The Type 96 has a relatively low profile, similar to the standard Western armored vehicles.

Introduce

While China is still engrossed in copying Soviet armored designs, Japan has launched Type 96 armored vehicles that are advertised to be of good quality comparable to Western products. It seems that Japanese military products are always of high quality, but there were times when the Japanese encountered a situation of “not to know whether to laugh or cry” at a military event. In November 2016, a Type 96 Armoured Personnel Carrier of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force suddenly lost a wheel.

The Chinese press described the situation in detail: during a military show celebrating the 59th anniversary of Kusu Garrison, the Type 96 unfortunately dropped a wheel in the front. According to local sources, the cause of this accident was a broken gear shaft. However, due to the design with 8 wheels, the Type 96 can still continue to run, but the loss of a front wheel should make the vehicle unbalanced and move much harder.

Similar incidents are not uncommon, such as the “accident” case of the Chinese Type 96B tank at the 2016 Tank Biathlon event held in Russia. Accordingly, while running to the finish line, suddenly a wheel of a Type 96B tank was thrown out. The accident was considered by the Chinese media to be the most unforgettable moment for the country’s tank forces.

According to publicly available informations, Type 96 is the designation of an armored vehicle line developed by Komatsu, which has been serving the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force since 1996. Within more than 20 years, Komatsu has built 365 vehicles. The price of a Type 96 is up to $1.6 million each, which is quite expensive for an Armored Personnel Carrier.

Type 96 Armored Personnel Carrier
Type 96 Armored Personnel Carrier

Design

The Type 96 has a weight of 14.6 tons, a length of 6.84m (22.44 ft), a width of 2.48m (8.14 ft) and a height of 1.85m (6.07 ft). The vehicle was configured as an 8×8 wheeled armored vehicle, highly maneuverable, capable of transporting up to eight fully equipped combat troops and two crew members.

The Type 96 has a relatively low profile, similar to the standard Western armored vehicles. The hull is made of all-welded steel armour, the engine compartment is on the left front of the vehicle and the exhaust outlet is on the left side of the hull roof. The driver sits in the front right, aided by three day periscopes, the centre periscope can be replaced with passive night vision periscopes when needed.

Soldiers in the passenger compartment can use their personal weapons to enhance the firepower of the vehicle through two firing ports on each side of the hull. The troops can enter and exit the vehicle through a power-operated ramp located in the rear. There are five roof hatches, three on the left and two on the right, on the top of the troop section.

The Type 96 is also fitted with an enhanced nuclear, biological and chemical system for crew safety. A laser warning device is mounted forward on the left side of the roof. This is of the same type fitted to a number of other Japanese armoured fighting vehicles such as the Type 90 MBT.

Armament

Behind the driver is the location of the commander cum gunner, he owns a 360-degree rotating cupola that can carry either a 40 mm grenade launcher or a 12.7 mm M2HB machine gun. The gun can be aimed and fired from inside cupola to ensure his safety.

A bank of four forward-firing smoke grenade launchers is mounted either side of the troop compartment.

Powerplant

To ensure performance, the vehicle is powered by a Mitsubishi 6D40 water-cooled 6-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 360 horsepower. The vehicle can run on paved roads with a maximum speed of 100 km/h, a range of 500 km. The suspension is enhanced on all eight wheels, cross-country performance improves when compared to other armored vehicles of six wheels or less.

The central tire pressure system is equipped as a standard of modern wheeled armored vehicles, Type 96 can still move when any one of the wheels is damaged or completely destroyed. As was the case with the Type 96 mentioned above, the vehicle can still keep on moving with a lost wheel. This armored personnel carrier is not designed for amphibious.

An improved version of Type 96 was revealed in January 2017. Overall, this next generation car is longer, higher, much heavier, better protected, and faster. It has more internal volume and higher payload capacity than the Type 96. This vehicle is expected to replace the 365 Type 96 vehicles in service.

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