Self-defense forces are the official name of the armed forces in modern Japan. In accordance with the Potsdam Declaration in 1945, the country's army was disarmed and demobilized. 30 of November of the same year dissolved the Military and Naval Ministries with all their subordinate bodies. Japanese military personnel were denied retirement rights.
The Japanese Constitution, adopted in 1947, states in an 9 article: “Sincerely striving for international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as the sovereign right of a nation, as well as the threat or use of force resolving international disputes. To achieve the goal indicated above, land, sea and air forces, as well as other means of war, will never be created in the future. The right to a state of war is not recognized. "
However, this provision has never been interpreted too straightforwardly. Back in January, 1950, the commander-in-chief of the American occupying forces, General Douglas MacArthur, in an address to the Japanese people, said that Japan had the right to self-defense. A few months later, on July 8, in accordance with his order, the formation of a police reserve corps of 75 thousand people began. The Japanese-US Security Assurance Treaty, concluded in 1951, stated that Japan itself would increasingly assume responsibility for its own defense against direct and indirect aggression. In August 1952, the Japanese government transformed the police reserve corps into a national security corps and increased its strength to 110 thousands. In September, on the basis of this corps, 1953 began the creation of the Self-Defense Forces - the name from 1 July 1954 of the year remains with the Japanese armed forces to this day.
Finally, the structure of the Self-Defense Forces of Japan was formed by 1976 and has not undergone significant changes since then. The Supreme Commander is the Prime Minister, in which there is an advisory body - the National Security Council, and direct command and control fleet carry out the Office of National Defense (UNO) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the respective headquarters of the combat arms. The main governing body in this system is the DNA, led by a civilian department head with the rank of Minister of State. The Self-Defense Forces include the land, air and naval self-defense forces. Ground units are the most numerous. They serve 148 thousand people. They consist of five armies, 13 divisions (including one tank), several brigades (including one airborne) and a number of units of central subordination. The ground forces are armed with more than 1000 tanks, 2000 artillery pieces and rocket launchers, and about 500 aircraft and helicopters.
The only Japanese 7th Panzer Division is considered the main striking force of the ground forces. It is intended for counterattacking, as well as for covering the flanks of infantry divisions and other tasks. The division has seven regiments (three tank, motorized infantry, artillery, anti-aircraft missile and artillery, rear support), three battalions (reconnaissance, engineering, communications) and two companies (headquarters, army aviation) The number of personnel is about seven thousand. Armament: over 200 tanks, more than 200 armored combat vehicles, up to 70 field artillery guns and mortars. The division is deployed on the island of Hokkaido and is subordinate to the command of the Army "North" - the largest and most efficient in the Self-Defense Forces. In addition to the tank division, armored vehicles are in service with other units. So, in the composition of each infantry division there is a tank battalion, numbering up to 60 combat vehicles.
"74" - the basis of armored forces
In the 50s, at the initial stage of building the Self-Defense Forces, their armor consisted mainly of American military equipment, including light tanks М24 and М41, as well as medium МХNUMXА4 and М3. However, already in 47-m in Japan, the development of own medium tanks of the first post-war generation began. From 1954 to 1957, several prototypes were made under the index from ST-A1962 to ST-A1. In their design, on the one hand, the pre-war traditions of Japanese tank building continued, associated with the installation of an air-cooled diesel engine in the hull aft at the front drive wheels, on the other hand, it is clear that the American tank M4 served as a prototype for the design.
In 1962, the new medium tank was adopted under the brand name «61». He was in serial production from 1962 to 1972 year. During this time, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has released 560 units.
In connection with the arrival of troops in the second half of the 90-ies of tanks "90" machine "61" were removed from service. By 2000 in the Self-Defense Forces, they no longer exist.
The development of a new medium tank was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1962 and was carried out as part of a program that included the reinforcement of the fleet of 61 tanks and then its full replacement. After seven years of research and development, in September 1969, the first two ST-B1 prototypes were manufactured. They took into account all the achievements of the world tank building at that time, as well as implemented numerous original designs by Japanese designers: automatic loader guns, a remote control system for an anti-aircraft machine gun, a new hydromechanical transmission, a hydropneumatic suspension of the road wheels, and much more. Prior to 1973, a series of prototypes from ST-B1 to ST-B6 were made, the design of which was simplified as the design progressed. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces adopted a tank in 1975 under the designation “74”, and mass production began in the same year. From 1975 to 1991 year manufactured 873 units.
