Happy first day of Spring
The cherry blossoms always make me swell with joy this time of year– especially after a dark winter.
“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.”
Here we have a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Type 74 (nana-yon-shiki-sensha) main battle tank under cherry blossoms somewhere in Japan.
Designed in the late 1960s as a contemporary of the U.S. M60 and the Soviet T-62/64, about 900 Type 74s were built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a replacement for Japan’s first indigenous Post-WWII tank, the Type 61, which is turn was a very M46 Patton-like design that mounted a 90mm popgun.
If it looks familiar, the Type 74 uses the hull of the German Leopard I– though with different suspension and a 10cyl MHI diesel– and equipped with a licensed Royal Ordnance L7 105mm cannon with a number of local improvements.
They have largely been relegated to second-line service since the 1990s when the very Leopard 2-ish Type 90 Kyū-maru MBT went into production and in the end will be replaced as the new Type 10 MBT, complete with a 120mm gun and nano-crystal steel modular ceramic composite armor, is fielded in greater numbers.
Though a dated design for sure, about 250 updated Type 74s remain in service and, due to the current Japanese constitution, will likely never deploy outside of the Home Islands. As such they should prove a good enough deterrent for Godzilla.