Kawasaki Heavy Industries has handed over the second Taigei-class attack submarine, named JS Hakugei (SS-514), to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Delivery of the submarine was marked by a ceremony held at the company’s Kobe Shipyard at Nishihama Quay on 20 March. The event was attended by several senior officials from Japan’s MoD.

Hakugei is the 30th submarine built by the Kawasaki Kobe Shipyard after the Second World War.

Launched in October 2021, JS Hakugei is an 84m-long submarine built to provide enhanced submerged operation capabilities to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Installed with lithium-ion battery systems, the new Taigei-class attack submarine will provide high water pressure resistance, increased stealth capabilities, improved propulsion performance and increased underwater endurance to Japanese forces. It also features SB-type diesel engines, an electric propulsion motor and underwater launch tubes, as well as different types of automated systems, sonar and improved surveillance solutions.

In another development, announced by the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) on 20 March, US and Japanese maritime forces have carried out a ballistic missile defence exercise in the Sea of Japan.

Conducted on 18 March, the bilateral activity saw the participation of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG-69) and JMSDF’s lead Atago-class warship JS Atago (DDG-177).

The objective of this exercise, according to INDOPACOM’s statement, was to enhance interoperability between the two nations’ maritime forces, as well as to showcase and strengthen the US and Japan’s alliance.

INDOPACOM’s statement added: “Our bilateral cooperation is reflective of our shared values and resolve to hold the line against those who challenge regional stability. We remain committed to peace and prosperity in the region to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.”