The Sōryū-class submarines (16SS) are diesel-electric attack submarines. The first boat in the class entered service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in 2009. The design is an evolution of the Oyashio-class submarine, from which it can most easily be distinguished by its X-shaped stern combination diving planes and rudders. The Sōryūs have the largest displacement of any submarine used by post-war Japan.
Hakuryū (SS-503) visits Pearl Harbor, Feb 2013
|Operators||Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force|
|Preceded by||Oyashio-class submarine|
|Succeeded by||Taigei-class submarine|
|Built||2005 – Present|
|In commission||2009 – Present|
|Length||84.0 m (275 ft 7 in)|
|Beam||9.1 m (29 ft 10 in)|
|Draught||8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)|
|Range||AIP endurance (est.): 6100 nautical miles (11297.2 km; 7060.75 miles) at 6.5 knots (12 km/h; 7.48 mp/h)|
|Complement||65 (9 officers, 56 enlisted)|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
It is Japan's first air-independent propulsion submarine. From Sōryū to Shōryū are fitted with Kockums Naval Solutions Stirling engines license-built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, allowing them to stay submerged for longer periods of time. Furthermore, Ōryū is the world's first lithium-ion battery submarine. The cost of the sixth submarine (Kokuryū) was estimated at 540 million USD.
Japanese submarines since World War II were named after ocean currents. The JMSDF changed its naming convention with the Sōryū, and submarines will now be named after mythological creatures. Sōryū (そうりゅう) means blue dragon in Japanese and shares its name with the World War II aircraft carrier Sōryū, sunk during the Battle of Midway.
The eleventh Sōryū-class submarine (Ōryū) is the first Japanese submarine in the fleet to mount lithium-ion batteries. The JS Ōryū was given a budget of ¥64.3 billion (equivalent to ¥65.55 billion or US$601.3 million in 2019) under the 2015 Japanese Defense Budget. Lithium-ion batteries have almost double the electric storage capacity of traditional lead-acid batteries, and by not only replacing them in the existing battery storage areas but adding to the already large battery capacity by also filling the huge space (several hundred tons displacement) inside the hull previously occupied by the AIP Stirling engines and their fuel tanks with these new batteries, the amount of (more powerful) batteries carried overall is massive. This has improved the underwater endurance significantly and is felt will be an advantage over the slow recharge capability of the AIP system. In any event, JMSDF believes that lithium-ion is the way forward and intends to 'trial' this new system and compare it to the previous AIP system for operational effectiveness.
Japan offered Sōryū-class submarines to Australia as replacements for the Royal Australian Navy's Collins-class submarines, as part of the Collins-class submarine replacement project. On 9 April 2014, then-Australian Minister for Defence, David Johnston, described the Sōryū class as “extremely impressive” while discussing Australia's future submarine options. On 26 April 2016, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the Australian contract had been awarded to the French-designed Shortfin Barracuda.
India, Morocco, Norway, Netherlands, and Taiwan have also approached Japan, and expressed an interest in buying Sōryū-class submarines. During a visit to Japan, India's then-Union Minister of Defence, Manohar Parrikar, invited the Japanese government to participate in their USD$8.1 billion Project 75I-class submarine procurement program.
|Project no.||Building no.||Pennant no.||Name/namesake||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Home port||Notes|
|31 March 2005||5 December 2007||30 March 2009||Kure|
|31 March 2006||15 October 2008||25 March 2010||Kure||These five submarines are equipped with a new sonar ZQQ-7B.|
|6 February 2007||16 October 2009||14 March 2011||Kure|
|31 March 2008||15 November 2010||16 March 2012||Kure|
|16 March 2009||20 October 2011||6 March 2013||Yokosuka|
|21 January 2011||31 October 2013||9 March 2015||Yokosuka|
|14 February 2012||8 October 2014||7 March 2016||Kure||This submarine is equipped with a new sonar ZQQ-7B and a new satellite communication device.|
|15 March 2013||2 November 2015||13 March 2017||Kure||This submarine is equipped with a new sonar ZQQ-7B, a new satellite communication device and new torpedo counter measures.|
|22 October 2013||12 October 2016||12 March 2018||Yokosuka|
|28 January 2015||6 November 2017||18 March 2019||Kure|
|16 November 2015||4 October 2018||5 March 2020||Kure||These two submarines utilize Li-ion battery propulsion technology|
|27 January 2017||6 November 2019||24 March 2021||Yokosuka|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sōryū class submarines.|
- Japanese website with Diagram
- Soryu Class 16SS SSK Submarine - Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force on navyrecognition.com
- Website on the Imperial Japanese Navy: JMSDF vessels
- SWZmaritime December 2020, Japan special