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Japan is replacing its major battle tanks with wheeled tank destroyers

TOKYO, (BM) – The Japanese Self-Defense program to replace the main battle tanks with wheeled tank destroyers continues, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the the Japanese Ministry of Defense statement.

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The Japanese military intends to purchase 33 new vehicles called Type 16 (MCS) by the end of this year. It’s planned these wheeled vehicles to be used by Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF). As conceived by the strategists, these “21st century tank destroyers” will replace the more powerful, but also more expensive Type 90 and Type 11 main battle tanks.

These vehicles are well suited for transportation by aircraft, which allows them to be deployed throughout the Japanese archipelago. In this regard, American experts have suggested that Japan buys wheeled tanks in case of war in the Kuril Islands.

Nevertheless, plans for the reorganization of the tank economy of the Self-Defense Forces of Japan were reported back in 2014. According to the plans of the military, the available fleet of main battle tanks, designed to repulse the hypothetical offensive of the Soviet army, is now outdated and does not meet modern requirements. The threat vector has shifted from the Russian direction to the Chinese one and therefore it was proposed to replace the tanks with lighter wheeled vehicles.

In total, according to the plans of the Ministry of Defense of Japan, during the reform until 2026, 300 new Type 16 tank destroyers will be delivered to the troops, while 740 tanks will be withdrawn from service.

Tokyo will spend more than two billion dollars on the purchase of 33 Type 16 cars in accordance with Japan’s defense budget for 2020. Developed in 2008 by the Institute of Technical Research and Development of the Moscow Region, these vehicles are the development of ideas driven on similar wheeled tanks, such as the South African Rooikat and the Italian B1 Centauro.

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Type 16 is designed for defense and tactical reconnaissance. It can provide fire support for infantry and is able to effectively destroy enemy equipment and fortifications.

The wheeled combat vehicle is armed with a 105-mm gun and two machine guns. 105 mm rifled gun, is a licensed copy of the British Royal L7 artillery. Thus, the gun is compatible with standard NATO 105-mm ammunition. The gun does not have an automatic loader, so the crew is increased to 4 people. Wheel formula 8X8, power reserve of 400 km, speed up to 100 km / h. Type 16 is available from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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