Type 90 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 10:38 pm

Japan’s Type 90 Main Battle Tank is the main battle tank of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). It was a replacement for the Type 74 MBT.  Although the Type 90 main battle tank and all of its components, except for the main gun, were designed entirely in Japan, the tank bears similarities to America’s M1 Abrams and Germany’s Leopard 2.

The first prototypes of the Type 90 MBT were completed in the 1980s, and the first production vehicles were built in 1992.

The Type 90 main battle tank has six pairs of road wheels. There is a hybrid suspension.  The center wheels have torsion bars and the first two and last two wheels have hydropneumatic units. The idler is in the front and the drive sprocket is in the rear. Skirts cover the upper part of the suspension.

A  Mitsubishi 1500 horsepower water-cooled diesel engine powers the Type 90 main battle tank.

Steel and ceramic composite armor covers the front of the hull and turret.

Main armament on the Type 90 main battle tank is a German Rheinmetall L44  4.72 inch (120mm) smoothbore gun that is produced in Japan under license. The gun can fire HEAT-MP and APFSDS-T rounds.
Type 90 main battle tank. Source: Paul Beaver for Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide
A computerized fire control system allows the main gun to be fired accurately when the tank is stationary and when it is moving.

The main gun has an automatic loader.

Secondary armament includes a 0.3 inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft machine gun. There are three pairs of smoke grenade dischargers.

Except for the main gun, the rest of the tank and all of its subsystems were designed in Japan.

The Type 90 main battle tank is operated by a crew of three – driver, commander and gunner. A human loader is not needed, as there is an automatic loader.  The driver sits in the front of the hull. The commander and gunner sit in the turret – the commander on the right and the gunner on the left.

The powerpack is in the back of the tank.

There is a laser rangefinder, an NBC system and passive night vision equipment.

Attachment points for a bulldozer blade are on the font hull.

Variants of the Type 90 main battle tank include an armored recovery vehicle, a bridgelayer and a mine clearer.

The JGSDF is planning to replace the Type 90 with a new tank, the Type 10 main battle tank.

Japan’s Type 90 main battle tank should not be confused with China’s Type 90 main battle tank, which was created during the development of Pakistan’s Al Khalid MBT.


Type 90 MBT

Active: 1992
Crew: 3
Weight: 49 tons (50,000kg)
Length: 24ft 7in, (7.5 m), 32ft (9.76m) with gun forwards
Height: 7ft 8in (2.34m)
Width: 11ft 3in (3.43m)
Weapons: Main – Rheinmetall L44 4.72in (120mm) smoothbore gun, Secondary – 0.3in (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun, 0.5in (12.7mm) anti-aircraft machine gun, 3 pairs of smoke grenade dischargers
Armor Classified
Engine: Mitsubishi 10ZG 10-cylinder water-cooled diesel, 1500hp
Speed: 43 mph (70kph) forward, 26 mph (42kph) reverse
Range: approximately 249 miles (400 km)