JGSDF TO GO MORE MOBILE

JGSDF MCV 8x8 Maneuver Combat Vehicle 105mm-gun R

JGSDF MCV 8x8 Maneuver Combat Vehicle 105mm-gun F

JGSDF MCV 8x8 Maneuver Combat Vehicle 105mm-gun L angle

JGSDF MCV 8x8 Maneuver Combat Vehicle 105mm-gun L

Kidō-Sentō-Sha 機動戦闘車 Maneuver Combat Vehicle

Mitsubishi Jūkōgyō Kabushiki-Kaisha
三菱重工業株式会社
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Nihon Rikujō Jieitai
日本陸上自衛隊
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force

Prototype (in photos):
MCV (Mobile Combat Vehicle) Version 4, 2013
The Technical Research & Development Institute
(Japan Ministry of Defense)

Wheeled Tank Destroyer
105 mm cannon
8x8 Suspension




Japan To Emphasize Military Mobility With MCV

By Paul Kallender-Umezu, Defense News, 2014.10.12

TOKYO — Starting in 2016, Japan’s military will begin reshaping part of a tank fleet originally designed to repel a Soviet invasion from the north into a more mobile force aimed at a possible Chinese invasion of the nation’s far-flung southern island chain

The replacement is the maneuver combat vehicle (MCV), a wheeled tank destroyer billed by the Ministry of Defense as a more flexible alternative to Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force’s (GSDF’s) three main types of tanks. With a 105mm cannon, the MCV will pack enough punch to fight heavy armor but can be rapidly deployed south when needed.

According to publicly announced plans, the MoD intends to reduce the GSDF’s tank force from 740 to about 300 over the next decade, with most being concentrated on the main islands of Hokkaido in the north and Kyushu in the south. According to this scenario, some 200 to 300 MCVs will be procured and airlifted to islands where they are needed.

The MoD’s Technical Research & Development Institute has been developing the MCV since at least 2008; it displayed a fourth prototype in October 2013. Testing is scheduled to begin shortly and if all goes well, the GSDF will receive its first units in 2016. The MCV is being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The plan is proceeding smoothly, according to MoD spokesman Tsuyoshi Hirata, who said the deployment schedule and perhaps final number of MCVs will be reviewed over the next five years. The announced figures could change, he said.

“Based on the current Mid-Term Defense Program [MTDP] issued last December [2013], we plan to introduce 99 MCVs by the end of [fiscal] 2018. We have in mind to introduce about 300 MCVs,” he said.

The MoD plans to deploy the MCV in several rapidly deployable basic operational units (rapid deployment divisions and/or brigades) and rapid deployment regiments that will be formed.

“Please be reminded, however, that it is difficult to answer concrete number at this moment because the number will be reviewed at the time we form up the next MTDP and also we have to take into account the fiscal condition of Japan every year,” Hirata said.

While the MoD pursues the MCV, however, the vehicle itself raises several questions, according to local defense analyst Shinichi Kiyotani, who is an expert on GSDF procurement, logistics and armor.

The MCV, with a projected 400-kilometer range and a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour, is highly capable, he said, but its 105mm cannon could be just too powerful for some of the combat situations in which it might be used.

“At 105mm, the cannon is overkill for urban combat situations. The MCV could do just as well with a 90mm or a 76mm model, or even 40 or 35mm is good enough for a light tank,” Kiyotani said.

The big gun may make the MCV too heavy to be easily transported, he said. At 26 tons, the vehicle is near the projected carrying capability of the planned Kawasaki C-2 transport planes.

The MoD intends to start deploying the C-2 to the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF), initially at Miho Airbase in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan, as early as next year. First, the plane must overcome some technical issues, including an incident this January when a door broke during pressurization testing.

The ASDF said it requires up to 60 of the planes to replace its aging Kawasaki C-1s. While the C-2 has a stated range of 3,023 nautical miles when carrying its maximum payload of 30 tons, it might struggle to carry the MCV, Kiyotani said.

“With its weight, only one MCV can be carried per C-2 and that will be at the limit when you add in maintenance crew and ammunition. To transport one squadron of 12 MCVs, you may need as many as 20-plus C-2s, and where is the ASDF going to find those planes during a war in a remote island?” Kiyotani said.

Also, the MCV might not be as robust as it looks, he argued. While it will use modular armor, it has a relatively delicate undercarriage and drive system that may be vulnerable to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) in particular, he said.

And to save money, the MCV’s big gun will not have an automatic loader, requiring a crew of four who may have to fight in sweltering heat as the MCV lacks crew air conditioning.

“RPGs are a threat. The MCV is just a cheap tank. It’s the wrong concept,” Kiyotani said.

