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Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Japan

Type 98

Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Unveiled / Entered Service
1989
Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Status
In Service
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Table of Contents

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Introduction

The Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the only tracked IFV in service with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. Due to Japanese policy on not exporting military technology, the vehicle has not been offered for export, despite being a very capable IFV, which has driven the vehicles manufacturing price up.

Background

With the growing nuclear weapons capability of North Korea since the 1980’s, Japan like most countries had to reevaluate its troops capability of having to fighting in an NBC contaminated battlefield.

Development of a new Infantry Fighting Vehicle, that allowed the embarked infantry to engage the enemy by firing through rifle ports in the vehicle’s sides and rear, rather than having to disembark and risk exposure to Nuclear, Biological or Chemical agents, started in 1980.

By 1984 Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had delivered four prototypes for trials and was accepted into JGSDF service in 1989, with full scale production starting in 1991.

Whilst the Type 89 is an excellent IFV, its only real downfall is its rate of production, which could be attributed to either production capability of the manufacturers (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries principal, Komatsu subcontractor) or funding (the vehicle is not subsidised by export clients) with only an estimated 120 vehicles being produced over 25 years.

Japan has since focused on limited production of the Type 10 main battle tank and invested heavily in new wheeled armoured vehicles.

Firepower

The Type 89 main gun is a 35mm medium calibre chain gun. Developed by the former Swiss Firm Oerlikon-Contraves (now Rheinmetall Air Defence) the 35mm KD Series is made of several different barrels for different applications.

The Type 89 uses the KDE barrel, which is a calibre Length 90. It has a dual feed and capable of firing both High Explosive and Armour Piercing rounds at a rate of 550 rounds per minute.

Whilst featuring a modern fire control system, it lacks any of the sophisticated Commanders Independent Sight seen with the more recent generation of IFV. Both the vehicle commander and gunner are located in the turret.

Secondary weapons include a coaxial machine gun and a Type 79 Jyu-MAT anti-tank guided missile launcher on either side of the turret. This ATGM was developed in the late 1970’s and was manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The seven transported infantryman have access to a number of firing ports on both sides of the hull and in the rear ramp to fire their personal rifles through.

Protection

The vehicle is constructed of welded steel plates. Its not clear what level of protection this offers. At worst its protected over the frontal arc against 12.7mm AP rounds, but most likely is rated against 20mm AP rounds. It does not have the addon thicker frontal plates you see on vehicles such as Bradley or the Marder 1, which are believed to be rated against 30mm.

The hull offers all round protection against 7.62mm machine gun fire and 155mm artillery splinters. Its not clear if the side skirts offer protection against fragmentation splinters.

The vehicles standard IFV layout adds to its protection, with the driver off-centre sitting on the front right-side and the engine compartment to his left, which offers additional protection for the infantry sitting in the rear section. The vehicle features an NBC protection system.

Mobility

The Type 89 is powered by the Mitsubishi 6SY31WA diesel engine, which generates 600hp. It has a respectable range of 400km and a top road speed of 70km/h.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
35mm KD Series chain gun
ATGM Capability
x2 Type 79 Jyu-MAT
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
?
Engine
600hp Mitsubishi 6SY31WA diesel
Transmission
Automatic
Top Road Speed
70km/h
Road Range
400km
Fuel Capacity
?
Vertical Obstacle
0.8m
Water Capability
1m Fording
Trench Crossing
2.4m
Gradient
60%
Side Slope
30%
Length Gun Forward
N/A
Length Hull
6.7m
Width
3.2m
Height
2.50
Ground Clearance
0.45m
Weight
27 Tonne
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Driver
Infantry
7