Type 81 (C)
The Type 81 (C) Tan-SAM kai is an upgraded version of the Type 81 Surface-to-Air Missile (81式短距離地対空誘導弾) or Tan-SAM (短SAM, lit. short range SAM), a Japanese developed surface-to-air missile currently in service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. The development of the Tan-SAM Kai started in 1989 as a intermediate SAM missile was needed between the short-range FIM-92 Stinger & the MIM-23 Hawk missile system, and the upgraded system was designated as SAM-1C (shorten as Tan-SAM Kai 短SAM改; lit. modified short-range SAM) in 1995. The Tan-SAM missile has a new phased array active radar seeker that can receive mid-course guidance updates from the Fire Control Systems vehicle. This enhances the missile's range to 14 kilometres, but also increases its weight to 105 kilograms. The missile also has a new smokeless motor with better thrust, replacing the old one. The Fire Control Systems vehicle has a thermal imager to operate better in an ECM-heavy environment.
It was introduced in Update "Kings of Battle". The Type 81C can be considered the bigger brother of the Type 93, offering bigger, meaner, and larger both vehicle and missiles. While it's larger, the missile itself still offers great missile guidance with a maximum overload of 35 G, 955 m/s on top of a visual guidance mode which will further increase its hit probability against IRCM/ECM jammers present on high-end helicopters. One problem the Type 81 retains from the Type 93 is the lack of radar, while it offers a thermal camera making the visual spotting of aircraft easier, it still requires situational awareness to find to targets.
Survivability and armour
The Tan-SAM Kai utilizes a modified chassis of the Isuzu Type 73 large truck (2nd revision, SWS-475; now 3 1/2 ton truck); as such, its protection is only rated for rifle-calibre bullets. It is made up of 5 mm structural steel all around: for most operational needs, Tan-SAM Kais are deployed near infrastructure and at the rear of battlefields as air-defense system alongside its radar-guidance truck, thus they are not rated for the most heated battlefields, especially the frontlines. Any projectiles or shrapnel can cause extensive damage to either the crews, powerplant, or missile launcher, leading to knock-out of the vehicle.
To make the situation worse, Tan-SAM Kai only has two crew members, the driver and weapon operator (gunner), meaning that any knocked out crew results in the disablement of the vehicle. Thus never, ever have any enemy get the chance to land a salvo of bullets upon Tan-SAM Kai, let alone cannon shells.
- Structural steel (chassis, suspension, vehicle frame)
|Front (Slope angle)
|5 mm Cabin
| 5 mm Top
5 mm Bottom
|5 mm Turret front
- Side missile rack, wheel and (leaf-spring) suspension at 10 mm
- Truck frame at 5 mm
At the 2nd revision of Type 73 truck (SWS-475), the truck is fitted with an Isuzu 8PE1 V8 diesel engine with 286 hp output; while the transmission can make sure it can go 90 km/h, beware not to over-extend due to its inferior reverse speed (-12 km/h).
|Max Speed (km/h)
|Engine power (horsepower)
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Modifications and economy
As the SAM-1 was developed in 1966 by Toshiba, the JGSDF and JASDF decided to upgrade the missile with a new IR/TV tracker in 1989; the new missile was certified in 1994. To differentiate between radar-homing and optical tracking variants, the version in-game is the optical tracking variant with a transparent probe for tracking; thanks to its high overload and optical tracking that doesn't trigger RWR, it makes enemy players struggle to evade the missile at its all-aspect firing radius, use different tracking principle (IR and optical tracking) according to the target's countermeasures.
|Type 81 SAM-1C missile
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)
|Reloading rate (seconds)
| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
Usage in battles
The Type 81 (C) is a missile launcher mounted on an Isuzu truck that best operates from a safe distance away from the frontlines. It is not designed for any heated battlefield where shells and bullets fly, especially due to its nature of being a SPAA based on a Isuzu logistics truck. It is never a good idea to drive straight into the battlefield in a truck with non-existing protection; the rule of thumb for Tan-SAM Kai is fairly simple - don't get spotted until air threats begin to appear.
