Type 10 (TK-X) Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Type 10 (TK-X) is an advanced fourth-generation main battle tank (MBT) manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, for the Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF). The MBT can be deployed in a wide range of missions including anti-tank warfare, mobile strikes, special operations force attacks and other contingencies.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence placed an order with the main contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for up to 13 Type-10 MBTs in 2010. The tanks entered into service with Japan in 2012.

Development of the Type 10 MBT

Fuji2011type10-015Type 10 (TK-X)

The development of the Type 10 MBT was initiated by the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) in 2002. A prototype of the tank was completed in 2006. Running tests were conducted through 2007 and 2008, and shooting and networking trials were performed thereafter. TRDI completed the development in 2009 and started producing the tanks in 2010.

Type 10 MBT design and features

Image: news.xinhuanet.com

The Type 10 MBT is the replacement of the Type 74 and Type 90 MBTs, which are in service with the JGSDF. It features significant enhancements in manoeuvrability, protection, fire power and performance becoming one of the world’s top 10 main battle tanks.

Type 74 MBT

Image: From the web

Development of the new Japanese MBT to supplement the Type 61 commenced in the early 1960s, when it was realized that the Type 61 would not be able to counter the threat posed by the latest Soviet designs such as the T-62. The new Japanese tank was designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The first prototype was completed in 1969. The first production vehicle was completed in 1975. This tank uses a number of best features of contemporary Western designs, placing it in the same class as the M60 Patton and Leopard 1. However it saw widespread use only in 1980s, when more capable Western designs were introduced. So the Type 74 was generally out-dated even before it entered service. Production ended in 1989 and about 890  tanks built. Japanese Ground Self Defense Force is the only operator of this MBT, as this county laws do not allow to export military equipment.

   A cast turret of the Type 74 is broadly similar to that of the French AMX-30. This main battle tank is armed with a fuly-stabilized 105-mm rifled gun. It is the British L7 gun, manufactured in Japan under license. Prototype of the Type 74 was fitted with an autoloader, however it proved too complex and expensive, and was removed. Initially the Type 74 used HEP rounds. These were later upgraded to APFDSD and HEAT-MP. A total of 55 rounds are carried for the main gun. 14 rounds are stored in the turret bustle and are ready to use. Remaining rounds are stored in the hull.

   Fire control system of this main battle tank was very advanced. For the first time in the world a tank was fitted with advanced computer for ballistic calculations. It also had a laser rangefinder. In service tanks were later upgraded with infra-red imagers.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and a roof-mounted 12.7-mm MG.

   The Type 74 has an all-welded hull. It fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

   This MBT has a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

Image: From the web
Entered service 1975
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 38 t
Length (gun forward) 9.42 m
Hull length 6.7 m
Width 3.18 m
Height 2.67 m
Main gun 105-mm rifled
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm, 1 x 7.62-mm
Elevation range – 6 to + 12 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 55 rounds
Machine guns 600 x 12.7, 4 500 x 7.62
Engine Mitsubishi 10ZF Model 22 diesel
Engine power 720 hp
Maximum road speed 53 km/h
Range 400 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 1 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1 m
Fording (with preparation) 2 m

Source military-today.com

Type 90 Kyū-maru MBT

Image: From the web

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.

Image: From the web
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
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 ?
Engine Mitsubishi 10ZG diesel
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 400 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 1 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 2 m

Source military-today.com

The tank accommodates a crew of three including commander, gunner and driver. It has a length of 9.4m, width of 3.2m and height 2.3m. The gross weight of the tank is 44t and the combat weight of 48t. The MBT can be transported by trains and trucks.


name 10 type tank 90 type tank 74 Tank
Overall Weight Approximately 44 tons Approximately 50 tons Approximately 38 tons
maximum speed Equivalent to 90 type tank 70 km / h 53 km / h
Main gun High power than 90 type tank 120 mm slide gun 105 mm rifle cannon
An occupant 3 3 Four
C4I × ×
cost Approximately 700 million yen 8 to 900 million yen Approximately 400 million yen

Source m3i.nobody.jp

Type 10 MBT-X Future Main Battle Tank

Image: globalsecurity.org

Armament and protection of Type 10 tank

Image: fun.jjang0u.com

The Type 10 MBT is equipped with a turret fitted with an automatic loading system. The turret can be rotated through 360° in traverse to determine the enemy targets. It is armed with a 120mm L44 smooth-bore gun, which is licence-built by Japan Steel Works.

120mm L44 smooth-bore gun

Image: From the web

Though the weapon can use all compatible NATO 120 mm rounds, as well as the standard 120 mm rounds used by the JGSDF, the Hitomaru gun can also fire the Type 10 APFSDS (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding-Sabot) round. This round is unique to the tank, and can only be fired by this specific gun.

As mentioned, the 120 mm is equipped with an auto-loading mechanism which negates the need for a dedicated crew member. As such, the Type 10 only has a crew of 3 with the commander and the gunner in the turret, and with the driver in the hull. The auto-loading mechanism is positioned in the rear section of the turret, giving it that rather large appearance. The gun is aimed with the assistance of various day and night compatible 360-degree view range sighting arrays. The barrel is also tipped with a muzzle reference sensor. Mounted on the right of the muzzle, this sensor is designed to detect any amount of warp in the barrel. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com

Image: From the webammunitionThe gun is capable of firing all 120mm NATO standard ammunition, though Japan develops its own rounds – Image: planobrazil.com

The secondary armament of the Type 10 MBT consists of a M2HB 12.7mm heavy machine gun and a Type 74 7.62mm co-axial machine gun. The turret is also fitted with smoke grenade launchers.

