Modern Japanese Other Vehicles

Type 16 Manoeuvre Mobile Combat Vehicle (MCV)

modern Japanese tanks Japan (2016)
Wheeled Tank Destroyer- 80 built

The Type 16 MCV (Japanese: – 16式機動戦闘車 Hitoroku-shiki kidou-sentou-sha) is one of the Japanese military’s latest developments. The MCV originally stood for ‘Mobile Combat Vehicle’. In 2011, this changed to ‘Maneuver/Mobile Combat Vehicle’.
Classed as a wheeled tank destroyer, the Type 16 is much lighter and faster than the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force’s tanks. As such, it is far more flexible in its deployment options. It can traverse tight rural trails and heavily built up city blocks with ease, or even be air transported for island defense if necessary.

Side view of the MCV. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The Type 16 project began life in 2007-08 and was led by the Technical Research & Development Institute of Japan’s Ministry of Defense. Work on the first prototype began in 2008. A series of four tests began following this.
Test 1, 2009: This tested the turret and chassis separately from each other. The turret was mounted on a platform for firing tests. The chassis – without engine and transmission – was put through various stress tests.
Test 2, 2011: Gunnery systems were added to the turret such as the Fire Control System (FCS), aiming devices, and traverse motors. The engine and transmission were also introduced onto the chassis. The turret was also introduced to begin evaluation of the 2 components together.
Test 3, 2012: Alterations made to the turret, gun mounting, and chassis. A small trial production run of four vehicles started, with the first of the vehicles unveiled to the media on the 9th of October 2013.
Test 4, 2014: The four prototypes were put through their paces by the JGSDF. They took part in various live fire and combat condition training exercises until 2015.

Following these tests, Type 16 was approved and orders placed for 200-300 vehicles with the aim of getting them into deployment circulation by 2016. The MCV is to built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Komatsu Ltd. usually produces the Japanese Military’s wheeled vehicles – APCs, carriers – but the contract was given to Mitsubishi as the company has more experience building tanks and vehicles.
The total cost of the development, revealed by the Japanese MOD, was 17.9 Billion Yen (183 Million US Dollars), with each vehicle projected to cost ¥735 Million Yen (Approx. US$6.6 Million). This was also one of the required features of Type 16, to be as cheap as possible. This amount of money may seem like a lot, but when it is compared to the individual cost of one Type 10 Main Battle Tank at ¥954 Million Yen (US$8.4 Million), it is an amazingly cheap vehicle for its prospective capabilities.


The Technical Research & Development Institute based their design on similar vehicles across the world, such as the South African Rooikat and the Italian B1 Centauro. A number of the internal systems were based on the American Stryker APC.
The Tank Destroyer consists of a long chassis, with 8 wheels and a rear mounted turret. It is crewed by four personnel; Commander, Loader, Gunner all stationed in the turret. The Driver is located at the front right of the vehicle, somewhat in between the first and second wheels. He controls the vehicle with a typical steering wheel.


Mobility is the most crucial part of this vehicle. The chassis and suspension are to that of Komatsu’s Type 96 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). It is powered by a 570 hp water-cooled four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. This engine is placed at the front of the vehicle, to the left of the driver’s position. It provides power to all eight wheels through a central drive shaft. Power is then divided off to each wheel via differential gearings. The front four wheels are the steering wheels, while the rear four are fixed. The manufacturer of the engine is currently unknown, though it is likely to be Mitsubishi. The MCV is fast for what is quite a large vehicle, with a top speed of 100 km/h (62.1 mph). The vehicle weighs 26 tonnes, with a power to weight ratio of 21.9 hp/t. The tyres are imports from Michelin.

The Type 16 displays its maneuverability at the Fuji training grounds. Photo: tankporn of Reddit


The vehicle is armed with a 105mm Gun. This gun, a licensed copy of the British Royal Ordnance L7 built by Japan Steel Works (JSW), is the same one found on the long-serving Type 74 Main Battle Tank. The Type 16 is the newest vehicle to use what is now a quite outdated, but still capable weapon in the form of the L7 derived 105mm. Originally entering service in 1959, the L7 is one of the longest-serving tank guns ever produced. The gun is, in its substance, the same to the Type 74’s albeit with an integrated thermal sleeve and fume-extractor. It does feature a unique muzzle brake/compensator, consisting of rows of nine holes bored into the barrel in a spiral formation.

