The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle MCV (16 Hitoroku-shiki kidou-sentou-sha) is a wheeled tank destroyer of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). The Technical Research & Development Institute of Japan’s Ministry of Defense had made several prototype vehicles since 2008. They unveiled their fourth of what were initially called “mobile combat vehicle” prototypes on 9 October 2013. The name of the vehicle was changed to maneuver combat vehicle during the second half of 2011. It is planned that some 200-300 of these vehicles will be built for the Japan’s army. This armored vehicle produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. These will replace ageing main battle tanks. By acquiring wheeled fire support vehicle Japan plans to reduce the number of main battle tanks from 740 to only 300 units within the few years.
The MCV was part of a new armored vehicle strategy that prioritized light air-transportable firepower. 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. The MCV 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.
The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle MCV is classed as a wheeled tank destroyer and is similar in design to the South African Rooikat and Italian Centauro. The main role of this vehicle is to provide direct fire support for infantry units. It can engage hostile armored vehicles, buildings and field fortifications. In some cases it supplements main battle tanks. Wheeled fire support vehicles are cheaper to produce and maintain than main battle tanks. Also these have high speed and mobility on hard surface roads and can respond rapidly to various threats. It is worth noting that main battle tanks require heavy equipment transporters to relocate them if long distances are involved.
The MCV is armed with a 105 mm rifled gun. This gun, a licensed copy of the British Royal Ordnance L7 built by Japan Steel Works (JSW), is the same one found on the long-serving Type 74 Main Battle Tank. It is still able to fire the same ammunition though, including Armor Piercing Discarding-Sabot (APDS), Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS), Multi-Purpose High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT-MP), and High Explosive Squash-Head (HESH). The main gun is manually loaded as a cost-saving measure. There is a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and a roof-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun. The MCV is capable of engaging most armored fighting vehicles, buildings and field fortifications. It can even successfully engage enemy main battle tanks.
Exact modular add-on composite armor of the MCV are not currently known as they are still classified, much the same as the Type 10’s armor. It is lightly armored to save on weight and keep the MCV maneuverable. It seems that the front arc withstands hits form 35 mm or even 40 mm guns. Maximum level of all-round protection is likely to be against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds and artillery shell splinters. Damaged add-on armor modules can be easily replaced in field conditions. These modules are designed to give protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and hollow-charge projectiles, such as Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG). When tested, they were shot at with the Swedish Carl Gustav M2 84mm hand-held Anti-Tank Recoilless Rifle and the armor was not defeated.
The vehicle is not based on any existing 8×8 armored personnel carrier chassis. It seems that it was specially designed to withstand the violent recoil of the main gun. It is powered by a 570 hp water-cooled four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. The manufacturer of the engine is currently unknown, though it is likely to be Mitsubishi. Powerpack is located at the front of the hull. It is claimed that operational range on roads without refueling is only 400 km. Vehicle is fitted with a central tyre inflation system. The MCV is fast for what is quite a large vehicle, with a top speed of 100 km/h (62.1 mph). The vehicle weighs 26 tonnes, with a power to weight ratio of 21.9 hp/t.