Type 74 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 10:05 pm

Japan’s Type 74 main battle tank was designed to be an improvement over the Type 61 MBT.

Mitsubishi began designing the Type 74 main battle tank in 1964. The first two prototypes of the tank, which was then designated the STB-1, were completed in 1969.

More prototypes, known as the STB-3 and STB-6 were then built, and the tank entered production in 1973, at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries tank plant at Sagimahara.

In 1975, the first production models of the Type 74 main battle tank were finished.
Type 74 Main Battle Tank
The Type 74 main battle tank has a hydropneumatic suspension. The driver can adjust the tank’s suspension to accommodate movement across different types of terrain.  

Ground clearance can range from 8 inches (0.2m) to 2 feet 1 inch (0.65 meters).

The driver can raise and lower the front and the back of the tank up to 6 degrees, and he can tilt the tank from side to side, up to 9 degrees.

There are five pairs of road wheels and no track return rollers. The idler is at the front and the drive sprocket is in the back.

The Type 74 main battle tank weighs 37 tons (38,000kg).

It as of all-welded steel hull and a cast steel turret.

Main armament on the Type 74 main battle tank is a fully stabilized British L7 4.13 inch (105mm) gun that is produced in Japan under license. Secondary armament includes a 0.3 inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun. The tank has three pairs of smoke grenade dischargers. 

The turret is electrically powered and the main gun can be elevated from -6 degrees to +12 degrees (with the suspension, from -12 degrees to +15 degrees).

An infrared searchlight is located to the left of the main gun.

The type 74 main battle tank has a laser rangefinder, an NBC system and a ballistic computer.

Some models have a fitted dozer blade.

A four man crew operates the Type 74 main battle tank. The driver sits at the front left of the hull.  The commander, gunner and loader sit in the turret – the commander and gunner on the right and the loader on the left.

The commander’s cupola has 360 degree traverse.

Prototypes of the Type 74 had an automatic loader, but it was decided that it an automatic loader would be too costly to add to production models, so a human loader was retained.

The engine and transmission are in the rear of the tank.

Variants of the Type 74 main battle tank include an armored recovery vehicle and a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun system.

Production of the Type 74 main battle tank ceased in 1989. The Type 74 was replaced by the Type 90 main battle tank.

About 870 type 74 MBTs have been built. The tank has only been used by the Japan Ground Self Defense Force.


Type 74 Main Battle Tank

Active: 1975
Crew: 4
Weight: 37 tons (38,000kg)
Length: 21ft 11in (6.7m), 30ft 10in (9.42m) with gun forwards
Height: 8ft 1in (2.48m) to top of turret
Width: 10ft 5in (3.18m)
Weapons: Main – L7 4.13in (105mm) gun, Secondary – 0.3in (7.62mm) coaxial machinegun, 0.5in(12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun, 3 pairs smoke grenade dischargers
Armor Classified
Engine: Mitsubishi 10ZF Type 22 WT 10-cylinder air-cooled diesel, 720hp
Speed: 37mph (60kph)
Range: 249 miles (400 km)