Komatsu Type 74

     Notes:  Very few of these Japanese vehicles were built, perhaps 20 in all, as a decision was made to concentrate on production of the Type 75 self-propelled howitzer instead. All remaining 17 Type 74s are stationed as the 2nd Artillery Regiment at Asahikawa, Hokkaido.  There are no plans for future upgrades or future builds, and their days on active duty are probably numbered.  Itís short gun and lower throw weight means that the howitzer is not nearly as effective as most howitzers in service these days.

     In appearance, the Type 74 is similar to the British Abbot SPH.  This is only superficial, as there are numerous differences on the exterior and the interior is not like the Abbot at all.

     The crew has a conventional layout; the driver is in the front right, the engine to his left; the driver has three wide-angle frontal vision blocks, as well as a rotatable periscope piercing his hatch.  On the right of the turret, there is a medium-sized door in the turret.  On the roof, there are two hatches; one is the commanderís cupola, with all-around vision blocks and a mount for a heavy weapon. The other hatch is a simple hatch for a loader.  There is no turret-mounted bustle rack, just tie-down points for gear. The vehicle is amphibious with 3 minutes of preparation. 

     The gun is derived from the old US M-1 105mm howitzer, but with the addition of a muzzle brake and fume extractor. The engine is actually a repurposed truck engine, developing 300 horsepower.  The transmission is manual.  Armor is rather thin from most angles and can sometimes be penetrated by assault rifle or larger rounds.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$145,266

D, A

650 kg

16.5 tons

4

7

Headlights

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

132/92

33/23/3

425

89

Trtd

T4

TF3  TS3  TR3  HF8  HS3  HR2

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

+1

Basic

105mm L/32 Howitzer, M-2HB (C)

30x105mm, 650x.50

 

Mitsubishi Type 75

     Notes:  This is currently the standard Japanese self-propelled howitzer, though it is in the process of being supplanted by the Type 99.  Production did, however, cease in 1988. The Type 75 shares many automotive components with the Type 74 tank, which was developed at the same time.  The Japanese still use 201 of these vehicles, outnumbering the Type 99 by a large margin.  The Type 75, like most Japanese weapons, has never been exported (the Japanese constitution prevents the export of military gear).

     The Type 75 has a conventional layout for such a vehicle, with the driver on the front right, and the radio operator right behind him.  The rest of the crew is in the turret.  The commander and gunner are in the right of the turret, and the commander has a manually-rotating cupola with all-around vision blocks and a gun mount.  The two loaders are on the right side of the gun, and there is a hatch directly above their position.  At the rear of the turret are large doors for ammunition replenishment.

     Power is provided by a Mitsubishi 6 ZF turbocharged diesel, developing 450 horsepower, and coupled to a manual transmission. The Type 75 is not amphibious, but has excellent fording, able to ford 1.3 meters. Armor is on the thin side, though not as bad as the Type 74. Armor is of aluminum, and capable of stopping 20mm rounds from the front, and 7.62mm rounds from the side and rear. The crew is protected by an NBC Overpressure system, as well as an automatic fire suppression system.

     The gun on the Type 75 is of a size that is can fire most Western 155mm ammunition, though certain specialist rounds such as the Copperhead cannot be used because the breech on the gun and the cradle to not open far enough to allow for these lengthy rounds.  The short barrel of the gun, however, severely limits range. Maximum elevation is 65 degrees, and depression -5 degrees; this, along with the short barrel, has led to a secondary tasking as a tank destroyer.  Despite the two loaders in the vehicle, the Type 75 is equipped with an autoloader, leaving the loaders to install fuzes and help in the firing of rounds that do not fit into the autoloader.

     An upgrade in the early 1990s brought significant computerization and automation to the Type 75ís bag of tricks.  This includes an indirect fire computer, a direct fire computer, inertial navigation, a laser rangefinder for direct fire, and several secure data-capable radios.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Type 75

$337,729

D, A

500 kg

25.3 tons

6

19

Passive IR (D, G, C), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

Type 75 (Upgraded)

$516,034

D, A

436 kg

25.56 tons

6

22

Passive IR (D, G, C), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Type 75

130/91

33/23

650

167

Trtd

T4

TF4  TS4  TR4  HF11  HS4  HR3

Type 75 (Upgraded)

129/90

33/23

650

169

Trtd

T4

TF4  TS4  TR4  HF11  HS4  HR3

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Type 75

+1

Basic

155mm L/30 Howitzer, M-2HB (C)

28x155mm, 1000x.50

Type 75 (Upgraded)

+2

Fair

155mm L/30 Howitzer, M-2HB (C)

28x155mm, 1000x.50

 

Mitsubishi Type 99

     Notes: The Japanese have long known that the Type 75 was an inadequate self-propelled howitzer, even in its upgraded form.  To this end, they. starting in 1985, decided to take a quantum leap over the Type 75, designing a fully modern SP howitzer.  And it brings together as many modern ideas on self-propelled howitzer design as possible, within budget constraints.  And the budget has been the biggest problem with the Type 99; meant to have replaced the Type 75 by now, but only 30 have been put into service as of 2012, and the Type 99 remains in LRIP.

     The Type 99 is based on the Type 89 IFV, though lengthened with an additional roadwheel.  Armor is heavier than on earlier Japanese howitzers, though made from aluminum.  The Type 99 was originally designed to use an L/52 gun, and may still be retrofitted with one in the future; however, production examples have an L/39 gun.  The howitzer on the Type 99 can use any sort of Western or Chinese 155mm rounds.  The gun is equipped with a full autoloader, with little intervention required by the loader.  The gun is equipped with full computerized fire control gear, both for indirect and direct fire.  The gun also has a laser rangefinder for use in direct fire.  The Type 99 is equipped with GPS, along with a computerized mapping module, and secure data-capable radios.  It is, however, able to act as its own FDC.

     Layout is basically the same as other Japanese SP howitzers.  The driver is on the front right, with three vision blocks to his front; the center one has a night vision channel.  The driver uses conventional controls and has automatic transmission.  At the rear of the chassis is a door for egress and ingress of the crew.  At the rear door of the turret are large doors for ammunition resupply.  The turret is to the rear of the vehicle. The commander is on the right of the turret, with a manually-operated cupola, which has all-around vision blocks including a night vision channel.  He has a heavy weapons mount with an AV2 gun shield to the front. . On the other side of the turret is a hatch for the loader, which is often equipped with own machinegun on a pintle.  On each side of the turret is a hatch, normally used for equipment loading or single-round loading.

     The engine is a 600-horsepower turbocharged diesel, and is mounted to the left of the driver.  The engine is coupled to an automatic transmission, and the two are in a unified powerpack which may be installed and uninstalled in one piece in 30 minutes with the proper equipment.  The gun is based on the FH-70 towed howitzer design.  The gun has a substantial muzzle brake, but not a fume extractor.  The vehicle has both air conditioning and heating, as well as a ration heater.  To protect the crew, an NBC overpressure system is installed.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$1,024,300

D, A

650 kg

40 tons

4

25

Passive IR (D, G, C). Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

114/80

29/20

425

221

Trtd

T4

TF16Sp  TS6Sp  TR5  HF20Sp  HS7Sp  HR5

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

+2

Fair

155mm L/39, M-2HB (C), Type 62 (L)

45x155mm, 650x.50, 1000x7.62mm