All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

The second phase

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company and the U.S. Army have agreed to terms on the execution of the second phase of the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) contract that was awarded in March 2020 for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. This new contract is an important milestone and testament to the continued momentum for Army modernization. Bell’s flight-proven V-280 Valor design advances from an aircraft with transformational speed and survivability towards a low-risk weapons system ready to support joint combined arms and maneuver operations around the world.

Bell V-280 Valor
Bell is executing the second phase of a Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction contract to inform the imminent program of record competition for U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA)

«This is the next step to a program of record and Bell is proud to closely collaborate with the Army to transition our flight-proven V-280 Valor into a highly-capable and sustainable FLRAA weapons system», said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «Bell and our Team Valor teammates continue to optimize our platform based on research, design, and thorough flight-testing of the aircraft to deliver an outstanding capability for the Army».

During phase one of the CD&RR, Bell provided detailed iterations on the V-280 design, data to highlight the feasibility of executing the program of record requirements, and executed trade studies using model-based systems engineering. This work will continue under phase two as the Army finalizes requirements for the program of record planned for 2022.

Bell has already safely delivered groundbreaking performance and successfully completed a rapid design, build, and test program with the V-280. Since its first flight in 2017, the V-280 team has executed a rigorous flight test program flying more than 200 hours through over 160 individual test flights that delivered critical data to validate Bell’s digital models and performance.

As the FLRAA competition moves to a program of record, Bell continues to take a holistic approach to transition the V-280 to a weapons system that ensures exceptional performance and is affordable throughout the lifecycle. From the outset, the Bell V-280 Valor was designed for efficiency – using simplified and inherently reliable designs, adhering to Army Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) requirements, reducing maintenance costs, and increasing reliability. Bell applied digital design and manufacturing technologies, included maintenance as part of the design process, and used emerging commercial processes to bring a comprehensive view of digital models, processing, and analysis. This methodology has reduced programmatic risk, improved lifecycle maintenance and servicing outcomes, increasing program affordability.

«This aircraft is not an engineering science project. The V-280 tiltrotor provides a critical and combat-proven capability needed to maintain our U.S. military’s ability to deter adversaries by radically improving over the current fleet’s speed, range, versatility, and sustainability. Our program has provided evidence that the V-280 is a transformational long-range assault aircraft solution for the Army and we are proud to move forward as a team to continue to mature the weapons system», said Ryan Ehinger, vice president and program director, FLRAA at Bell.

Over an 8-day period recently the Bell V-280 Valor team completed 5 hours of flight over 4 sorties; nearing 180 total flight hours and over 330 total operating hours

Submarine Hunters

The U.S. Navy today awarded Boeing a $1.6 billion production contract for the next 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Nine aircraft will join the U.S. Navy fleet and two will go to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a cooperative partner in the P-8A joint program since 2009. The contract brings the total number of U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft under contract to 128 and the RAAF total to 14.

P-8A Poseidon
A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft flies near Mount Rainier in Washington state (Boeing photo)

«The P-8A Poseidon continues to be an invaluable asset and these additional aircraft will help deliver expanded maritime patrol and reconnaissance capabilities to the fleet», said Captain Eric Gardner, program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office.

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft used by the U.S Navy. It’s vital for intelligence gathering, surveillance reconnaissance and search and rescue. Deployed around the world, with 103 aircraft in service and more than 300,000 flight-hours, the P-8’s performance and reliability delivers confidence to customers operating in an uncertain world.

«We continue to hear feedback from deployed Navy squadrons who tell us the P-8A Poseidon is exceeding expectations», said Stu Voboril, vice president and program manager for Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon program. «Our focus is on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft. That only happens when teams truly collaborate, listen and focus on customer priorities».

The P-8 Poseidon is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability. It’s the principal aircraft with the ability to detect and track submarines. The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system.

A military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplane, the P-8 Poseidon combines the most advanced weapon system in the world with the cost advantages of the most popular airliner on the planet. The P-8 Poseidon shares 86% commonality with the commercial 737NG, providing enormous supply chain economies of scale in production and support.

The P-8 Poseidon has two variants: The P-8I, flown by the Indian Navy, and the P-8A Poseidon, flown by the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. The RAAF has acquired the Boeing aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive a variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy called the P-8A Poseidon.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

Sachsen-Anhalt

On March 30, 2021, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TK MS) handed over the frigate Sachsen-Anhalt (F224) to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in Wilhelmshaven. It is the third of a total of four ships of the Type F125 which TK MS is building in the ARGE F125 consortium together with the Fr. Lürssen Shipyard.

