Type 90 Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1992 Total Production: 341 Unitary Cost: JPY¥1.2 billion (USD$10 million) Also Known As:Kyuumaru and TK-X Origin:Japan Corporations: Japan Steel Works and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries* (*) lead contractor
Description: The Type 90, also known as 90TK or Kyuumaru, is a 50-ton class Main Battle Tank (MBT) designed and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to provide increased firepower, mobility and protection than previous generations of MBT fielded by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). The TK-X tank program was started by Japan in 1974 with the first prototype introduced in 1977. The final TK-X tank was ready for production in 1990. The tank only requires a crew of three-man. Externally, it looks like the German Army's proven Leopard 2 A4 MBT and it is also deemed as one of the best heavy armor tanks currently in service. The Type 90 entered service with the JGSDF in 1990/1992 with approximately 300/400 tanks produced so far as replacement for the Type 74s. The original scope of the TK-X program called for the production of up to 800 tanks.
The Type 90 is equipped with a Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore, stabilized gun with an automatic loading system replacing one member of the crew, loader. The tank features 40 120mm rounds with 25 of them ready-to-fire using the autoloader. The 120mm cannon was produced under license by Japan Steel Works. In addition, it is equipped with a 7.62mm machine gun and a roof-mounted M2 12.7mm machine gun as secondary armaments. The tank is powered by a Mitsubishi 10ZG 10-cylinder air-cooled two-cycle diesel engine developing 1,500-hp and allowing a top speed of 70 kph on road. The fire control system includes a laser rangefinder and thermal imaging camera with capability for engagements stationary or on the move against moving or stationary targets. The turret features a special sensor to warn the crew about laser-guided weapons aimed at the tank.