“One can always debate the merits of a 105mm versus something smaller, especially given advances in ammo technology that have made smaller guns rather lethal,” said Grant Newsham, senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, a Tokyo-based military think tank.

“There probably hasn’t been an armored vehicle introduced anywhere that didn’t have as many detractors as supporters,” Newsham said. “Recall the M1 Abrams introduction in the late ’70s, early ’80s. And even 75 years later people are still debating the M4 Sherman,” he said.

Regarding collateral damage, Newsham said that if Japan is using MCVs and its 105mm in an urban environment, the battle would have reached a stage where collateral damage isn’t much of a concern.

“You can move MCV around more easily than a battle tank and the 105mm gun has plenty of punch,” he said.

Newsham agreed that the MCV would be “a bit heavy” and may have less off-road ability than hoped for, but argued that the GSDF would also use commercially chartered aircraft and high-speed ferries to transport the vehicle because its potential operating area is fairly small and nearby.

“If there’s any sort of advance notice at all, a high-speed vessel could get MCVs to Nansei Shoto in 24-48 hours — assuming someone has thought through the requirements and put MCVs in the right locations with the right sealift prepared, and practiced. Moving MCVs around within the Nansei Shoto could take even less time,” Newsham said.

Regarding potential armor weaknesses, Newsham countered: “Everything is vulnerable to IEDs and to aggressive fighters willing to get in close and fight with RPGs and other anti-armor weapons.

“No armored vehicle is ideal for everything. It’s either too heavy, too light, drinks too much fuel, has wheels, has tracks, etc. At the end of the day, one can at least say the MCV is useful — certainly compared to a battle tank — for many of the things GSDF might do: island defense, [peacekeeping] and UN operations,” he said.



Japan requests development funds for Mobile Combat Vehicle

By Shinichi Kiyotani, IHS Jane's 360, 2008.01.16

Japan's Ground Self Defence Force (GSDF) has requested funding for the development of a Mobile Combat Vehicle (MCV, or Kido-Sentou-Sya) in a budgetary request for the 2008 financial year.

The funding request for the new 8 x 8 armoured vehicle was approved by the Japanese Cabinet on 24 December 2007 as part of the 2008 budget. This, however, still needs to be approved by the Diet - which rejected funding for the MCV a year earlier. A vote on the budget is set for March 2008, two months later than usual due to the appointment of a new prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, in September 2007.

Most armies would describe the MCV - a purely Japanese designation - as a mobile gun system (MGS). It will be armed with a 105 mm low-recoil gun and will fire the same ammunition as the current Type 74 main battle tank (MBT).

The total development cost for the MCV is estimated at JPY17.3 billion (USD169 million), with the project planned to end in 2015. The GSDF has asked for an initial JPY2.6 billion for the project in 2008, intended to cover costs of the chassis and turret/weapon system.

The MCV will be developed by the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) acting as the prime industrial contractor.

The MCV will have a maximum combat weight of under 26 tonnes, which will enable it to be transported in the CX transport aircraft that TRDI is currently developing for the Japanese Air Self Defence Force.

The MCV will have a high level of strategic mobility by air and land when compared to the currently deployed Type 74 MBT and Type 89 mechanised infantry combat vehicle (MICV), which lacks strategic mobility.



Development of a Mobile Combat Vehicle

[From "Defense of Japan", Annual White Paper, Ministry of Defense, 2011.]

Firepower (offensive power), mobility, and defensive power are considered to be among the essentials of ground combat. To make a comparison with baseball, where players who can hit the ball and run are extremely useful, when it comes to military equipment, a tank has a well-balanced existence much like that of a cleanup hitter.

On the other hand, in keeping with the security environment of recent years, in order to respond to attacks by guerrillas and special forces and to defend Japan’s offshore islands, in addition to calling on its cleanup hitters that possess a high-level balance, the SDF needs to have access to functions resembling those of a lead-off hitter, so that it can respond immediately with a certain degree of firepower and perform with speed and agility. This is where the concept of the Mobile Combat Vehicle (MCV) comes in. By making use of the MCV’s high road mobility and air transportability, which allows it to effectively utilize ordinary roads and transport aircraft, the SDF can mount an agile response at the outset of an emergency, while MCVs and tanks can also be used together according to the situation. Moreover, by drawing on its high-level development capabilities , the MCV will be able respond to situations that are expected to expand or grow more complex, or that involve a wide variation of ground operations.

Research and development of the MCV is currently proceeding with the aim of bringing the vehicle into service in FY1016, when it is expected to play an important role in the building of “dynamic defense capabilities”, which is a major pillar of the new NDPG.



