Type 61 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 09:22 pm

The Type 61 main battle tank was the first tank produced by Japan after Word War II.

After the Second World War ended, Japan was only allowed to use its armed forces for self defense, so the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) was established.

At first, the JSDF used American military equipment, including M24 Chaffee light tanks, M47 Patton medium tanks and M48 Patton medium tanks.

However, these tanks were designed for Americans and were too large for smaller Japanese soldiers, so in 1954, the Japanese started designing their own tank.

The first prototypes for this new tank were completed in 1957.
Type 61 main battle tank
Four series of prototype tanks – the ST-A1, ST-A2, ST-A3 and ST-A4 – were built.

The ST-A4 was chosen for service and was designated the Type 61 main battle tank.

In 1962, the first production vehicles were built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the type 61 MBT entered service that year.

The Type 61 main battle tank has an all-welded hull with a removable glacis plate and a cast turret.

There is a torsion-bar suspension with six road wheels and three track return rollers. The idler is in the back and the drive sprocket is at the front.

The Type 61 uses an air-cooled turbocharged diesel engine.

A four man crew, consisting of driver, commander, gunner and loader, operates the Type 61 MBT.

The driver sits at the front of the hull on the right side. The commander and gunner sit in the right side of the turret and the loader sits in the left side of the turret.

The engine and transmission are in the back.

A 3.54 inch (90mm) rifled gun is the Type 61 main battle tank’s main weapon.

The type 61 also has a 0.3 inch (7.62mm) Browning M1919A4 coaxial machine gun and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) Browning M2 anti-aircraft gun.

The Type 61 has neither gun stabilization nor NBC protection.

Variants of the Type 61 main battle tank include an armored recovery vehicle and a bridgelayer.

In 1975, production of the Type 61 MBT ended. By that time, 560 tanks had been built.

The Type 61 main battle tank remained in service until 2000. It has been replaced by the Type 74 main battle tank.


Type 61 Main Battle Tank

Active: 1962
Crew: 4
Weight: 34 tons (35,000kg)
Length: 20ft 8in (6.3m), 26ft 10in (8.19m) with gun forwards
Height: 8ft 2in (2.49m)
Width: 9ft 8in (2.95m)
Weapons: Main – 3.54in (90mm) rifled gun, Secondary – 0.3in (7.62 mm) Browning M1919A4 coaxial machine gun, 0.5 inch (12.7mm) Browning M2 anti-aircraft gun
Armor Maximum – 2.52in (64mm)
Engine: Mitsubishi Type 12 HM 21WT 12-cylinder air-cooled diesel , 600hp
Speed: 28mph (45kph)
Range: 124 miles (200 km)