Japan commissioned first Soryu-class Submarine equipped with lithium-ion batteries

JMSDF Soryu-class Submarine. An advanced submarine of JMSDF. Photo by Japanese MoD.

The Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned diesel-electric attack submarine JS Oryu, its first submarine equipped with lithium-ion batteries, in a ceremony held on 5 March in Hyogo Prefecture in west-central Japan. Learned GDC quoting Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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The $615 million dollar JS Oryu (with pennant number SS 511), the 84-m-long boat was inducted into the JMSDF’s Submarine Flotilla 1, based in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, shortly after being handed over by shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) at its facility in Kobe, a JMSDF spokesperson told Jane’s that same day.

Oryu is the 11th submarine of the class and the sixth to be built by MHI, with the other five having been built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI). Oryu was laid down in March 2015 and launched in October 2018.

The launch comes after GS Yuasa, a Kyoto-based developer and manufacturer of battery systems, had announced in February 2017 that Japan would become the first country in the world to equip SSKs with lithium-ion batteries in place of lead-acid batteries.

At the time the company said the batteries, which store considerably more energy than the lead-acid batteries, would be mounted on the final two Soryu-class boats for the JMSDF: SS 511 (Oryu ), and SS 512 (Toryu ).

According to british magazine Jane’s the Soryu class has a beam of 9.1 m, a hull draught of 8.4 m, and a displacement of 2,947 tonnes when surfaced and 4,100 tonnes when submerged. Each of the platforms has a top speed of 20 kt when submerged and of 12 kt when surfaced.

The previous boats of the class have been fitted with two Kawasaki 12V 25/25 diesel generators and four Kawasaki Kockums V4-275R Stirling air-independent propulsion (AIP) engines, and use lead-acid batteries for energy storage.

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