May 25, 2017

First picture of LIBs and LABs for Japanese submarines, LIB research graph

Just received May 25, 2017 

Precise details of yet to be deployed submarine batteries are usually tightly held secrets. However the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) has exhibited transparency by providing the following document to Submarine Matters 

The document provides:

-  a diagram of a Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) used in larger numbers (than LABs) in future Soryus (to
   be launched through to the early 2020s) and then in the new Japanese submarine class that will 
   emerge in the mid 2020s.

-  the first picture of a Lead-acid Battery (LABs) used in their hundreds in each Japanese Oyashio
   and Soryu class submarine

Too difficult for Submarine Matters to cut, paste, put on website and fully translate the whole Japanese document. However I converted PDF into WORD. This allowed part Japanese character translation using


On the document, the Battery in center of picture, is an image of the Japanese Navy's (JMSDF's) new Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) which weighs 770 kg, with dimensions 444mm x 431mm x 1647mm. 

These LIBs will be used on 27SS the first Soryu Mk 2 see the Oyashio-SORYU Table. 27SS, being built at MHI, might be launched this year (2017) and may be commissioned in March 2020. The longer than usual trial-commissioning period is for testing such new battery technology.

- on the left of battery document in blue are the LIB battery management system components.



I was able to retrieve an image of the above LAB battery (in document it is on the right). This would be installed in all current Japanese submarines. This battery weighs 880 kg. 
Dimensions are 444mm x 432mm x 1665mm

A LIB Battery development graph (in Japanese) comparing Japanese and foreign progress is included below the battery pictures.


Separately Howies Marine has produced this interesting Youtube (below) of Japan's changeover from LABs + AIP to LIBs. The Youtube also broaches the subject of the US returning to a part diesel-electric (SSK) submarine service.

The big risk for Japan might be that even if the US re-introduced some SSKs (using LIBs) into the US Navy the US would return to building its own SSKs (not rely on Japan). The US might even sell SSKs in competition against existing SSK builders.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

GS YUASA, the second biggest LAB manufacture [1, 2] in the world offers battery system to J-submarine.

[2] The biggest is Johnson Controls (


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous


Johnson Controls is also heavily into LIB develop - already many batteries in cars - and "Specialty Solutions" (maybe submarines?)



Wispywood2344 said...

Hi Pete.

ATLA announced the schedule of FY2017 central procurement.[1][2][3][4]
The items related to 29SS are as follows;

COTS computer suite "OYX-1" [2]
Sonar system "ZQQ-8" [2]
Radar system "ZPS-6H" [2]
ESM system "NZLR-2" [2]
Tactical display system "ZQX-12"[2]
Torpedo tube system (submarine system laboratory) [2]
Sonar system (submarine system laboratory) [2]
Simulator (submarine system laboratory) [2]
Hull [3]
Diesel generator system [3]
High-pressure air reservoir [3]
Main battery "SLH" [3]*
Optronics mast "Non-hull-piercing periscope type1 mod1" [3]
Weapon system network [4]
Weapon system network (submarine system laboratory) [4]

*Lithium ion battery



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Judging from important imformation on 29SS [1] which Wispywood2344 offered. 29SS equips with modificatined optical mast, dieasel generator and high pressure air tank.

In diesel generator, possible modifications are inhencement in power by increased bore, stroke and/or charging presure, and reduction in vivbration/noise, etc. Obiously, new diesel generators (such as V16, V20, etc) are not adopted in 29SS.

The other interesting information [2] is that ATLA (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency) is going to study on prototype submarine shape. Last year, ATLA [3] showed Alfa-class-like submarine with X-shaped rudder.

This table clearly shows that specifications of optical mast, dieasel generator and high pressure air tank for 29SS are revised.

The last row of the table lists the research on prototype submarine shape for hydrodynamic noise reduction and this research is continued to Mar/2021.

