Type 74

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Type 74
JGSDF Type74 tank (Public Information Center).jpg
Type 74
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Japan
Service history
In service 1975 – present
Production history
Designer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Designed 1962
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Unit cost $5.4 million
Produced 1975 – 1988
Specifications
Weight 38 tonnes (42 short tons; 37 long tons)
Length 9.41 m (30 ft 10 in)
Width 3.18 m (10 ft 5 in)
Height 2.25 m (7 ft 5 in)
Crew 4

Armor 189–195 mm (7.4–7.7 in)
Main
armament
Royal Ordnance L7 rifled gun
55 rounds
Secondary
armament
M2HB 12.7-mm machinegun
660 rounds
Type 74 7.62-mm machinegun
4,500 rounds
Engine Mitsubishi 10ZF Model 21, 10 cylinders diesel, 21.5 L
750 hp (560 kW)
Power/weight 19 hp/tonne
Suspension hydropneumatic
Operational
range
300 km (190 mi)
Speed 53 km/h (33 mph)

The Type 74 (74式戦車 nana-yon-shiki-sensha?) is a main battle tank (MBT) of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). It was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a replacement for the earlier Type 61. It was based on the best features of a number of contemporary designs, placing it in the same class as the US M60 or German Leopard 1. Like these designs, it mounts the Royal Ordnance L7 105 mm gun. The design did not enter widespread use until 1980, by which point other Western forces had introduced more capable designs.

History[edit]

The JGSDF started studies on a new tank design with Mitsubishi in 1962, as the Type 61 was shown to be incapable of defeating the latest Soviet designs such as the T-62. Features from several designs were incorporated, including the controllable suspension of the US-German MBT-70 project, the hull of the Leopard 1, and the L7 105mm gun. The design included a rotating cupola for the commander, and a new autoloader for the main gun. Prior to the 1965 decision to design an entirely new tank, some technologies which would later be used in the STB-1 were already in development independently in Japan.The design was finalized in 1964 and various test rigs were built between 1964 and 1967.

Design[edit]

Armament[edit]

During the development stage, engineers opted for a license on the NATO standard Royal Ordnance L7 105mm cannon. Japan only produced the barrel under licence, developing an indigenous mantlet, breach and recoil system. The full length of the cannon, was 5,592mm long and the total weight was 2,800kg. Initially the main gun only used APDS (Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot) and HEP (High Explosive Plastic) as its primary ammunition. Later it was modified to fire APFSDS (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and HEAT-MP (High-Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose) shells as well.

Secondary armament consisted of a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (660 rounds) and a 7.62 co-axial machine gun (4500 rounds).

Mobility[edit]

The Type 74 tank is powered by the Mitsubishi 10ZF Model 21 10-cylinder two-stroke cycle diesel engine providing 750 hp (560 kW). At 19 hp/tonne, its power-to-weight ratio is similar to the French AMX-30. The maximum quoted road speed of the Type 74 is 53 km/h, however, speeds of at least 60 km/h have been achieved.[1][2]

Armor[edit]

Type 74 adopted welded steel plates for hull construction instead of composite armor as used on the later Type 90 main battle tank. However, sloped armor is extensively used to defeat armor-piercing shells and other kinetic energy penetrators. Type 74 has a frontal hull armor of 80 mm with an effective armor thickness of up to 189 mm for the upper glacis and 139 mm for lower glacis. Side armor is 35 mm, while rear armor is 25 mm thick. The cast steel turret has an estimated 195 mm armo. When compared against second generation MBTs the Type 74 has more armor than a Leopard 1 (122mm and 140mm), but less than comparable Soviet vehicles such as the T62 (174mm and 204mm).[3]

Service[edit]

The first prototype, designated STB-1, was delivered in late 1968 and underwent a number of modifications until 1969. The autoloader proved too complex and expensive, and was removed, additionally the remote controlled anti-aircraft machine gun was removed. The design of the turret was also changed, becoming longer. These changes resulted in the STB-3, which was delivered in 1971. The final prototype designated STB-6 was delivered in 1973. Production finally started as the Type 74 in September 1975, with 225 being delivered by January 1980. Production ended in 1989, with total production running to 893 examples.

In service, the tanks were updated with the addition of infra-red imagers rather than image intensifiers for the commander and gunner, and a laser rangefinder in the commander's cupola. The gunner's position included a digital fire control computer, fed range data from the commander's range finder. Rounds for the main gun were upgraded from HEP to APFSDS and HEAT-MP.

The Type 74 was considered outdated even before it entered service. The Type 90 was to have replaced it outright, but with the end of the Cold War these plans were scaled back. In 1993 four Type 74's were improved to the new Type 74 Kai (改) [Type 74 mod G (G型)] standard, adding a passive infrared camera and side skirts . The upgrade proved to be extremely expensive, and the program was abandoned.

Variants[edit]

Rear view.
Front view.
  • Type 74 first mod (74式戦車 初期生産型)
  • Type 74 mod B (74式戦車 B型)
  • Type 74 mod C (74式戦車 C型)
  • Type 74 mod D (74式戦車 D型)
  • Type 74 mod E (74式戦車 E型)
  • Type 74 mod F (74式戦車 F型)
  • Type 74 mod G/Kai (74式戦車 G型/改)

Operators[edit]

 Japan - 893 produced between September 1975 and 1989, with 225 delivered by January 1980. 822 in service in 1990, 870 in service in 1995 and 2000, 700 in service in 2006.[4]

See also[edit]

Type 61 - Type 74 - Type 90 - Type 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ Type 74, Main battle tank, Army Guide 
  2. ^ "Type 74 (Nana-yon) - Main Battle Tank". =Militaryfactory.com. 
  3. ^ ja:74式戦車
  4. ^ Ground Self-Defense Forces

In the The Amazing World of Gumball series, Gumball, the series' protagonist attempts the use the Komaji Cheat Code to summon a Type 74 tank.

External links[edit]