The Last Samurai: Japan is decommissioning all Type 74 tanks, but what will it do with them?

Armored vehicles Japan

For Japan, March is a time when the country holds various holidays, festivals, ceremonies for launching and commissionштп ships into the fleet, etc.

But this year, March in Japan was the month of decommissioning of a tank of the era, namely the Type 74.

In accordance with the government’s military reorganization program, the 9th and 10th tank battalions were officially disbanded on March 20.

Until now, they have remained relatively large tank units using Type 74 as part of the 9th and 10th Infantry Divisions of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces.

Currently, the remnants of these vehicles in the amount of up to 30 units are part of the 13th Tank Company (16 tanks) and the JGSDF Fuji School tank training unit consisting of two companies (up to 15 tanks).

But it should also be noted that the 13th Tank Company is scheduled to be disbanded this month, which will put an end to the use of Type 74 tanks in combat units.

As for the history of the tank, between 1974 and 1989, MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) produced 873 tanks of this type.

From the very beginning, Type 74 was used in absolutely all tank battalions and regiments of divisions, and after the reorganization in the 1990s, in brigades.

In its philosophy, the tank resembles the West German Leopard 1 tank while having many differences related to dimensions, better appearance, and more developed electronics.

At the time of its adoption in 1974, the tank’s innovations included the use of a laser rangefinder and an analog computer for calculating the range and angle of the gun.

Were it not for the weapons export restrictions that are currently in place in Japan, Type 74 tanks could have become a substantial reinforcement for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The use of a world-class L7A1 105mm gun would allow the use of similar ammunition as Leopard 1 tanks.

However, unfortunately, most of the decommissioned tanks will be disposed of, and only a small part will be stored for about 10 years, after which will also be disposed of.

What is the replacement of the Type 74?

As such, the Type 74 tank has no direct replacement. Tank units that were equipped with these vehicles were disbanded, and their personnel were transferred to combat reconnaissance battalions. There, they serve on Type 16 wheeled armored fighting vehicles with 105 mm gun, which ensured their relatively easy retraining.

In turn, the modern and new Type 10 tanks have become a partial replacement for the Type 74, but after 2019, their purchases were aimed at replacing the Type 90 tanks in the northern army.

Armored vehicles Japan