Close up of the unique muzzle break on the Type 16s 105mm gun. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The barrel is also one-caliber longer. The gun on the Type 74 is 51 calibers long, the Type 16’s is 52. It is still able to fire the same ammunition though, including Armor Piercing Discarding-Sabot (APDS), Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS), Multi-Purpose High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT-MP), and High Explosive Squash-Head (HESH). The Type 16 is equipped with a Fire Control System (FCS). The properties of this are classified, but it is believed to be based on the FCS used in the Type 10 Hitomaru MBT.
Loading of the gun is done manually due to balancing issues with the turret. The deletion of the autoloader also saved on development and production costs. Secondary armament consists of a coaxial 7.62 mm (.30 Cal.) machine gun (on the right of the gun) and a Browning M2HB .50 Cal (12.7mm) machine gun mounted on the loader’s hatch at the right rear of the turret. There are banks of integral smoke dischargers on the turret; one bank of four tubes on each side. Around 40 rounds of ammunition for the main armament are stored in the rear of the vehicle, with a ready rack of about 15 rounds in the turret bustle.
Type 16 MCV
Get the Type 16 MCV and help support tank encyclopedia ! By Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet
Type 16 MCV by Andrei ‘Octo10’ Kirushkin
Illustration of the Type 16 MCV by Andrei ‘Octo10’ Kirushkin, funded by our Patreon Campaign.


Mobility is this tank’s protection, as such armor is not exceptionally thick. Exact armor properties of the MCV are not currently known as they are still classified, much the same as the Type 10’s armor. It is lightly armored to save on weight and keep the MCV maneuverable. It is known that it consists of welded steel plates providing protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. It is reported that the frontal armor can stand up to 20 and 30 mm shells, and the side armor is at least enough to stop .50 caliber (12.7mm) rounds. The undercarriage is vulnerable to mine or IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks, but as it is a defense based vehicle it is not meant to enter mined territory.

The bolt-on armour can be seen on the front end of the Type 16. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Defenses can be bolstered with the use of bolt-on modular hollow metal plates, just like the Type 10 MBT. These can be added to the bow of the vehicle and the turret face. Being modular, they are easy to replace if damaged. These modules are designed to give protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and hollow-charge projectiles, such as Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG). When tested, they were shot at with the Swedish Carl Gustav M2 84mm hand-held Anti-Tank Recoilless Rifle and the armor was not defeated.

Doctrinal Woes

In its intended operation, the Type 16 was designed ground forces in repelling any contingency an attacking enemy may put into action, from conventional to guerrilla warfare. The MCV would play a supplemental supporting role to the JGSDF tank forces by supporting infantry and engaging IFVs.
When facing an attacking enemy force, tanks, specifically the Type 90 ‘Kyū-maru’ and Type 10 ‘Hitomaru’ Main Battle Tanks, would take on the brunt of the attack from defensive positions. Exploiting the enemy’s focus on the largest guns, the MCV – as its name suggests – will maneuver to a more concealed area, engage an enemy vehicle while it is occupied by the tanks, then withdraw once the target has been destroyed. It would then repeat the process.

Type 16 with a Type 10 MBT behind during a display on the Fuji training grounds. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
With its lightweight construction, the Type 16 is air transportable via the Kawasaki C-2 transport aircraft. In Japan, this ability is unique to the Type 16, and allows it to be quickly deployed – in multiples if necessary – on the various smaller islands in Japanese waters. A great asset to the defensive capabilities of the garrison units of these natural outposts.
However, the Type 16 currently finds itself in a predicament, meaning it is having to adapt from its original role of Infantry Support and Tank Destroyer. This is due to a combination of two reasons; budget and sanctions.
In 2008, there were major budget changes in the Japanese Ministry of Defense, meaning reduced spending on new hardware and equipment. As a result of this, the new Type 10 Main Battle Tank, unveiled in 2012, became too expensive to fully re-equip the JGSDF Tank Arm. As such, the cheaper Type 16 became the obvious choice to replace aging tanks and bolster the JGSDF stocks of armor.