Defense Ministry unveils fast, lightweight combat vehicle

朝日新聞デジタル Asahi Digital, 2013.10.10

SAGAMIHARA, Kanagawa Prefecture--A new high-speed, lightweight wheeled tank-like vehicle, developed by the Defense Ministry to be used if a remote Japanese island comes under attack from the sea, was unveiled here Oct. 9.

The ministry showed its “maneuver combat vehicle” to reporters at its Ground Systems Research Center of the Technical Research and Development Institute.

It was developed at a total cost of 17.9 billion yen ($183 million), based on technologies utilized in the U.S. armed truck Stryker, which can be deployed across the world on a moment’s notice.

Plans call for the vehicle to be deployed in fiscal 2016, according to ministry officials.

The maneuver combat vehicle is armed with a 105-millimeter cannon.

Weighing about 26 tons, it is also light enough to be delivered aboard C-2 transport aircraft, allowing the Self-Defense Forces to deploy the vehicles in target areas more quickly, according to the officials. For comparison, the SDF’s cutting-edge Type 10 tank weighs 44 tons.

While tanks run on caterpillar tracks, maneuver combat vehicles operate on eight wheels, making it possible for the new vehicle to run at a maximum speed of about 100 kph, compared with the Type 10 tank’s maximum speed of 70 kph.



MCV 8x8 Maneuver Combat Vehicle 105mm gun

Army Recognition Database, 2014

The Maneuver Combat Vehicle or MCV is 8x8 anti-tank combat vehicle armed with a 105mm gun. The vehicle is a project led by the Technical Research & Development Institute of Japan's Ministry of Defense. The first prototype of the 8x8 MCV was unveiled October 9, 2013. According to local media, the MCV will be manufactured by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The Maneuver Combat Vehicle has greater mobility than a tank and is light enough to be transported by air, officials said, adding that the vehicle is suitable for the defense of remote islands and for protecting nuclear and other important facilities. According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense , it was developed at a total cost of 17.9 billion yen (around US$183 million), based on technologies used by the United States for the U.S. wheeled armoured vehicle Stryker. With a combat weight of 26 tons, it is also light enough to be transported by C-2 military transport aircraft, allowing the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to deploy the vehicles in target areas more quickly, than main battle tank as the Type 90 or Type 10. Since 2008, the Japanese Technical Research & Development Institute of ministry of Defense has made several prototypes. And the latest vehicle was the fourth prototype completed at the end of September 2013. It is scheduled to be tested in 2014 or 2015 by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and deployed in 2016.

Variants: No variants at this time.

Armament: The MCV 105mm is fitted with a three-man turret armed with 105mm which is equipped with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. The vehicle can fire the same standard ammunitions including APDS-T and HESH-T as the Type 74 main battle which is currently in service with Japanese army. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the right side of the main armament. A 12.7mm machine gun is mounted on the loader hatch which is located right on top of the turret.

Design and protection: The layout of the 8x8 MCV is very similar to the Italian 8x8 Centauro tank destroyer, but for the MCV the driver is seated at the front of the hull on the right side with the power pack to the left. The driver position is equipped with a single hatch with three day periscopes for forward observation. The central one can be replaced by a passive periscope for driving at night. The turret is mounted towards the rear of the hull. A single door is mounted at the rear of the hull. The other three crew personnel are located in the turret, with gunner and loader at the right side and commander at the left side. The hull and turret of the MCV are protected with add-on armour to increase protection against IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) and RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) rockets. The vehicle provides also standard protection against firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters. The MCV has a combat weight of around 26 tons and measures 8.45 m length, 2.98 width, and 2.87 m height.

Propulsion: The MCV uses an 8x8 chassis based on armoured vehicle personnel carrier. The 8x8 MCV is motorized with a water-cooled four-cylinder diesel engine developing 570 hp. at 2,100 rpm. The vehicle is able to reach a maximum road speed of 100 km with a maximum cruising range of 400 km.

Accessories: Computerised fire control, thermal day/night sight view,panoramic sight, weather sensor, laser range finder detectors A panoramic roof mounted sight is mounted at the front of the commander position. The gunner and commander are equipped with day/night thermal sights with a computerised fire control which allows the 8x8 MCV to fire on the move during night and day and in all weather conditions. A weather sensor made by the French Company Thales is mounted at the top rear part of the turret and laser range finder detectors are fitted on each side at the front of the turret. On radio antenna is mounted on each side at the rear of the turret.

Armament: One 105mm gun, one 7.62mm coaxial machine and one roof mounted 12.7mm machine gun.

Armor: Standard protection against firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters, add-on armour to increase protection against IEDs and RPG.

Weight: 26,000 kg maximum
Speed: 100 km/h
Range: 400 km

Lenght: 8.45 m
Width: 2.98 m
Height: 2.87 m

Crew: 4 soldiers


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