Japan’s newest submarine was unveiled Wednesday at a shipyard in Kobe as part of efforts to boost the country’s maritime security amid China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
The 3,000-ton warship, named the Taigei, was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and is scheduled to go into service in March 2022, becoming the 22nd vessel in the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s submarine fleet.
Under its 2010 National Defense Program Guidelines, Tokyo set a goal of increasing the number of its submarines from 16 to 22 in light of increasing activities by Beijing in waters near Japan, especially around a group of Japan-administered islands claimed by China in the East China Sea.
The Taigei, whose name means big whale, measures 84 meters in length and 9.1 meters in width and cost around ¥76 billion ($720 million) to build, according to the MSDF.
The submarine, which can accommodate a crew of 70, has a stealth-like design and is equipped with lithium-ion batteries so that it can remain underwater longer than previous models, it also said.