Type 16 of the 42nd Regiment, 8th Division of the JGSDF on exercise. Note the attached cab over the driver’s position. This is used in non hostile areas or for parades. Photo: SOURCE
Here is where the issue of the Sanctions come in. The strict sanctions still imposed on the Japanese military only allow a total of 600 tanks to be maintained in active service. An extract from the 2008 Budget is presented below:

“Development conducted with the intention of not procuring vehicles such that, when added to the total number of tanks in service, the number does not exceed the total authorized number of tanks (600 in the current Defence White Paper)”.

To stay in line with these sanctions, older tanks like the aging Type 74 will finally start to be officially removed from service, and are set to be replaced by the Type 16. This has already begun to happen on Honshu, Japan’s main island, with plans to retain most of the Ground Forces’ tanks on the Islands of Hokkaido and Kyushu.

Type 16 driver operating the vehicle ‘head-out’. Photo: SOURCE
As it is a very new vehicle, it remains to be seen how much deployment the Type 16 will see or how successful it will be. It is unknown what or if any variants or modifications are planned for this vehicle.

An article by Mark Nash


Dimensions (L-W-H) 27’9” x 9’9” x 9’5” (8.45 x 2.98 x 2.87 m)
Total weight 26 tonnes
Crew 4 (driver, gunner, loader, commander)
Propulsion 4-cylinder water-cooled
turbocharged diesel engine
570 hp/td>
Speed (road) 100 km/h (62 mph)
Armament JSW 105mm Tank Gun
Type 74 7.62 machine gun
Browning M2HB .50 Cal. Machine Gun
Produced >80

Links & Resources
The Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) website
Japanese MOD Paper, dated 2008. (PDF)
Japanese Defense Program, 17/12/13 (PDF)

By Mark Nash

Member since 2016. Specializes in weird. 113 articles & counting...

12 replies on “Type 16 Manoeuvre Mobile Combat Vehicle (MCV)”

Hello TE,
Is that the correct flag? I know the JSDF use this flag, but on your other articles just the country flag is just shown.
Kindest Regards,

Sometimes, seemingly for arbitrary reasons, the army flag is used as opposed to the national flag.
I’ll make a note that we should standardise this when we begin our major overhauls and standardisations of articles.
-TE Editor

I find the development of lighter armored vehicles with medium (below 120mm, above 30mm) armament such as the Centauro, Type 16, Rooikat etc. very interesting. But why did they not developed a new 105mm Gun?

> it is an amazingly cheap vehicle for its prospective capabilities.
Wat. It’s got an outdated L7, APC-tier protection with no IED protection, no auto-loader and a conventional layout with mobility comparable with other wheeled tank destroyers, that by 80% the price of a last gen MBT? How is that cheap? Cheaper maintenance sure, but that price tag is insane.
For reference the B1 Centauro, with similar performance, goes for less than half that. The Rooikat 105 goes for even less at about US$2 Million.
It might fit their doctrinal needs right now, but really, it isn’t cheap.

Actually, due to the relatively low production number, most Japanese weapons are not considered cheap. For example, one Type 89 rifle costs 3,800 USD (origin unknown); and the Type 16 and Type 90 MBT are good examples.
As the 8×8 vehicles are essential for mobilization, more and more countries are eager to purchase or develop them. Good examples are US M1126 family, Chinese ZBL-08/VN-1, Japanese Type 16 and Russian VK7829 Bumerang. The 8×8 vehicles equipped with 105mm rifled guns, like US M1128, Japanese Type 13/16, Italian B1 and Chinese ZTL-11, would play a role of tank destroyers like the M18 Hellcat in WWII, due to the fact that they are quite lighter than modern MBTs and have a higher speed on roads.

