The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has launched its newest submarine, Taigei, at a shipyard in Kobe on 14 October.

The naming and launch ceremony was held at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI) Kobe Shipyard.

It was attended by 150 people, including the Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi.

JMSDF tweeted: “She is the first of its class submarines that improves detection ability and is a suitable environment for female submariners.”

The 3,000t submarine is expected to increase the maritime security of Japan amid the increased presence of China in the region.

The new diesel-electric propulsion submarine is 84m long and can accommodate approximately 70 crew members.

It is the first submarine of the Taigei type and it features a hull structure for increased stealth.

Taigei is expected to be commissioned in March next year.

The MHI-constructed vessel will be the 22nd vessel to be inducted into the submarine fleet of JMSDF when it commences operations in 2022.

JMSDF currently operates 11 2,950t Soryu-class submarines with the 12th vessel expected to be introduced next year.

It also has nine 2,750t Oyashio-class submarines.

In March, JMSDF commissioned its first Maya-class Aegis Destroyer, JS Maya (DDG-179), which has ballistic missile defence capabilities.

JS Maya can counter short to intermediate-range threats with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor.