By 2024, the ground defense force will have sophisticated wheeled combat vehicles

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV)

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) is set to embark on a significant modernization initiative in 2024, with plans to procure new wheeled combat vehicles. This procurement includes 24 Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) and eight Maneuver Mortar Combat Vehicles (MMCVs), with an allocated budget of JPY 8 billion and JPY 24.2 billion respectively. Both of these vehicles will be based on the highly versatile Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV), marking a strategic shift towards enhancing Japan’s ground defense capabilities. Global open-source intelligence company Janes reported that tender the project titled “Common Tactical Wheeled Vehicles”, the JGSDF aims to develop a family of vehicles derived from the Type 16 platform. This approach ensures consistency in dimensions and components across the new 8×8 vehicles, streamlining logistics and maintenance processes. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to sign a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to oversee the procurement of these vehicles, with deliveries expected to commence in 2027 and conclude by 2028.


Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV)
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV)

The Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV), part of the Common Tactical Wheeled Vehicle project, represents a significant upgrade from the aging Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle currently in service. Originating from the Mitsubishi Armored Vehicle (MAV) chassis, the ICV promises enhanced mobility and firepower. Equipped with an unmanned turret housing a 30mm Mk. 44 Bushmaster II Automatic Cannon, derived from the proven 25mm M242 Bushmaster, the ICV ensures formidable firepower on the battlefield. Additionally, a coaxial 7.62mm Bushmaster Mk 54 Machine Gun complements the main gun, offering versatility in engaging various threats. Meanwhile, the Maneuver Mortar Combat Vehicle (MMCV) variant is designed to provide maneuverable fire support, featuring a 120mm weapon system. These vehicles are poised to bolster the JGSDF’s capabilities across a spectrum of operations, from infantry support to rapid deployment in urban environments.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Maneuver Mortar Combat Vehicle
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Maneuver Mortar Combat Vehicle (MMCV)

The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (Type 16 MCV), on which these new vehicles are based, is renowned for its agility and versatility. Its lightweight design allows for swift deployment, including potential airlift operations, enabling rapid response to diverse contingencies. Despite its compact size, the Type 16 MCV boasts formidable firepower, capable of engaging both armored vehicles and personnel effectively. Furthermore, its compatibility with transport aircraft like the Kawasaki C-2 facilitates seamless deployment, including to remote locations such as the Okinawa Islands. Operational testing has confirmed that both the ICV and MMCV variants meet the stringent operational requirements of the JGSDF. This procurement marks a significant step towards modernizing Japan’s ground forces, ensuring they remain agile, capable, and prepared to address evolving security challenges in the region. As Japan continues to enhance its defense capabilities, these new combat vehicles will play a crucial role in safeguarding national security and contributing to regional stability.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV)

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