The layout of the tank «74» classic, with aft arrangement of the engine compartment. Unlike the 61 on the 74, the driver is located in the forward part of the hull on the left. The hull is welded from rolled armor plates, the tower is cast, hemispherical in shape, resembling the towers of Soviet tanks, as well as the towers of the AMX-30 and Leopard-1 machines. The maximum thickness of the frontal hull armor is 110 millimeters, the angle of inclination of the frontal sheet to the vertical is 65 degrees. All units and systems of the tank are of national development, except for the 105-mm gun L7A3, manufactured under the English license. The gun has a concentric recoil device and is stabilized in two planes. Targeting a cannon at the target and shooting can be carried out by both the tank commander and the gunner. The vehicle’s sighting set includes a commander’s combined (day / night) periscope sight, which includes a ruby laser range finder with a measuring range from 300 to 4000 meters, a J-3 main periscope combined sight, and an auxiliary telescopic articulated monocular gunner sight. Night devices of the active type, the backlight is made using a xenon spotlight mounted to the left of the gun. The tank's ammunition consists of 55 shots, 4500 7,62 caliber cartridges and 660 12,7 caliber cartridges.
The 74 tank is equipped with a two-stroke diesel 10-cylinder V-type air-cooled Mitsubishi 10ZF 22WT turbocharged engine. Its power is 720 horsepower (529 kW) at 2200 rpm. A mechanical planetary Mitsubishi MT 75A transmission with friction shifting gears (6 + 1) and differential turning mechanism is located in the stern in a single unit with the engine. The suspension is hydropneumatic, adjustable, the clearance varies from 200 to 650 millimeters, the trim of the body is plus or minus six degrees, the roll is plus or minus nine degrees. Installation of elastic suspension elements is made inside the case. The tension of the track can be adjusted from the driver’s seat using the hydraulic tensioning mechanism. The tank is equipped with a system of protection against weapons mass destruction (OMP), automatic fire extinguishing system (PPO) and equipment for underwater driving of tanks (OPVT).
The combat weight of the tank is 38 tons. The maximum speed is 53 kilometers per hour, the range on the highway is 300 kilometers. Crew - four people. The limited carrying capacity of the chassis and the relatively small power of the engine did not allow for the modernization of the tank by increasing the level of armor protection and installing more powerful weapons, as was done in most European countries and the USA. Nevertheless, "74" is still the basis of the armored forces of the Self-Defense Forces: as of 2010, there were 560 tanks of this type in combat units.
"90" - in the top five in the world
On the basis of the tank "74" 155-mm self-propelled howitzer "75", BREM "78", ZSU "87" and bridge laying "91" were developed. The first three machines were manufactured in series and are in service with the Self-Defense Forces.
From 1976, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has developed a new tank under the ST-C to replace the 61 and 74 tanks. The German firms Krupp-MaK and Krauss-Maffei AG participated in the design, creating Leopard machines. It is not surprising that the 1989 main battle tank, adopted in 90, has a significant external resemblance to the Leopard 2 tank.
The hull and tower of the tank are welded, the armor is multi-layered, spaced out, with extensive use of ceramic elements. The upper frontal hull sheet is located at a very large angle to the vertical, while the frontal and side plates of the tower are located without any tilt angles. Protection of the case is enhanced by anti-cumulative screens.
The 120-mm stabilized in two planes smoothbore gun of the German company Rheinmetall, manufactured in Japan under license from Japan Steel Works, can fire all ammunition of this caliber developed in Germany and the USA. An automatic machine gun is used to load the cannon using a mechanized ammunition located in a niche of the turret and containing 20 shots. The latter circumstance, the Japanese, apparently, considered it a weighty reason for the liquidation of the loader in the crew. However, they are not alone.
Developed by Mitsubishi Electric, the fire control system is considered one of the most advanced in the world. It includes an electronic ballistic computer that automatically takes into account corrections for target speed, crosswind, distance to the target, roll of the axles of the gun trunnions, air temperature and atmospheric pressure, the tank’s own speed and barrel wear. Manually it introduces corrections for charge temperature and type of shot. In addition, the system includes a panoramic periscopic combined commander's sight stabilized in two planes with nighttime thermal and laser distance measuring channels, a combined gunner's periscopic sight stabilized with a nighttime thermal channel and an auxiliary gunner's telescopic articulated sight.
In addition to the gun, the 90 tank armament includes two machine guns: the 74 machine gun of the 7,62 caliber of millimeter paired with the gun and the MMNUMXHB anti-aircraft gun of the millimeter 2 caliber mounted on the roof of the tower between the hatches of the commander and gunner. On the sides of the tower in the stern of its mounted six smoke grenade launchers "12,7" caliber 73 millimeters. The ammunition includes 60 rounds, 40 4500 caliber cartridges and 7,62 660 caliber cartridges. When firing 12,7-mm smoothbore guns, non-warped armor-piercing sabot tracer shells with a detachable tray and multipurpose anti-tank cumulative shells with semi-flammable sleeves are used.
Mitsubishi M-10ZG 12 X-horsepower 1500 two-stroke V-turbo-diesel mounted on a tank with 2400 revolutions per minute allows the 50-ton combat vehicle to reach a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour. Good mobility indicators are provided by a hydromechanical transmission with a lockable torque converter, an automatic planetary gearbox (4 + 2) and a hydrostatic transmission in a steering drive.
The chassis consists of six rubberized rollers on board, three supporting rollers, a rear wheel drive with removable toothed rims (pinching gear) and a guide wheel. The suspension is combined, on two front and two rear support rollers, hydropneumatic servomotors are installed on each side and torsion shafts on the others. Caterpillars have metal treadmills, RMSH and removable rubber pads.
The “90” tank is equipped with a high-speed automatic anti-theft system, which reacts to the infrared radiation of the ignition source, and a system for protection against weapons of mass destruction. There is a warning system about the irradiation of the tank with laser means of the opponent
The installation batch of new tanks was released in 1990 year, mass production was carried out with 1992-th. As of 1 in January 2010, the 341 tank 90 entered into service with the Japan Self-Defense Forces. It should be noted that, like most Japanese military programs, the development of the 90 tank was very long, and mass production went extremely slowly, as a result of which the cost of one machine is the highest in the world. At the same time, according to foreign experts, "90" is one of the five best tanks in the world. The production of 90 has now been completed.
10 is a new generation
13 February 2008 in Japan held a public demonstration of a new generation tank, which absorbed all the most modern design solutions in the field of tank construction and was created taking into account the experience of local conflicts in recent years. A prototype of a promising MBT was shown to journalists at the research center of the Ministry of Defense of Japan in the city of Sagamihara. The presented combat vehicle has a length of 9,42 meter (with a cannon forward), width - 3,24 meters, height - 2,3 meters. Weight - 44 tons, crew - three people. The main armament is located in the turret - 120-mm smoothbore gun, 7,62-mm coaxial and 12,7-mm anti-aircraft guns. It is possible that the new machine, like the 90 tank, is equipped with an automatic loader, located in the aft niche of the turret. The maximum speed is about 70 kilometers per hour. Like its predecessors, it has a hydropneumatic suspension, allowing you to change the clearance of the tank and tilt it to the left or right side. The reduced number of rollers as compared to the 90 machine is five on board, and the distance between them is greater. In general, in appearance, the suspension of a new tank resembles the 74 OBT.
The new machine has incorporated all the most modern developments in the field of tank construction. It is equipped with an electronic system C4I, combining the possibilities of control, guidance, communication and intelligence. The system allows the automatic exchange of information between tanks. The fire control system (LMS) makes it possible to effectively deal with small moving targets. This function, in combination with a modern modular composite booking system, is said to allow the tank to operate equally successfully in combat with both armies with modern MBT and partisan forces whose main anti-tank weapons are anti-tank grenade launchers. In the report of the Japanese television about the new machine, considerable attention was paid just to the "anti-terrorism" potential of the tank and its protection against various RPG-7 variants.
In the external appearance of the tank, common features can be traced with such modern MBT as Leopard 2A6 and Merkava Mk 4. But in size and mass, it is closer to the Russian.
If the composition of weapons, mobility of the new tank corresponds to the tank "90", and the capabilities of the fire control system and other electronic equipment, apparently, should surpass it, then in size and weight it is smaller and closer to the "74". It should be noted that the main claim of the Japanese military to “90” was just its high cost - 7,4 million dollars, three million more expensive than the price of the American Abrams, as well as weight and size characteristics that prevent the free transportation of tanks by rail and independent movement roads within the country. So when creating a new tank, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. fulfilled the wishes of the military and developed a cheaper and more compact version.
The tank was adopted by the Self-Defense Forces 10 in January 2012, under the designation "10". It is designed to replace the tanks "74" and supplement the fleet of cars "90". In 2010, the Japan Self-Defense Forces ordered 13 10 tanks at the price of 6,5 million dollars apiece.