KOBE, Japan -- The advanced Toryu submarine built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries debuted to much fanfare in a launch ceremony Wednesday.
The 84-meter-long vessel, the latest Soryu-class diesel submarine, can reach speeds of about 20 knots underwater. Its 2,950-ton displacement is among the largest for a Japanese submarine. Lithium-ion battery technology improves its capabilities beneath the waves.
Kawasaki Heavy is slated to hand over the Toryu to the Ministry of Defense in March 2021 after it finishes installing equipment.
The Toryu is the 29th postwar submarine built by Kawasaki Heavy at its Kobe works, one of the nation's biggest shipyards. The name derives from a scenic section of the nearby Kako River that translates to "fighting dragon."
Kawasaki Heavy decided to stop building such vessels as bulk carriers at the Kobe works as part of a reorganization of its struggling shipbuilding business. The site would focus instead on such high-value-added products as submarines and high-speed passenger hydrofoils, with one additional submarine on order.