Journalist Vasily Golovnin writes about the newest Japanese diesel-electric attack submarine named Taigei, which became the first in its class. The launching ceremony took place yesterday in the Japanese port of Kobe at the shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the mainstay of the national military industry. The submarine with a displacement of about 3 thousand tons will be transferred to the Japanese Navy in March 2022.
Prior to that, it will undergo various tests: the Japanese have high hopes for submarines of this class in the naval confrontation with Beijing. Tokyo is betting on the qualitative superiority of its navy over the Chinese navy, which, of course, has an incomparably large number of surface and submarine ships.
In terms of displacement and length of 84 meters, the Taigei corresponds to the dimensions of the Japanese submarines of the previous Soryu (Blue Dragon) class, which some experts considered among the best in the world. However, the Taigei are reportedly even less visible to sonars and can stay underwater for significantly longer with new lithium-ion batteries. The Chinese simply won't hear them in many situations, an expert familiar with the matter told me.
The weapons of the Taigei have not yet been reported in detail - what is known generally corresponds to the armament of the Soryu-class submarines - torpedoes and Harpoon missiles. And there is unverified information that such submarines will be able to launch missiles to strike not only ships, but also ground targets, which was previously taboo for Tokyo. About 76 billion yen (almost $ 722 million) were spent on the construction of the first submarine of this class.
After being transferred to the Navy, Taigei (by the way, this means Big Whale) will become the 22nd Japanese strike submarine. Now the country's navy has nine submarines of the Oyashio class and eleven of the more advanced Soryu class. Next year, the 12th and final submarine of this type will be handed over to the fleet.
Well, from 2022, the introduction of Big Whale class submarines will begin.