[3] ATLA Technical Symposium 2016.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete (continued to 6/6/17 6:48 AM)

I compared diesel of Soryu [1] and latest commercial diesels [2, 3] with the similar size and the same engine type. KAWASAKI-12V/25/25SB shows similar performance as KAWASAKI-12PA6V-280CL (power/volume of 16.2kW at 10m/s), but has less power (3/4) than Wärtsilä 26. So, increase in power of modified 12V/25/25SB for 29SS may be more than 30% achieving 3000kW, and if bore and/or stoke incrase, further increase in power is expected.

[1] KAWASAKI-12V/25/25SB
Engine type V12, bore 250mm, stroke 250mm, volume 147L, piston speed 10m/s, power 2280kW, power/volume 15.4kW/L

[2] KAWASAKI-12PA6V-280CL (
Engine type V12, bore 280mm, stroke 350mm, volume 258L, piston speed 8.4m/s, power 3540kWm, power/volume 13.6kW/L

[3] Wärtsilä 26, 12V26 (
Engine type V12, bore 260mm, stroke 320mm, volume 204L, piston speed 10.7m/s, power 4080kW, power/volume 20.0kW/L


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Germany is going to develop next genation submarine equipped with LIBs.
(UDT Europe 2017: Next-gen submarines on the horizon)


Peter Coates said...

Hi Wispywood2344 and Anonymouses

There seems to be much competition between national submarine builders on new propulsion technology announcements.

I would say Japan is 2 years ahead of Germany in LIBs. I suspect Japan has trialled LIBs on one or two of the last Harushio class - designated training-testbed

I don't know if TKMS has done the same amount of LIBs testing? Is one of the 212As trialling a mixture of LABs and LIBs?



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

LIBs trial by using Harushio is not reported. As budget system of Japan is crystal clear, MOD can not conduct such a secret research. As voltage (36V) of unit LIB module is much higher than that (2V) of unit LAB module, replacement of LABs by LIBs needs entire change of main power circuit and actually is impossible. Besides difference in power circuit system, LIBs need different equipments such as fire extinguishing systems.

Japan has already established the standard of LIBs for ship which includes various tough rquirements, and Japanese LIB-submarine satisfys this standard and submarine specific requirements.

Besides development of LIBs for submarine, LIB-submarine builder is required to satisfy the similar conditions, and degree of development of LIB- submarine depends on how the builder currently satisftys these conditions. In the case of TKMS, I think research on LIBs makes progress, because TKMS could not offer LIBs/FC-AIP submarine (TYPE216) without various data on LIBs for submarine.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Resently, The Australian reported that Turnbull aminisration refused US advice to prefer Japanese subs. I think US recommendation was right. J-subs have many advantages such as most advanced LIBs, established and reliable building technology, timely delivery, early acquisition, comformity with US combat sytem, and low-price, etc. Also, many possibilies including evoltion of submarine are expected.

Presumably, RAN did not satisfy with ITO-LIBs in J-subs. But, if PM Turnbull phoned PM Abe and request NCA, PM Abe directly would have ordered MOD to satify the request.

[1] (Turnbull government rejected US advice to prefer Japanese subs)

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

DCNS unveils second-generation fuel cell (FC-2G) and LIBs for submarine [1]. I show schemes for FC-2G and Methanol Reforming FC as follows.

In FC-2G (scheme 1), fuel oil is used hydrogen source. Fuel oil is cracked into prodct from which hydrogen generates via water gas shift reaction. Hydrogen and sythetic air is introduced into FC generating electricity. In methanol reforming FC (scheme 2), hydrogen which generates from methanol by reforming and pure oxygen are introduced FC generating electricity.

According to DCNS, advatages of FC-2G over Methanol Reforming FC are non-use of poiseness methal and use of fuel oil. FC-2G adopts modular system.

