Japanese shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries launched Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF) tenth Sōryū-class submarine ‘Shōryū’ (SS-509) at its Kobe shipyard on November 6.
The air-independent propulsion submarine was launched in a ceremony attended by senior defense ministry officials.
In addition to being the tenth in its class, Shōryū is also the 28th submarine to be built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries after World War II.
The 84-meter long boat is now scheduled to start outfitting and subsequent trials before being delivered to JMSDF in March 2019.
Soryu-class submarines are the world’s largest conventionally powered submarines. They are also Japan’s first submarine to be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that enable them to remain fully submerged for longer periods of time.
Manned by 65 sailors, the submarine displaces 2,950 tonnes and uses its Diesel-Stirling-electric main engine to propel it to a maximum billed speed of 20 knots.
JMSDF has already commissioned eight submarines and plans to operate a total of 13 units in the class.