Sachsen-Anhalt (F224)
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems hands over frigate Sachsen-Anhalt (F224)

The ship was handed over to the BAAINBw, represented by the Head of the Acceptance Commission, Matthias Rohde and the responsible project manager at the BAAINBw, Marc Steffens, during a ceremony in Wilhelmshaven, which was kept small in view of the pandemic. On behalf of TK MS, Programme Manager Patrick Buggenthin signed the handover papers.

Chief Operating Officer Doctor Alexander Orellano, who was present, commented: «We have already delivered two ships that have since proven their technical capabilities. We are convinced that the third vessel, the Sachsen-Anhalt (F224), will also be successful. We wish her “fair winds and following seas”. Full operational readiness of all ships for the German Navy remains our most important goal. On behalf of all employees, I would like to express my gratitude for the trust placed in us. We look forward to continued good teamwork».

The last ship of the F125 series, the Rheinland-Pfalz (F225), is to be handed over this year.

The completely redesigned vessels of the Type F125 have highly complex systems and around 28,000 sensors that enable a very high degree of automation, making it possible to reduce the required number of crew members by about half compared to previous frigate classes. The ships can remain in the operational area for up to two years. Besides the traditional tasks of national and alliance defence, they are designed for conflict prevention and crisis management as well as for intervention and stabilization operations in an international context. In addition to the ability to engage targets both on land and on water, they are equipped with air defence systems and helicopters.

The contract for the construction of the four frigates became effective in June 2007. The concept, design and detailed design phases followed. Around 90 percent of the highly complex systems on board the F125 were developed specifically for this new type of ship.

ARGE F125 comprises ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as the lead company together with the Bremen-based Lürssen shipyard. The pre-fitted bow sections were produced at the shipyards of the Lürssen Group in Bremen and in Wolgast on the Baltic Sea. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two vessel halves, further fitting-out, commissioning and testing all took place at the Lürssen location Blohm+Voss in Hamburg.

 

Principal data of the F125

Length 489 feet/149 m
Beam 59 feet/18 m
Maximum speed 26 knots/30 mph/48 km/h
Displacement approximately 7,200 t
Complement maximum 190 (of which 126 are regular crew)

 

$1 Billion Contract

Lockheed Martin received a $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. Army for Lot 16 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and associated equipment.

GMLRS
A Guided MLRS is fired from Lockheed Martin’s HIMARS launcher (Photo Courtesy: Lockheed Martin)

The contract calls for the production of more than 9,000 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead (AW) rockets, more than 2,000 Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and international customers.

Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; and Ocala, Florida, and will be completed by September 2023.

«GMLRS’s versatile rounds provide proven capability, unmatched accuracy and are engineered for future needs in support of Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO)», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «GMLRS remains in high demand because it’s the right round for multiple types of missions. Our focus remains on producing the combat-proven, cost-effective GMLRS to meet our customers’ needs».

Recently, Lockheed Martin delivered the 50,000th GMLRS to the U.S. Army customer – a milestone that represents the unmatched legacy of precision fires excellence that continues to evolve alongside the 21st Century Warfighter.

GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The munition is the primary round for the combat-proven Lockheed Martin produced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and MLRS family of launchers and features a Global Positioning System (GPS) aided inertial guidance package and small maneuvering canards on the rocket nose, which add maneuverability to enhance the accuracy of the system.

The GMLRS AW was developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets provide precision strike for point targets, exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. The Reduced-Range Practice Rocket allows users to train with realistic, full-motored rockets with limited flight range, making them ideal for smaller testing ranges.

Lockheed Martin is also developing the Extended Range (ER) GMLRS that will provide the same accuracy and reliability the munition is known for while significantly extending the range – reaching 150 kilometers/93 miles.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

Autonomous Vessel

The Royal Navy’s experimentation innovator NavyX has officially welcomed a new autonomous vessel into its service.

Madfox
This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes

Named Madfox (Maritime Demonstrator For Operational eXperimentation), it is derived from technology firm L3Harris’ Mast-13 vessel, which for the past 18 months has been operated by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on a series of trials with the Royal Navy.