M2HB 12.7mm heavy machine gun

Image: From the web
Type Heavy machine gun
Caliber 12.7x99mm NATO
Magazine Belt fed
Operation Short recoil, closed bolt
Fire selector 0-1-F
Rate of fire 450 – 575 rpm
Barrel length 1.143 mm
Rifling 8 grooves, 381 mm twist
Muzzle velocity 887 m/s
Length 1.650 mm
Width ?

Source weaponsystems.net

Type 74 7.62mm co-axial machine gun


The tank’s hull is equipped with nano-crystal steel, fourth generation modular ceramic composite armour for protection against rocket propelled grenade (RPG) rounds, HEAT projectiles, and anti-tank missiles. The add-on modules can be easily removed and installed to alter the protection levels.

Image: From the webFour smoke grenade launchers – Image: tanknutdave.comImage: From the webImage: news.xinhuanet.com

It is also fitted with a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system and automatic fire suppression systems.

Observation and fire control of the Japanese main battle tank

The Type 10 tank is equipped with an enhanced fire control system to engage stationary and moving targets. The tank also fitted with a laser range finder.

Gunners Sight

Type-10-MBT (12)In the image the laser range finder and shots are located on the side and top section of the gun. Gunners sight is on the right in the picture – Image: planobrazil.com

The commander’s station is fitted with a panoramic sight, mounted on the right of the turret. It provides day / night observation and target identification.

Commander’s panoramic sight

Commander’s station is fitted with a panoramic sight (background) – Image: news.xinhuanet.com


Image: news.xinhuanet.com

The MBT is fitted with a digital battlefield management system (BMS) that provides increased situational awareness by displaying the required information. The tank also boasts of advanced sensor systems and sophisticated C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) equipment, which allows the tank to communicate and share information with other tanks in the GSDF network.

The intelligence C4I system also enables the MBT to work together with the troops in the infantry’s outdoor computer network, Regiment Command Control System (ReCS) during integrated combat operations.

C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) equipment

Diagram of how the C4I system works. 1: Command vehicle spots the enemy vehicle. 2: Commander plots the vehicle’s position using the C4I computer system. 3: The information is shared to other tanks in the area. 4: With the information, the target is acquired. 5: Target is engaged. Author’s illustration. – Source tanks-encyclopedia.com

The C4I system gives the tank the ability for direct communication within the JGSDF network, allowing the tank to share digital information with command positions as well as the infantry’s outdoor computer system, the Regiment Command Control System (ReCS). This allows both armor and infantry to work with the utmost cohesion.

The Japanese Government is understandably, very secretive about the system. As such, exact details of how it operates, or images of the system are not available as of this time. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com

The C4I control panel in the Commanders position of the Type 10. Photo: – Kamado Publishing  – Source tanks-encyclopedia.comThe Type 10 with dozer blade attached. Note the cut-outs in the middle of the blade for the tank’s headlights 

Laser detection system

Image: planobrazil.com

Laser emission detection system just below the periscope. These sensors are arranged at each corner of the tank.

Type-10-MBT (9)Image: planobrazil.com

Type 10 MBT engine and mobility

Image: From the web

The Type 10 tank is powered by water-cooled, four-cycle, eight-cylinder diesel engines coupled with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox. The engine generates a power of 1,200hp.

The tank is equipped with hydro pneumatic active suspension and offers superior mobility. It can accomplish a speed of about 70km/h forward as well as reverse. It has an operational range of about 440km.

Image: From the web

Because of such transmission this MBT can go reverse at full speed of 70 km/h. The Type 10 main battle tank is also fitted with a state-of-the-art semi-active hydropneumatic suspension. The tank can “sit”, “stand”, “kneel” or to “lean” in any direction. This feature gives a number of advantages, especially operating in mountainous terrain. Some tanks are fitted with a front-mounted dozer blade. Source military-today.com

Image: From the web
Country of origin Japan
Entered service 2012
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 44 t
Length (gun forward) 9.48 m
Hull length ~ 6.8 m
Width 3.24 m
Height 2.3 m
Main gun 120 mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 12.7 mm, 1 x 7.62 mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun ?
Machine guns ?
Engine diesel
Engine power 1 200 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range ~ 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 1 m
Trench ~ 2.7 m
Fording ~ 1 m

Specification military-today.com

Main material source army-technology.com

Type 11 ARV

Image: wikimedia.org

The Type 11 Armored recovery Vehicle (ARV), is currently the only variant of the Type 10 Hitomaru. The driver and commander share a single compartment on the left front of the vehicle. On the right is a large heavy-lift boom. The vehicle retains the hydropneumatic suspension, allowing it lower if necessary for ease of vehicle recovery. The vehicle also carries a Browning M2HB .50 cal for personal defense. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com

Revised May 24, 2017


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