ISLAMABAD-The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has introduced a new submarine to its fleet that runs on lithium-ion batteries. The vessel named Ouryu, launched in 2018 but was recently welcomed into service at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shipyard in Kobe recently. It is the first Japanese submarine to use the technology, which requires less maintenance and allows for longer endurance at high speeds of 20 knots while submerged compared to lead-acid batteries.

The Ouryu is the sixth Soryu-class boat to be built by MHI and is 276 feet long, 2,950-pound submarine that supports a crew of 65 people and carries up to 30 21-inch heavyweight torpedoes. Ouryu was christened in June of 2018, but was recently brought into service. Masao Kobayashi, former head of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s submarine fleet, said that this technology requires less maintenance and provides longer endurance at high speeds while submerged compared to lead-acid batteries. However, he also noted that Ouryu cost $608 million compared to the $488 million to build those without the batteries.