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Type 90


Type 90

Japanese Type 90 main battle tank on public display in 2007.

Source: Megapixie - © Public domain

Main battle tank
Entered service
In service
1976 - 1989
Japan - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
1990 - 2009
Japan - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Unit cost
$ 7.4 million in 2008
Number produced
TK-X (design project)
Notable users
Japan - JGSDF



The Type 90 is a main battle tank of Japanese origin. It was developed to supplement and replace the Type 74 in Japanese service. Externally the Type 90 looks similar to the early models of the Leopard 2. However, the design is actually quite different.


The Type 90 looks rather similar to the German Leopard 2 but is not a direct copy since it has a variety of distinguishing features. These differences include an autoloader and hydropneumatic suspension. The overall layout is conventional with the driver in the front, the turret in the middle and the engine and drivetrain at the rear.


The main armament is a 120mm smoothbore cannon which fires NATO standard ammunition. The 120mm cannon is connected to an automatic loader. In theory the gun can be fired every 2 seconds, but in practice maximum rate of fire is 10 to 15 rpm. A 7.62mm Type 74 machine gun is mounted as a coaxial weapon. A 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun is pintle mounted on the turret roof.


The Type 90 features composite armor which generates a protection level over the frontal arc capable of withstanding all but the latest sabots and missiles. A fire suppression system, NBC protection and smoke grenade launchers are fitted.


The tracked chassis provides a good all terrain mobility and road speeds of up to 70 km/h. A 1.500 hp diesel engine provides propulsion. The hydropneumatic suspension provides good crew comfort and a stable firing platform in rough terrain.


The Type 90 is used only by Japan. Over 340 Type 90 have been produced and it has replaced the Type 61 and Type 74 tanks. As with all Japanese military equipment there are no export sales. The Type 10 is to supplement and eventually replace the Type 90 in service.


Type 90

Forward view of Type 90 main battle tank.
Source: Unknown author - © copyright lies with original owner

The Type 90 was produced only in a single version. Externally it looks similar to the Leopard 2A4. The most distinct difference is that the Type 90 has 6 roadwheels and a hydropneumatic suspension that allows either front or rear to be lowered.

Related articles

Type 90 ARV

The Type 90 ARV was developed to support the Type 90 main battle tank. Both vehicles are based on a similar chassis.

Type 10

The newer and smaller Type 10 main battle tank supplements the Type 90 and replaces the older Type 74.

Browning M2HB

The M2HB is fitted as secondary armament.

Sumitomo Type 74

The Type 74 is fitted as coaxial armament.