Since being delivered, NavyX has been working hard to get Madfox to sea and ready to begin a demanding year of testing.

Over the next few months, NavyX will carry on its work with Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV), while also examining how these vessels can deliver across the range of military operations including surveillance and force protection.

Commander Antony Crabb, NavyX team leader, said: «With Madfox now directly in the hands of NavyX, the team will be able to explore a multitude of issues such as safety, regulatory compliance, new missions, new payloads and the role that a USV can play in complex operations and within the future fleet. Later this year NavyX will also accept an autonomous Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) into the inventory. This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes».

The investment in Madfox comes as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines look to expand their use of crewless and autonomous equipment.

Mast-13, proved the value of USVs during experimentation in Norway last year when it was successfully integrated with HMS Albion (L14) for Autonomous Advance Force 3.0. There it was controlled remotely, including for the transit in and out of the ship’s dock.

Autonomous vessel ready for operations

Multi Mission Vessel

On 25 March 2021, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) launched the first of three Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) procured by ARMSCOR for the South African Navy (SAN).

Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV)
DSCT launches SA Navy’s first Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessel

The vessels will augment South Africa’s maritime security by enhancing the country’s capability to respond effectively, rapidly and cost-effectively to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.

DSCT Project Manager, Ian Stewart says the launch is an important milestone for the shipyard. «This is the culmination of three years of hard work by a dedicated team of people. Ultimately, more than one million man-hours of work will be invested in the construction of the three MMIPVs».

The more than 600-ton vessel was transported from the DSCT shipyard on the evening of 23 March 2021 to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) synchrolift at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront Basin. The move was conducted by Mammoet South Africa, using 48 axle lines of Self Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) to provide precision movement. Mammoet Project Manager, Uzayr Karimulla, says while moving the vessel at night meant less impact on traffic, the reduction in light came with its own challenges. «Through careful planning, close collaboration, and the teamwork between DSCT and Mammoet South Africa, our team made this move a success. We are very happy to have been part of the project, contributing to the advancement of safer waters in Southern Africa».

Once the vessel was raised onto the synchrolift, the team waited for high tide to come in before moving it out of the V&A Basin via TNPA tugs towards the Elliot Bason. The testing of the ship systems will now commence before the vessel will officially be delivered to ARMSCOR/SAN, before the end of the year.

The MMIPVs are built according to the patented Damen Axe Bow design, which ensures low resistance, high sustained speed in waves and superior sea keeping characteristics in the toughest conditions.

As vertical accelerations are reduced significantly and bow slamming almost eliminated, the safety of the vessel and crew increases considerably, reducing operational risks. The multi mission deck is used for supporting diving, search and rescue and anti-piracy operations.

DSCT HR & Transformation Manager, Eva Moloi, says DSCT is particularly proud of the many years it has invested in local South African skills transfer, training, and entrepreneurship development and collaboration, which have resulted in a strong South African pool of scarce trade skills and supplier partnerships.

«Our local skills transfer and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives mean that we are not only contributing to the South African economy but ensuring that our local South African maritime market is less reliant on imports from international suppliers. DSCT fully supports the transfer of technology, inclusion of local companies in the execution projects, and stimulation of export transactions under the Defence Industrial Participation (DIP) programme, which particularly focuses on benefiting SMMEs, Military Veteran (MV) Owned Entities and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Compliant Entities. The partnerships formed during this project have led to the successful launch of the MMIPV. One can truly state that the MMIPVs have been built in South Africa, by South Africans for South Africa», she adds.

The engineering of the vessel commenced in 2018 and the keel was laid in February 2019. «Despite the COVID lockdown period, our local skills and partnerships, resilient production schedule and advanced planning capabilities of our Cape Town team, allowed the different subcontractors and teams to work on the vessel in a safe manner», notes Moloi.

Block V Tomahawk

The Navy received its first Block V configured Tomahawk missile from Raytheon March 25, paving the way to provide the fleet with an upgraded warfighting capability.

Block V Tomahawk Missile
A Block V Tomahawk off the recertification production line at Raytheon’s Camden, Arkansas facility in March 2021 (Photo courtesy of Raytheon)

These first Block V missiles are from the existing Tomahawk Block IV inventory, and have been recertified and modernized for fleet use.

