Type 74 MBT (Family)

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Type 74 variants ready in the hangar

The Type 74 (74式戦車) is a main battle tank (MBT) of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). Built and designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) as a supplement and replacement of the earlier Type 61 MBT as it didn't compete with Russian tanks like the T-62. It was designed to be able to compete with western designs like the US M60 or Leopard 1. Like most Gen 2 tanks that usually mounted the Royal Ordnance L7 rifled 105 mm gun. Starting development in 1964 with the ST-B1 and only being finalized in 1974 made the Type 74 quite the latecomer and soon became outdated as Gen 3 tanks started popping up like the Leopard 2, Challenger and M1 Abrams just a few years later.

As this tank still sees service, it is slowly being replaced by both the Type 90 and Type 10 MBTs in their new role as Gen 3.5 tanks.


Rank V

Rank VI



A year after the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) issued out their first post-war main battle tank, the Type 61, development started on its successor, recognizing that the Type 61 was already becoming obsolete in terms of the new Soviet tanks being produced such as the T-62. Working alongside Mitsubishi once more, they looked for a new tank design incorporating many new features introduced in tank technology. This resulted in the tank having the hydropneumatic suspension system from the U.S.-German project MBT-70, a hull shape similar to Germany's Leopard I, and the powerful 105 mm L7 gun for its main armament. Other planned features for the tank was a rotatable commander's cupola and an autoloader system for the main gun.

The first prototype arrived for testing in 1968 as the STB-1. Modifications to the design started in 1969, which saw the autoloader removed for being too complex and expensive, as well as the removal of a proposed remote-controlled anti-aircraft machine gun for the same reason. The turret design was also elongated for various design purposes. The modified prototype was labelled STB-3 and was delivered in 1971. The final prototype, STB-6, was then delivered in 1973. The tank was then accepted for service in 1974 as the Type 74 tank. Production would start in September 1975 all the way to 1989, producing 893 tanks.


Due to the defensive nature of the JSDF and the absence of any hostility rising out of the Cold War, the Type 74 spent its service life in the JGSDF with no battle service. During its service life however, it was upgraded with new hardware such as infra-red imagers for night fighting and a laser rangefinder for the commander. Despite all that, the Type 74 was generally outdated in terms of specifications even before entering service, as second-generation main battle tanks like the Chieftain and T-72 outclass it and development for third-generation main battle tanks like the Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams were already underway.

The tank was to be replaced by the newer Type 90 main battle tank, but the collapse of the Soviet Union and the official end of the Cold War caused the replacement program to be halted. Today, the Type 74 still sees limited service in Japan and it was reported that 700 units were still in use in 2006.


Msg-info.png While the Type 74's have variants, most if not all Type 74s were actively upgraded to the latest model (Up to model E)
  • Type 74*
    • Type 74 + NVG
    • Type 74 + Dozer
    • Type 74 + Dozer & NVG
  • Type 74 (B)

Improved FCS and Ammo Racks which allows it to fire APFSDS, Two new APDS shells and Type 75 HEP.

  • Type 74 (C)

Default painting scheme changed from olive drab to two-color green and brown.

  • Type 74 (D)

Thermal jacket equipped to the barrel.

  • Type 74 (E)

Further improved FCS allowing the Type 75 HEP to be switched out for Type 91 HEAT-MP

  • Type 74 (F)

Mounting plates were added to allow for the Type 92 Mine Roller

  • Type 74 (G)

Otherwise also known as the Type 74 Kai or Type 74 Kaishū (Improved | Modified), was a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) for the Type 74 which switched out the night vision device to thermal, includes an automatic target tracking function, laser warning system directly linked to the smoke dischargers and a more powerful laser rangefinder. On top of electrical upgrades, side skirts and applique armour was tested with and the program seemed promising to keep all Type 74s in longer service.

But due to the high development cost, the refurbishing cost of all existing Type 74s and the maintenance of said vehicles, the program was scrapped.

4 Type 74 (G)s got adopted and operated by the Fuji Training Corps Tank Training Corps and later restored to the condition of the Model E with exception of keeping the LWS and Thermal NVD, it transferred to the 1st Armored Training Corps until its abolishment where all modified Type 74s but 1 were scrapped.

* While all following Type 74s have been given a variant letter, the initial Type 74s isn't retrospectively designated as model (A), and simply known as the Type 74.

External links

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (三菱重工業株式会社)
Ground Vehicles 
APC  Type 60 · SUB-I-II
IFV  Type 89
MCV  Type 16 (P) · Type 16 (FPS) · Type 16
SPH  Type 75 · Type 99
SPAAG  Type 87
Main Battle Tanks 
Type 61  ST-A1 · ST-A2 · ST-A3 · Type 61
Type 74  ST-B2 · Type 74 (C) · Type 74 (E) · Type 74 (F) · Type 74 (G)
Type 90  Type 90 · Type 90 (B)
Type 10  TKX (P) · TKX · Type 10
Air Vehicles 
Jet Fighters 
F-86  F-86F-30 ▅* · F-86F-40 ▅* · F-86F-40 JASDF▅*
F-104  F-104J*
F-1  T-2 Early · T-2 · F-1
F-4  F-4EJ Phantom II* · F-4EJ ADTW* · F-4EJ Kai Phantom II*
F-15  F-15J* · F-15J(M)*
Naval Vehicles 
Patrol Boats (PT) 
No. 7 class  PT-8 (PT-808)
No. 11 class  PT-15 (PT-815)
Destroyers (DD) 
Harukaze-class  JDS Harukaze (DD-101)
Ayanami-class  JDS Ayanami (DD-103)
  MHI's shipyards are positioned in Kobe, Nagasaki, and Shimonoseki
  * Licensed Production / Variants
See also  Mitsubishi Aircraft Company (1928-1945) · Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (1938-1945) · Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company (1884-1945)
  North American Aviation · Lockheed · McDonnell Aircraft Corporation

Japan medium tanks
Type 97  Chi-Ha · Chi-Ha Kai · Chi-Ha Kai TD · Chi-Ha Short Gun
Type 1  Chi-He · Chi-He (5th Regiment) · Ho-I
Type 3  Chi-Nu · Chi-Nu II
Type 4  Chi-To · Chi-To Late
Type 5  Chi-Ri II
Type 61 MBT  ST-A1* · ST-A2* · ST-A3* · Type 61
Type 74 MBT  ST-B2* · Type 74 (C) · Type 74 (E) · Type 74 (F) · Type 74 (G)
Type 90 MBT  Type 90 · Type 90 (B) · Type 90 (B) "Fuji"
Type 10 MBT  TKX (P)* · TKX* · Type 10
Other  Ka-Chi
USA  ▅M4A3 (76) W · ▅M47