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Type 90

Main battle tank

Type 90 MBT

The Type 90 main battle tank for a period of time was the most expensive production MBT

 
 
Country of origin Japan
Entered service 1989
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 50 t
Length (gun forward) 9.76 m
Hull length 7.5 m
Width 3.43 m
Height 2.34 m
Armament
Main gun 120 mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm, 1 x 12.7 mm
Elevation range - 12 to + 15 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns ?
Mobility
Engine Mitsubishi 10ZG diesel
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 400 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 1 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 2 m

 

   Development of the new Japanese Main Battle Tank (MBT) commenced in 1976. It was intended to replace the Type 61 medium tanks in service with Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF). The new tank was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in cooperation with German Krauss-Maffei and MaK tank manufacturers. Consequently the tank has a number of external similarities with German Leopard 2. First prototype of the Type 90 was built in 1982. This MBT was officially adopted by the JGSDF in 1989 and the initial deliveries commenced in 1990. A full-scale production began in 1992. Production is now complete. The Type 90 is among the best MBTs in the world. Furthermore for a period of time it was the most expensive production MBT. Original Japanese army requirement was for 600 of these tanks, however only about 340 were built due to high unit price. This tank was never exported, as at the time Japan laws did not allow export of military equipment.

   The Type 90 has an all-welded hull and turret. Its composite armor has superior resistance qualities. Half of the ammunition is stored in the turret bustle with blow-out panels. The Type 90 has a laser warning receiver, which can automatically trigger smoke grenade dischargers. Such protection system allows to reduce the chances of being hit by anti-tank missiles with semi-automatic laser guidance. The tank is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

   This MBT is armed with German Rheinmetall Rh-M-120 120 mm smoothbore gun, which was produced in Japan under license by Japan Steel Works. It fires HEAT-MP and APFSDS-T rounds, but is also compatible with all standard NATO 120 mm tank ammunition.

   This Type 90 tank is fitted with am autoloader. This feature permitted a three-man crew, as the loader was no longer needed. At the time presence of an autoloader was unusual feature. Before only Soviet tanks were fitted with automatic ammunition loading systems. Autoloaders were not used on contemporary Western tanks. However autoloaders of the Cold War era Soviet main battle tanks had one common problem as the ready-to-use ammunition was stored in the main compartment, rather than a separate compartment. In this case once the armor is penetrated it can trigger detonation of onboard ammunition. Japanese designers addressed this problem by relocating the autoloader in the turret bustle with blow-out panels. So ready-to-use ammunition is separated from the crew. Autoloader of the Type 90 tank holds 20 rounds, stored in the turret bustle that are ready to fire. The rest of ammunition is stored in front of the hull. The gun has to be depressed to 0 degrees to be loaded after each shot.

   Computerized fire control system for the Type 90 was developed by Mitsubishi. At the time it was one of the most advanced fire control systems in the world. It gives a high first round hip probability and, accurate mobile firing. Furthermore it has hunter-killer engagement capability, which enables to engage multiple targets rapidly. This feature was new at the time when this tank was introduced. Commander uses an independent panoramic sight to search for targets. Once the target is selected the gun is laid on the target automatically and the gunner completes all targeting and firing process. However either the gunner or tank commander can aim and fire the main gun.

Fire control system of the Type 90 is reportedly more advanced than those used on the French Leclerc, German Leopard 2A5 and American M1A2 Abrams.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on top of the roof.

   Vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

   The Type 90 main battle tank is powered by Mitsubishi 10ZG diesel engine, developing 1 500 horsepower. This MBT has a high power-to-weight ratio of 30 hp/ton. Vehicle has a hydropneumatic suspension. It allows this MBT to "kneel", giving a number of advantages. A dozer blade or mine rollers can be mounted at the front of the hull.

   Recently a new Type 10 main battle tank was developed by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. It entered service with Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces in 2012. However it is smaller and lighter than the Type 90. Also it has inferior armor protection, but is very agile and can be briefly deployed. The main role of the Type 10 is to support infantry with its firepower rather than to combat enemy tanks. The Type 10 replaces the ageing Type 74 and supplements the Type 90 tanks.

 

Variants

 

   Type 90 armored recovery vehicle;

   Type 91 armored bridgelayer.

 

Video of the Type 90 main battle tank

 
Type 90 MBT

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Type 90 MBT

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Type 90 MBT

Type 90 MBT

Type 90 MBT

Type 90 MBT

Type 90 MBT

Type 90 MBT

Type 90 MBT


 
Type 90 MBT

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