Sato Class Detroyer (Part 1, 1922-1930):
Originally laid down as the unnamed Kuchikukan 23, Sato was to be the lead unit of a 26-unit strong class of Destroyers. Itself an updated and modified version of the Kuchikukan 14 class, Sato featured the same armament of four 120mm guns and three twin 533mm torpedo tubes but had the hull stretched by 2,1m for an overall lenght of 106,8 and a standard displacement of 1.353Tons. This was meant to allow for extra fuel bunkerage to be carried in order to gain more range over the Kuckicukan 14 class which lacked in this field. The center funnel was also slightly enlarged to allow for a better exhaust from the boiler rooms.
Sato, which being so named during construction became the first Koko no Kaigun destroyer to recieve an actual name, was laid down at Toumachi Naval Arsenal in 1920 and Launched on January 1st 1922. Already almost complete, she was commissioned in record-breaking time just over a month later on february 4th and assigned to Kuchikutai 4 (Destroyer division) even though she was still running her trials.
Her top speed was 34,2knots, some 0,7 less than the Kuchikukan 14 because of the increase of displacement, but range had risen up from 2.600 to 2.800 nautical miles.
When the Washington Naval Treaty was signed, four more units, Destroyers 24 through 27 (still unnamed) were under construction at Hoshiguma Navy Yard (number 25,26), Kousaten navy Yard (number 27) and Kumoi Arsenal (number 24). All the other units up to Destroyer 48 had already been ordered and allocated to their respective building yard.
Still, a number of coupled factors eventually led to the premature demise of the Sato Class: Firstly, the Washington Naval Treaty itself almost grinded to an halt Koko's capital ship contruction plan, reducing the immediate need of new Destroyers that had to be built. Secondly, Sato sea trials showed that while the range had improved over the previous class it was still lacking when compared to other new classes of Destroyers, and the drop in top speed to just over 34knots when other Navies were developing 36 and 37knots units was deemed unacceptable. Finally, Kuckikukans 14 were already themselves a 7,8m stretch over the Japanese Isokazes on which they were based, Sato then added another 2 meters to that, bringing the total stretch to nearly 10 meters without increasing either beam or draft. This resulted in an extremely long and thin hull that was deemed structuraly unsound for prolonged blue-water operations in rough seas.
So, within two months of the Washington Naval Treaty ratification, the whole Sato Class plan was canceled and shelved: The four units under construction were broken up in the yards, the other 21 units already allocated were reordered on a smaller design that later became the Shion Class and as first batch of the larger Okaze Class.
Sato, already in service, was the only ship of her class to survive the axe, and served a long, uneventful second-line career until her first refit during the 30's...
Ships in class: (laid down-launched-commissioned - fate)
Sato 1920-1922-1922 - ?
Destroyer 24 1921-/-/ - Canceled and scrapped 1922
Destroyer 25 1921-/-/ - Canceled and scrapped 1922
Destroyer 26 1921-/-/ - Canceled and scrapped 1922
Destroyer 27 1921-/-/ - Canceled and scrapped 1922
Destroyers 28 through 48 /-/-/ - Canceled and reordered as Shion and Okaze Class units in 1922