The Type 74 is a Japanese main battle tank developed in 1973 to replace the outdated Type 61. Many advanced technical solutions of the time were used in this tank’s design, the most important of which will soon make a nice surprise for all tankers in War Thunder without exception. Meet the flagship Japanese Type 74 tank with active hydropneumatic suspension!
The Type 74 is a Japanese main battle tank developed by Mitsubishi in 1973 to replace the outdated Type 61. Mitsubishi was commissioned to create a new tank in 1962, when it became clear that the Type 61 was no longer capable of effectively doing battle with the newer Soviet tanks like the T-62.
The new vehicle was intended to possess all the most modern solutions used in the designs of the best main battle tanks of the NATO countries of the era. For example, it borrowed the idea of active hydropneumatic suspension from the German/American MBT-70 project, allowing the tank’s clearance and lean angle to be changed automatically. The hull was meant to be the same as that of the German Leopard 1, and 105 mm L7 cannon widely used in NATO countries was purely British in origin. The new Japanese tank was also meant to be equipped with an advanced automated loading system for its main gun, along with a solid rotating command cupola. The final design of the new vehicle was confirmed in 1964, after which various test frames were built and tests performed in until 1967.
At the prototype development stage, it became clear that several novel solutions would have to be abandoned, since in practice they would be too expensive and unsuitable for mass production. After the construction in 1969 of the first two prototypes, designated STB-1, it became clear that the automated loading and remote control system for the anti-air 12.7 mm Browning machine gun would have to be sacrificed, so they were no longer present on the STB-3, built in 1971. The last prototype, the STB-6 built in 1973, became the final variant that received the definite designation Type 74 and was launched into series production in September 1975.
After being accepted into service, the tank was modernized via the installation of thermal imaging, a laser rangefinder and a digital fire control computer. Fin-stabilized APCR and HEAT rounds were also added to the ammunition complement of the vehicle’s main gun in addition to HESH shells.
In total, between 1975 and 1988, 873 Type 74 main battle tanks were produced, some of which remain in service with the Japan Self-Defense Forces to this day.
In the game, this vehicle will play the role of one of the most exciting new additions in the upcoming patch. Apart from the fact that the Type 74 will be a top Japanese tank, it will bring an entirely new feature of game mechanics to the game – hydropneumatic suspension! Regulating the height of the tank’s hull provides the ability to make the Type 74’s silhouette one of the lowest among all its contemporaries in ranks IV and V when necessary, and also to literally reconfigure the vehicle for certain terrain features in the midst of battle. Apart from this, the hydropneumatic suspension allows the tank’s hull to be angled in any direction, compensating for natural irregularities in the landscape and transforming the gun’s base vertical aiming angles from decent to excellent. Incidentally, the tank’s gun itself is also very good – it’s the beloved by many 105mm L7 cannon installed on the top tanks of NATO countries: The M60, Leopard 1 and Centurion Mk.10. This accurate long-ranged gun with excellent piercing characteristics is now doing its job with the Japan Self-Defense Forces too.
This tank’s diesel engine, providing 750 horsepower, gives this 38-ton vehicle excellent acceleration, one of the best among the top-tier tanks. And although this Japanese tank’s maximum speed is slightly inferior to the nimble Leopard, the Type 74’s armour thickness even exceeds its German colleague slightly. For the sake of fairness, it’s worth mentioning that the overwhelming majority of tanks from the Cold War period protected by classic homogenous armour were initially not designed to withstand hits from the newest APCR shells, and particularly HEAT shells. For this reason, the Type 74’s best defense on the battlefield will not be its armour, but its excellent mobility in combination with clever use of terrain, which can be taken to a new levels thanks to the suspension.
The Type 74 main battle tank will be the peak of the Japanese tank tech tree. With its multitude of innovative design solutions and new exciting mechanic, the Type 74 will be the jewel in the hangar for all fans of modern armoured vehicles in the run up to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Can’t wait to try out this heavy battle tank for yourself in a fast and rousing musical rhythm? There isn’t long to wait!