Hakugei means “White Whale”. Taigei-class submarines are named after large fish. The first submarine of the class, Taigei (meaning “Great Whale”) was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shipyard in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture in October 2020. Taigei is scheduled to be commissioned into the JMSDF in March 2022, after which it will be used as a test submarine, according to the “National Defense Program Guidelines for FY 2019 and beyond” published in December 2018. In other words, Taigei will be the dedicated ship to conduct all future tests of technology on JMSDF submarines. This means that Hakugei will be the first boat of the class able to conduct operational deployments.
Taigei started sea trials in late July 2021:
The external appearance of Taigei-class submarines is not much different from the Sōryū-class, but inside of it is a completely different submarine. First, the Taigei-class uses lithium-ion batteries instead of the 4V-275R Mk. III AIP system, which was installed aboard the first 10 Sōryū-class submarines.
With the launch of Hakugei, Japan now has four submarines equipped with Lithium-Ion batteries in the water (the last two submarines of the Soryu-class and the first two Taigei-class).
Launch of Hakugei:
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.
Basic Specifications of Taigei
Standard Displacement: about 3000 tons
Length: 84 meters
Total width: 9.1 meters
Crew: about 70
Propulsion: Diesel Electric Propulsion (with lithium-ion batteries)