White Sperm Whale

According to Naval News, the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) on March 20, 2023 commissioned the submarine JS Hakugei (SS-514) during a ceremony at Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) in Kobe.

JS Hakugei (SS-514)
JS Hakugei (SS-514) is the second Taigei-class submarine (JMSDF picture)

JS Hakugei (SS-514) is the second Taigei class submarine for the JMSDF. Its name means «White Sperm Whale». Taigei-class submarines are all named after large fishes. Hakugei will be based in Kure.

The first submarine of the class, JS Taigei (SS-513) (meaning «Great Whale») was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shipyard in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture in October 2020 and was commissioned into the JMSDF in March 2022. It is currently based in Yokosuka and used as a test submarine. It acts as a dedicated ship to conduct all tests related to future JMSDF submarine technologies. For example, Naval News learned during DSEI Japan 2023 that the latest Inertial Navigation System (INS) by French company Safran (product name: Black Onyx) will be tested aboard JS Taigei (SS-513) in coming weeks.

This means that JS Hakugei (SS-514) is now the first boat of the Taigei-class able to conduct operational deployments.

The third-in-class submarine, JS Jingei (SS-515) (meaning « Swift Whale») was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in October last year.


About Taigei class Submarine

The external appearance of the Taigei is not much different from the Sōryū-class, but inside of it is a completely different submarine. First, the Taigei uses lithium-ion batteries instead of the 4V-275R Mk. III Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which was installed aboard the first 10 Sōryū-class submarines.

Secondly, the capabilities of the sonar and combat command system have been improved, as well as the use of new acoustic absorbent materials and a floating floor structure to make it quieter. It is also equipped with Torpedo Counter Measures (TCM), which ejects decoys to evade enemy torpedoes for improved survivability.


Key Specifications

  • Standard Displacement: about 3000 tons
  • Length: 84 meters/275.6 feet
  • Total width: 9.1 meters/29.8 feet
  • Crew: about 70
  • Propulsion: Diesel Electric Propulsion (with lithium-ion batteries)