Like most missile systems using IR seeker in game, due to the warm-up time for its probe, it will take around 4 seconds to "warm up" the missiles before it can begin to launch against aerial targets. The missiles are extremely potent, featuring great flight characteristics and a relatively large warhead. Any jets that appear within the visual range of the launcher can be easily dealt with thanks to the overall high overload of the missile: enemy jets will have a hard time evading even with flares.
While it is highly effective against fixed wing threats, where the Tan-SAM Kai shines is in its ability to target helicopters, particularly those with heat-signature reducing technology such as IRCM and HIRSS, using its missiles' TV/IR dual mode seeker. The Tan-SAM can easily swat helicopters from the sky, from reasonable engagement ranges unlike similar SAM systems that use IR missiles. Their only hope for survival is to physically obstruct the missile and its seeker, such as hiding behind trees and terrain, or to remain particularly far from the battlefield, significantly reducing their efficiency.
However, visual tracking has a shorter range than IR tracking, so the launcher may lose lock or fail to lock on some targets depending if it uses only visual, only IR, or auto mode. It should also be worth noting that the Type 81 (C) can lose optical tracking on fast-flying aircraft and helicopters that fly through inclement weather, typically in stormy and cloudy weather as the optical tracker on the launcher requires clear skies to lock onto any targets.
Overall, Tan-SAM Kai further extends the air-defense range of Japanese tech-tree with a mostly reliable missile system with sufficient mobility to switch launch site (albeit much slower than the Type 93 on a Toyota Mega Cruiser chassis); be sure to take cover or hide the vehicle until air threats begin to approach the battlefield. With the help of teammate's radio calls or the player's own situational awareness, Tan-SAM Kai can make sure enemy flights will be an one-way ticket to their demise.
Pros and cons
- Highly capable fire-and-forget dual-mode (IR/TV) missiles
- 35 G max overload
- 11 km rear aspect - 6 km all-aspect
- 5 kg explosive warhead
- Can scout targets
- Only equipped with optical tracker, requires radio calls or very high situational-awareness
- Cannot fire missiles on the move
- Visual targeting mode is entirely negated in maps with storm/cloudy weather
- Cannot lock onto aircraft that pass through clouds
- Large, unprotected target
- Only 2 crew
- Can be over-pressured by bombs, rockets, missiles
- Any MG fire is deadly
- Missile racks on sides can be snagged on obstacles and obstructions
- Lesser manoeuvrability than its predecessor due to carrier vehicle selection
- Requires a wide turning circle, not suitable for maps with narrow streets or terrain
In 1966, Japanese engineers began work on developing a new short-range anti-air system capable of intercepting targets beyond fire distance of AA artillery. Furthermore, the new system was envisioned as a modern replacement to dated anti-air systems already in use with the JSDF such as the American M51 Skysweeper and M15A1 SPAAG. In order to fulfill these requirements, the decision was made to mount the missile system onto the Isuzu Type 73 truck chassis.
With development in full swing, the first prototypes had been constructed by the mid 1970s while field trials followed later in the decade. As the test produced positive results, the new SAM system entered service with the JSDF in 1980 under the designation TAN-SAM-1C "Tan-SAM". However, even after the vehicle entered production, engineers continued tweaking the design, coming up with improved variants by the end of the decade.
The TAN-SAM-1C "Tam-SAM Kai" was one of these variants introduced in 1989, featuring not only improved missiles but also an updated vehicle chassis. This variant entered service with the JSDF in 1995 and continued being produced up until 2006. Thanks to its advanced design and continuous improvements, the TAN-SAM-1C remains in service with the JSDF to this day.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Japan anti-aircraft vehicles
|Ta-Se · So-Ki
|Type 93 · Type 81 (C)
|▅M16 MGMC · ▅M19A1 · ▅M42
|Isuzu Motors, Ltd. ()
|Type 81 (C)