«This is the next big advancement in Tomahawk capability, and a major achievement for the program», said Captain Red, program manager for the Tomahawk Weapons System program (PMA-280). «We’re focused now on delivering advanced capability to the fleet by recertifying and modernizing our Block IV inventory, and by contracting production Block V missiles».

Red spoke at a virtual ceremony March 25 to commemorate the event along with industry leaders. He noted over the last four decades the program has continued to upgrade Tomahawk’s capability and this marked the collaboration between Raytheon, supply chains, field activities and the program office.

Raytheon is conducting the mid-life recertification process at its Camden, Arkansas facility. The process replaces life-limited components in Block IV missiles to enable their remaining 15 years of service life, and provides the opportunity for the missiles to receive Block V modernizations. All Block IV missiles will undergo recertification and modernization.

Block V Tomahawk missiles feature a NAV/COMMs upgrade that maintains the capability for In-Flight Target Updates and Improved Navigation. Future Block V capabilities will add to the NAV/COMMs upgrade and include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant, designated as Block Va; and the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), designated as Block Vb.

MUAS for Australia

Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia’s team has been shortlisted to proceed to the next phase of the SEA129 Phase 5 program for the acquisition of a Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (MUAS) designed to deliver a deployable Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) capability to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The Northrop Grumman and Leonardo proposal will enhance capability effects and tactical decision-making during RAN maritime operations.

Leonardo AWHERO
Leonardo AWHERO – First Ocean 2020 sea trial demonstration (Source: Leonardo S.p.A.)

«Northrop Grumman brings decades of unmatched expertise delivering and sustaining unmanned and manned aerial systems for customers in Australia and across the globe», said Christine Zeitz, general manager, Asia Pacific, Northrop Grumman. «We are confident our MUAS offering delivers world-class capability that addresses the RAN’s ISR&T mission requirements and optimises Australian industry capability».

The Northrop Grumman and Leonardo team’s proposal includes the state-of-the-art AWHero MUAS platform and subsystems, a capability specifically designed to operate in complex maritime environments. The AWHero is based on a mature and modular architecture that allows a wide and easily reconfigurable range of payloads including Leonardo’s Maritime Radar for unmatched ISR&T area coverage.

The team’s offering also includes an exportable variant of Northrop Grumman’s ground-breaking Distributed Autonomy/Responsive Control (DA/RC) command and control system. Integrated with the ship, control station and aircraft, DA/RC will deliver enhanced and automated tactical decision making to the RAN to help outmatch threats in a complex, unpredictable threat environment. The collaborative autonomy software will also be incorporated in Northrop Grumman Australia’s distributed systems integration laboratory which will provide the RAN and Australian industry a collaborative development environment to effectively exploit evolving technologies.

«We are excited to join forces with Northrop Grumman and Australian industry partners, further strengthening our collaborative approach in Australia», said Brian McEachen, VP Military Sales Asia-Pacific, Leonardo Helicopters. «The integrated capability of the AWHero leverages Leonardo’s expertise in rotorcraft, system integration, UAS and operations in the maritime domain, which combined with Northrop Grumman’s extensive portfolio of world-leading capabilities and technologies will provide the Royal Australian Navy with a level of advanced MUAS-based ISR&T they seek both now and into the future».

An integral part of the Northrop Grumman and Leonardo proposal is a commitment to maximising Australian industry participation. A robust and reliable domestic support network of proven industry members will be engaged in the production, delivery, sustainment and follow-on development of sovereign MUAS capability to the Australian Defence Force to meet the RAN’s current and future needs.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Arctic strategy

The Army is currently conducting a gap analysis as part of its new Arctic strategy to identify if any new equipment or training sites will be needed or expanded to prepare Soldiers for upcoming missions in extreme cold weather.

509th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Paratroopers from the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment attack the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility in the Donnelly Training Area, Alaska, February 11, 2021, as part of the Arctic Warrior exercise. The Army is currently conducting a gap analysis as part of its new Arctic strategy to identify if any new equipment or training sites will be needed or expanded to prepare Soldiers for upcoming missions in extreme cold weather (John Pennell)

Army leaders recently announced the release of an Arctic strategy, which outlines how the service will support the Defense Department’s Arctic strategy published in 2019. It also discusses how Soldiers and units will be able to regain cold weather capabilities after years of counterinsurgency operations in the Middle East.