Scheme 1 (FC-2G)
Fuel Oil --> (Cracking) --> Product --> (Water Gas Shift Recation) --> Hydrogen --> Fuel Cell <-- Synthetic Air (Oxgen + Nitrogen) <-- LOx tank

Scheme 2 (Methanol Reforming FC)
Methanol --> (Reforming) --> Hydrogen --> Fuel Cell <-- Oxygen <-- LOx tank

My comment:
Validation though actural operation is needed. This sytem looks comlex and how do they maintain the system? According to head [2] of DCNS, LIBs are explosive. Does explosion of LIBs tigger explosion of hydrogen?

(Submarines: DCNS unveils fuel cell AIP)


Ms de Bailliencourt said no one had yet come close to mastering lithium-ion battery technology for submarines and she felt Japan was rushing it to give its submarine the range Australia needed.
“If our friends, the Japanese, are offering you a submarine with lithium-ion batteries, ask yourself why.
“It’s a very, very risky move.”
This view was backed by scientific and mathematical analysis, Ms de Bailliencourt said.
“We know that the lithium-ion technology is the same as that used in cars, and in cars they explode,” she said.


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymouses

Thankyou for the information on propulsion (LIBs, AIP and diesel engines)

I'll write a Sub Matters article around 14 June on European versus Japanese advances in propulsion.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Submarine experts point out requirements of diesel engine [1,2].

Prime requirement is shortening of operation time to reduce detectedness where quick start and stop of diesel are needed. During surveillance, snorkeling is repeated in a short time where high load operation is conducted without the warm-up operation [3] and operation is stopped suddenly stopped [4]. Diesel engine exposed to thermal stress due to locally elevated temperature caused by rapid high loading. High slidability and lubricity are also required.

Second requirement is compactness which provides enough space for maintenance by crews in long operation period

Third requirement is high pressure to exhaust gas in water. At start when rotation speed is low, diesel shows function as a compressor to blow about water inside of snorkel, and at snorkeling when exhaust vent is repeatedly coverd by water, diesel shows fuction of blower to blow about invadting water from snorkel. These fuction needs extra-power.

Fouth and other requirement are matching between inbtake and exhaust tubes, and safety device to stop engine. At snokelling, even if exhaust vent is coverd by water, diesel is operated by using air in submarine until certain limit. Beyond this limit diesel stops.

My comment:
Diesel for submarine is quite different from ordinay marine diesel. Seperior material as well as very high design capacity is needed.Genrally, diesels for subs can be break down into small parts for maintainace in factory.

[1] SHIPS OF THE WORLD, 7, 2017.NO.862, page 104, “TODAY’S SUBMARINE” by Masao Kobayashi, Ex-commander of submarine fleet and Vice-Admiral (JMSDF).

[2] “Perfect Guide of Mechanisim in Submarine” by Tadashi Sano, Ex-director of Submarine Design Dev., KHI.

[3] (JPN)
Warming up on a ship:
Although it is the same as a truck and the like in a small ship, it takes time until the whole of the large diesel engine warms up, and if it moves while it is cold, it will cause a big temperature difference depending on the location of the engine, causing the engine to break. Before starting, warm air by external power is required. First, before starting, coolant and oil are warmed by a boiler and forcibly circulated by a pump to heat the entire engine externally. At this time, "turning" the engine to warm the cylinder by rotating the engine with external power such as an electric motor or a small engine is done. Move the intake device of the engine when it gets warm enough to start sending compressed air. This operation becomes longer for larger engines, and it is not unusual for large ships to take more than 30 minutes to warm up.

All turbochargers are lubricated via the engine's pressurized oil system, meaning that engine oil is constantly circulated through passages entering and exiting the bearing cartridge. While a vehicle is driving and the turbocharger is functioning, it becomes hot - the temperature of the turbocharger is relative to load. When a vehicle has been driven and is abruptly shut off (and the oil flow to the turbocharger ceases), engine oil contained in the turbocharger absorbs heat from its surroundings. If the temperature of the turbocharger prior to shut down is great enough, the oil risks burning and will have a tendency to create deposits in and around the turbo bearings in addition to contaminating the engine oil supply.