Military Wiki
Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle
Maneuver Combat Vehicle 07.jpg
Type Tank destroyer
Place of origin Japan
Production history
Designer TRDI (Technical Research & Development Institute)[lower-alpha 1]
Designed 2007 onwards
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Unit cost ¥7.1 billion yen[1]
Produced planned start in 2015
Number built 200-300 (original requirement)
Variants Mitsubishi Armored Vehicle
Weight 26 tonnes
Length 8.45 m (27 ft 9 in)
Width 2.98 m (9 ft 9 in)
Height 2.87 m (9 ft 5 in)
Crew 4 [lower-alpha 2]

105 mm gun (developed by Japan Steel Works)[2]
12.7 mm NATO M2 Browning machine gun, coaxial Sumitomo Type 74 7.62 mm NATO medium machine gun
Engine 4-cylinder water-cooled
turbocharged diesel engine
570 hp
Power/weight 21.9 hp/tonne
Suspension Wheeled 8 x 8
400 km (250 mi)
Speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

Maneuver Combat Vehicle 08.jpg

The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (16式機動戦闘車 Hitoroku-shiki kidou-sentou-sha?) is a wheeled tank destroyer of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.


The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV) will equip designated combat units. Due to its light weight and small size, it is designed for easy deployment (by aircraft if needed) allowing rapid movement on narrow roads and in built-up areas in response to various contingencies. Despite its small size and light armor, it can successfully attack much larger armored fighting vehicles as well as personnel, using its large caliber gun.[3]

For FY2016, the MOD has requested funding for 36 examples of the MCV, to enter service with elements of the 8th Division at Kumamoto, and the 14th Brigade at Zentsūji. Both formations are currently planned for conversion to rapid reaction forces[4] (though these plans, as with the original plans for the MCV [see History], are presently (mid-2015) under review and subject to possible major revision). The intention is for the MCV to act as both as a rapid reaction asset against conventional incursions on the outer islands and as a counter-insurgency vehicle against asymmetrical attacks in urban areas of Japan by enemy special forces, intelligence operatives, or their proxies.

While the MCV is projected to be highly capable, there are doubts about its performance. At a weight of 26 tons, it may be too heavy for the rapid air transport it is designed for. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has a requirement for 60 new Kawasaki C-2 transport planes, which can travel 3,023 nmi (5,599 km) with a 30-ton payload. One C-2 might struggle to carry one MCV with the maintenance crew and ammunition, with a single squadron of 12 MCVs may needing as many as 20 or more C-2 sorties for transport to a remote island. Even so, advance warning of a combat deployment would have MCVs moved (in theory) with commercially chartered aircraft and high-speed ferries because the potential operating area is fairly close. [lower-alpha 3]

Although the vehicle uses modular armor, it has a relatively delicate undercarriage and drive system that may be vulnerable to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other underbody blasts (such as from anti-tank mines). Since the MCV is designed only for defending against enemy invasion of the home islands, it is unlikely to find itself fighting a lengthy counter-insurgency campaign in a foreign nation, or encountering enemy minefields while spearheading an invasion of an enemy power.[lower-alpha 4]

The main gun is manually loaded as a cost-saving measure. Some critics have expressed doubts about its effectiveness due to this strain on the crew in hot conditions, as the vehicle does not have air conditioning although this is not unique to the Maneuver Combat Vehicle.[5] Concerns have also been expressed by some about what they perceive as a shortfall in the MCV's off-road capability.

In 2009 resistance testing of the shielding against HEAT rounds was conducted using the Carl Gustav M2; and against regular kinetic ammunition the frontal shield was developed to resist shots from 20 mm to 30 mm autocannons while the side armor was deemed sufficient to resist 12.7 mm heavy machine gun fire.


The Technical Research & Development Institute of Japan's Ministry of Defense had made several prototype vehicles since 2008. They unveiled their fourth of what was initially called "Mobile Combat Vehicle" (MCV) prototypes on 9 October 2013. JGSDF service Acceptance tests were scheduled to begin in 2014 or 2015, with initial operational deployment by the JGSDF planned for 2016.[6][7] 99 MCVs were originally planned to be introduced by the end of FY 2018.[5] The name of the vehicle was changed to Maneuver Combat Vehicle during the second half of 2011.

The Maneuver Combat Vehicle was part of a new armored vehicle strategy that prioritized light air-transportable firepower. Originally the number of main battle tanks was to be reduced from 760 to 390, with most remaining tanks to be concentrated on the main Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Kyushu. Some 200-300 MCVs were to be procured and these would be airlifted to islands when and where they were needed. The idea was that the smaller, lighter, and faster MCV could be redeployed quicker than tanks to better defend the outlying islands.[8] This represented a shift in Japanese armored vehicle structure from one designed to repel a Soviet invasion from the north to a more mobile force aimed at possibly defending against a Chinese invasion of the southern island chain.[5] The Maneuver Combat Vehicle was intended to help re-equip existing divisions and brigades reorganised into mobile (rapid reaction) divisions/brigades, as well as equip new dedicated rapid reaction regiments alongside (eventually) the Light-weight Combat Vehicle System (LCV) which was also designed with defense of the outer islands in mind.

However, as of 2015, with both growing tensions with Russia over the disputed Kuril Islands, and concerns that the MCV on its own would be insufficient against potential adversary armor systems (ZBD2000 and airborne BMD-4 , plans to reduce the numbers of existing main battle tanks (including procurement of the new Type 10 tank) in favor of buying MCVs and their support infrastructure are currently being reviewed.

See also


PR image from the TRDI / MOD illustrating MCV and possible use.

  1. Became the Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency in 2015.
  2. some prototypes equipped with an autoloader had a crew of three
  3. A high-speed vessel could get MCVs to Nansei Shoto in 24–48 hours, depending on factors such as location, sealift preparation, and weather conditions
  4. Aircraft or artillery delivered mines deployed by an invading force, or infantry placed mines remain a possibility


External links

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