Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle

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Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle
The Type 16 on display at Camp Nihonbara
TypeWheeled armored vehicle[a]
1. – armoured car
2. – assault gun
3. – tank destroyer
Place of originJapan
Production history
DesignerTRDI (Technical Research & Development Institute)[b]
Designed2007 onwards
ManufacturerMitsubishi Heavy Industries
Unit cost700 million yen (5.1 million USD) [1]
Producedplanned start in 2015
No. built142 (as of FY2020)[2]
VariantsMitsubishi Armored Vehicle
Mass26 tonnes
Length8.45 m (27 ft 9 in)
Width2.98 m (9 ft 9 in)
Height2.87 m (9 ft 5 in)
Crew4 [c]

105 mm L/52 gun (developed by Japan Steel Works)[3]
12.7 mm (0.5 in) M2 Browning machine gun, 7.62 mm NATO coaxial Sumitomo Type 74 machine gun (replacing M2 Browning) Type 96 40 mm Automatic grenade launcher or FN Minimi 5.56 mm NATO light machine gun[4]
Engine4-cylinder water-cooled
turbocharged diesel 11.3 litre
570 hp (430 kW)
Power/weight21.9 hp/tonne
SuspensionWheeled 8 x 8
400 km (250 mi)
Maximum speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (16式機動戦闘車, Hitoroku shiki kidō sentōsha) is a wheeled armored fighting vehicle of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).

The Type 16 MCV equips designated combat units. Due to its light weight and small size, it is designed for easy deployment (by aircraft if needed) allowing rapid movement on narrow roads and in built-up areas in response to various contingencies. Despite its small size and light armor, it can successfully attack much larger armored fighting vehicles as well as personnel, using its large caliber gun.[5]


MCVs are expected to be highly functional, but can also be loaded on Kawasaki C-2 transport aircraft.[6] JMSDF is dedicated to securing transport vessels for maritime transport independently, and will be carried on these vessels and transported to the Okinawa Islands.

The main gun is manually loaded as a cost-saving measure. Some critics have expressed doubts about its effectiveness due to this strain on the crew in hot conditions, as the vehicle does not have air conditioning.[7]

In 2009, resistance testing of the shielding against HEAT rounds was conducted using the Carl Gustav M2; and against regular kinetic ammunition the frontal shield was developed to resist shots from 20 mm to 30 mm autocannons while the side armor was deemed sufficient to resist 14.5 mm heavy machine gun fire.


PR image from the TRDI / MOD illustrating MCV and possible use.

The first concept for a Japanese wheeled chassis mounting a 105 mm cannon appeared with the "Future Combat Vehicle" [ja] (将来装輪戦闘車両) program in 2003. The program was centered around a universal wheeled chassis mounting a variety of weaponry including a 40 mm CTA cannon, 120 mm mortar system, 155 mm howitzer, and a 105 mm cannon. The Future Combat Vehicle program was cancelled due to development expenses, but the concept for a 105 mm cannon would be expanded upon in the Light Combat Vehicle Program.

The LCV program was a technology demonstration to explore the viability of multiple concepts that would possibly be integrated into the Maneuver Combat Vehicle development.[8] These include IED and mine resistance, individual motors inside of the wheels, air transportability inside of a C-2 and Lockeed C-130 Hercules, passive hydro-pneumatic suspension to reduce recoil and a double action low recoil cannon[9] that could provide indirect and direct fire. Initial designs for the LCV called for a 6x6 design,[8] but that concept was scrapped in favor of an 8x8 design for the MCV. Other concepts that would be omitted from the Type 16 include the in-wheel engines, transport inside of the C-130, and indirect fire capability of the main cannon. The IED/ anti-tank mine resistance became an optional plate for the undercarriage that Type 16 crews can special order for their vehicle.[4] After the concept was confirmed to be viable, work began on creating a new vehicle that would incorporate what was learned from the LCV project.

The Technical Research & Development Institute of Japan's Ministry of Defense had made several prototype vehicles since 2008. They unveiled their fourth of what were initially called "mobile combat vehicle" prototypes on 9 October 2013. JGSDF service Acceptance tests were scheduled to begin in 2014 or 2015, with initial operational deployment by the JGSDF planned for 2016.[10][11] 99 MCVs were originally planned to be introduced by the end of FY 2018.[7] The name of the vehicle was changed to maneuver combat vehicle during the second half of 2011.

For FY2016, the MOD has requested funding for 36 examples of the MCV, to enter service with elements of the 8th Division at Kumamoto, and the 14th Brigade at Zentsūji. Both formations are currently planned for conversion to rapid reaction forces[12] (though these plans, as with the original plans for the MCV, were as of mid-2015 under review and subject to possible major revision. The intention is for the MCV to act as both as a rapid reaction asset against conventional incursions on the outer islands and as a counter-insurgency vehicle against asymmetrical attacks in urban areas of Japan by enemy special forces, intelligence operatives, or their proxies.

The MCV was part of a new armored vehicle strategy that prioritized light air-transportable firepower. Originally the number of main battle tanks was to be reduced from 760 to 390, with most remaining tanks to be concentrated on the main Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Kyushu. Some 200–300 MCVs were to be procured and these would be airlifted to islands when and where they were needed. The idea was that the smaller, lighter, and faster MCV could be redeployed quicker than tanks to better defend the outlying islands.[13] This represented a shift in Japanese armored vehicle structure from one designed to repel a Soviet invasion from the north to a more mobile force aimed at possibly defending against a Chinese invasion of the southern island chain.[7]

The MCV was intended to help re-equip existing divisions and brigades reorganised into mobile (rapid reaction) divisions/brigades, as well as equip new dedicated rapid reaction regiments alongside (eventually) the Light-weight Combat Vehicle System (LCV) which was also designed with defense of the outer islands in mind.

On March 15, 2023, ATLA announced that 250 MCVs will be brought into JGSDF service.[14]




  1. ^ From a doctrinal standpoint, the Type 16 operating as a quick reaction fire support vehicle to fulfill the job of a main battle tank means that it is closer to a light tank than tank destroyer.[citation needed]
  2. ^ Became the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency in 2015.
  3. ^ some prototypes equipped with an autoloader had a crew of three


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Defense Budget". www.mod.go.jp. Ministry of Defense. Archived from the original on 11 May 2020.
  3. ^ "16式機動戦闘車". combat1.sakura.ne.jp.
  4. ^ a b "16式機動戦闘車 仕様書 GV-Y120003C.pdf". Google Docs.
  5. ^ "防衛省・自衛隊:防衛省ウェブサイトのHTTPSへの切り替えのお知らせ" (PDF). www.mod.go.jp. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2012.
  6. ^ [空輸試験性能 http://oretumariore.blog121.fc2.com/blog-entry-780.html]
  7. ^ a b c Japan To Emphasize Military Mobility With MCV, Defensenews.com, 12 October 2014
  8. ^ a b "軽量戦闘車両システムの研究(その1)-フィージビリティスタディ-" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 March 2017.
  9. ^ "TRDI News". Technical Research & Development Institute. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Army of Japan unveils its new MCV 8x8 High Mobility Combat Vehicle", Armyrecognition.com, 11 October 2013
  11. ^ Japanese MCV Combat Vehicle Design Unveiled – Armedforces-Int.com, 11 October 2013
  12. ^ "Record defense budget request shifts focus to islands closest to China". The Asahi Shimbun. 1 September 2015. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  13. ^ Japan going light on tanks in new defense plan Archived 28 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Asia.nikkei.com, 22 November 2013
  14. ^ "DSEI Japan 2023: Japan plans induction of 250 Type 16 MCVS".