Last month, Army officials carried out a gap analysis during the Arctic Warrior exercise in Alaska that examined any shortfalls of equipment required for the harsh region, said Colonel J.P. Clark, chief of the strategy division within the Army G-3/5/7.

Some equipment needs may be addressed in the next presidential budget, while long-term efforts, such as creating a multi-domain task force for the region, may take years to manifest, he said Wednesday during a media roundtable.

While there are no current plans to station more Soldiers in Alaska, a decision on that could occur within a year. About 11,600 Soldiers now serve in Alaska, which has the majority of permanent Army forces in the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas.

«Those options are being worked for the Army senior leaders and we expect there will be an announcement for that probably later this year or even next», he said.

The strategy will also dig deeper on if training sites in Alaska, including the Northern Warfare Training Center, should be modified to meet requirements.

«There are a number of training areas that provide a great opportunity to do this training in Alaska», said Elizabeth Felling, a strategic planner in the Army G-3/5/7. «The Northern Warfare Training Center is the proponent for cold region training for the Army. How we utilize those training areas is something we’re really going to be looking at».

Much of the training will be based on survival skills and being able to operate in one of the most extreme climates in the world, Clark said.

«We want every Soldier who is assigned to an arctic-capable unit to have those basic capabilities», he said.

The Army can also lean on its partnerships to better prepare its units for this type of warfare.

«This is where we can gain a lot from our allies and partners», Clark said. The «Canadians, Norwegians and Swedes have very impressive capabilities on how they build a unit to fight and win in this region».

While subzero temperatures may impact operations, Soldiers can also face other challenges during missions.

«We tend to kind of gravitate towards the extreme cold weather, but actually a lot of what we hear, in terms of mobility, it’s the summer months that are actually the most difficult», Clark said.

When frozen, waterways can be used as logistical routes for ground vehicles, especially due to the lack of roads in remote parts of Alaska. Those routes can then disappear when the weather warms up.

The high latitudes of the region can also affect satellite coverage. «That is an underserved area for some of the space support that we depend on», he said.

The north magnetic pole could even limit certain electronic items that may otherwise work elsewhere, he said, adding the Army plans to work with other military branches to find solutions.

Arctic-capable formations could also train with partners in mountainous parts of the world, Felling said.

«When they’re properly trained and equipped, we can ensure an arctic-capable formation is ready to meet the demands of our geographic combatant commanders around the globe, wherever those may be», she said.

Fighting Dragon

According to Navy Recognition, on March 24, 2021, Japan Ministry of Defense Nakayama attended the commission ceremony for the new submarine JS Tōryū (SS-512), the 12th submarine of Sōryū-class and instructed to the crew.

JS Tōryū (SS-512)
Defense state Minister Nakayama attended the commission ceremony for the new submarine JS Tōryū (SS-512)

JS Tōryū (SS-512) is the 12th and final Sōryū-class submarine produced for the JMSDF (the 6th built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the other 6 having been built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). «Tōryū» means «Fighting Dragon». The name of Tōryū is derived from the famous scenic dragon fighting in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, where the torrent of the Kako River flows between strangely shaped rocks.

The ship, built for 69 billion yen, has a displacement of 2,950 tons and a total length of 275.6 feet/84 meters and a width of 29.8 feet/9.1 meters. It is capable of navigating at about 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h when submerged and 12 knots/14 mph/22 km/h when surfaced. The power source uses a lithium-ion battery, which has excellent submarine capabilities and automates the system. The Submarine is equipped with a Kawasaki 12V 25/25SB type diesel engine and another Kawasaki Kokkamusu V4-275R Stirling engine four.

The Sōryū-class is a diesel-electric submarine built by the Japanese companies Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). It is an improved version of the Oyashio Class submarine. The keel for the first Sōryū-class submarine was laid down in March 2005 and launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009.

The Sōryū-class is equipped with six HU-606 533-mm torpedo tubes that can fire Type 89 heavyweight homing torpedoes and UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. It has an optronic mast and ZPS-6F surface/low-level air search radar for detection of enemy Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and maritime patrol craft, as well as the Hughes/Oki ZQQ-7 sonar suite incorporating one bow-mounted sonar array and four flank sonar arrays.

The Sōryū-class submarine has a range of 6,100 nautical miles/7,020 miles/11,297 km and can reportedly dive to a depth of 2,132 feet/650 m, or two-fifths of a mile.