last two Soryu-class boats also contained a lithium-ion battery power supply, a technology Japan has been researching significantly since the early 2000s. They are preferred because they are less intensive to maintain than lead-acid batteries, which do not withstand high speeds while submerged, as well as their lithium-ion successors.
Chinese submarines are undeniably superior to Japanese ones
As far as everyone knows, Japan is the only country in the world that has operational submarines powered by lithium-ion batteries. And once the new series of Taigei-class submarines is completed, Japan’s entire force will consist of eight older Oyashio-class boats, twelve Soryus and another Taigei-class boat, the last of which Japan has already begun building after have already received approval for funding for two more. The latter saw $ 602.3 million earmarked for another boat. But Japan is not investing so much in expanding its submarine fleet for no reason. Among the most significant contextual signals for the continuation of this accumulation are the growing tensions between Japan, the United States and their allies, on the one hand, and China and Russia, on the other.
In case you missed it, China has a huge submarine fleet with 57 diesel-electric submarines and five nuclear attack submarines in 2015. the U.S. Naval Intelligence Service. Beijing’s submarine fleet could grow at an incredible rate, reaching 60 diesel-electric boats and at least 16 nuclear submarines by 2030. In this light, it is easy to see that Japan already is and will continue to be surpassed by Chinese submarines. Japan’s ally, the United States, has 56 Sea wolf-, The angels-, and Virginia-class attack submarines, in addition to Ohio-class cruise missiles, according to a Forbes report. Against the backdrop of rearmament, the US Navy will shrink to 52 attacking boats in 2026, and then add a few more to reach today’s figures sometime in the 2030s. This means that at least for Japan, the United States and their allies, the need for more submarines is growing against the backdrop of growing tensions with China.