The reason why they (and most countries) choose L7 gun as the main armament varies. L7 has a relatively low recoil when compared to the 120mm or 125mm MBT guns, therefore making it possible for L7 guns to be mounted on wheeled vehicles. The L7 has been tested in several wars and has proved itself reliable. New rounds including ATGMs and APFSDS could reach the level of early 120mm/125mm ammunition, which can pose a great threat to early 3rd-gen MBTs and most IFVs.

It is made in Japan, they have different wages and currency which is a lot more in demand. So it is not surprising that they can’t manufacture their own armaments at reasonable prices. Similar thing had happened and with Leclerc tank in 2000’s when it had costed twice that of its competition.

This is not really a tank destroyer. It is armored fighting vehicle, AFV. A broad class for various wheeled vehicle types. It can’t be a tank destroyer due to its turret and very underwhelming firepower. It neither can hunt for tanks due to its wheeled configuration making it very clumsy in cross country.

Vehicle itself is quite a lemon. We do not have proper tank destroyers anymore. These wheeled vehicles are far from a tank destroyers, because they lack firepower. Even 120 mm struggles to penetrate modern armor, 105 does not have chance in hell to do so. Its cross country mobility is poor and thus can only be mobile on roads. Its protection is negligent. It however cost marginally less than a full main battle tank.

I honestly can’t see only how it is inferior to targets which it is supposed to hunt. Furthermore, building your own vehicles are expensive, especially without huge procurement of said vehicles. It is even more puzzling of why nation would bother designing their own more expensive vehicles if existing vehicles on a market can do job just as well.

Ernestas, your views are amazingly simplistic. Japan has very unique requirements due to its geography and the political constraints of its military. It needs easily deployable vehicles and systems, lightweight for easy transport and not an excess burden on their logistics train. And if you think that a 105 is puny, it is certainly not. Of course it will have difficulty in punching through the frontal armor of a modern MBT, but no wheeled vehicle in the world is designed to slug it out with an MBT, have it a 120 or 125 cannon or not! That is why militaries around the world develop doctrines and then weapons to fulfill that doctrine, and I think that the Type 16 is a well balanced weapon for what it is designed to do, and certainly going into a frontal assault against MBTs is NOT what it is designed to do. No wheeled vehicle in the world is! I suggest you read (better yet, peruse) the article again because the answer to most of your rants is right there.

The one thing that the article does not go into, is that even though expensive, the sole capability of designing and the capacity to build certain numbers of modern weapons (whatever they be), even at great expense, is in itself an asset and a deterrent. It develops your industrial and engineering base which cascades into other aspects of your economy, civilian products, your production of science and engineering, etc. Japan certainly has the economic and engineering capability to so, not every nation has it, of course. Though expensive, it can have a ripple effect that may have long lasting and important repercussions in other aspects of your country’s development. And it is a deterrent because, even if the production of these weapons or vehicles might be in small numbers, if things heat up and escalate, or there is a change in policy, then many more can be quickly produced, which may deter aggression. Capicsi?

This vehicle is truly interesting, being one of my favorites, and quite enjoy using it in War Thunder.
While replacing old MBT’s such as the aging Type 74’s may seem ineffective, we have to take into account how old the Type 74 is now, and the times we are in today, as well as logistics. The Type 74 was an MBT, focus more on fighting head-on, while the ’16 is a tank destroyer-type vehicle. While the 105mm is ‘obsolete’ by some, it still works a charm, and recoil is more manageable on the light chassis compared to a 120+ caliber gun. The Type 16 is not a brawler, and won’t exactly hold its own too well against an enemy MBT – in terms of surviving shots.

Now, some thoughts I’ve had about the future with the Type 16. While it is definitely potent, one has to wonder- would it seem logical to perhaps give the vehicle a suspension system similar to the MBT’s of Japan, being able to adjust the chassis to elevate/depress, tilt forward/backwards and left/right? While most likely expensive to produce/modify existing vehicles/maintain, it would most definitely make the vehicle more flexible, and expand what elevation angles the Type 16 has as it stands, especially in regards to Japan’s terrain woes. An autoloader would seem nice, but as mentioned in the article, balance issues plagued the idea. At least we know it was tried.

Welp. Might as well leave it off here. Have a nice day, if you’re reading this far. 🙂

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