The Type 90 tank (90式戦車 Kyū-maru-shiki-sensha) is the main battle tank of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) as of 2011. The Type 90 was planned in 1976 around the basis of the Leopard 2 MBT and produced in 1982 and was meant to replace the highly obsolete Type 61 tanks. The Type 90 was manned by a crew of 3 and one of the most advanced tanks in the world.
Requirements of the Type 90 were completed in 1980 with two prototypes, both armed with a Japanese 120 mm gun (product by Japan Steel Works Limited) firing Japanese ammunition (product by Daikin Industries Limited), completed in 1982 to 1984. Testing, improvements (Turret and half Modular type ceramic composite armour), and designs were modified and constructed until 1986.
A second series of four prototypes was built between 1986 and 1988 which incorporated changes as a result of trials with the first two prototypes. These were armed with the Rheinmetall 120 mm smoothbore gun also fitted to the German Leopard 2 and, in a modified version, in the US M1A1/M1A2 Abrams MBT. These second prototypes were used for development and then user trials, all of which were completed by 1989, before Japan formally acknowledged the Type 90 in 1990. Type 90 formally entered mass production in 1990 and 30 vehicles were produced by the end of the year.
The Type 90 is a fast main battle tank with low armor, but a high health pool. The reload speed is great and firepower is quite impressive, but the comparatively low armor protection leaves the Type 90 vulnerable to HEAT shells fired at the sides and rear. This is a tank that can be very, very effective when used properly, but can get blown away just as easily if you get careless with it. The max level is 68, actually making its max level one level higher than the Type 10 that has a higher stock level. The Type 90 is fairly fast, though not as quick as some other main battle tanks at its level. Nor does the vehicle have spaced armor or reactive armor, so HEAT being fired from enemies will always be a problem. Add to that the light passive armor itself, and it is apparent that the Type 90 is definitely not a tank that can take too many shots.
This is one tank where the stats do not tell the whole story. Yes, the alpha damage is a bit less than that of the M1 Abrams, Arjun, or Type 99, but the reload speed is a fairly substantial half a second faster than all three of these vehicles and so the Type 90 actually has a considerably higher DPM than any of them. In fact, the Type 90 has one of the best DPM ratings in the game. With the Type 90, you will rarely be defeated because of a lack of firepower. The Type 90 isn't amazingly fast or particularly agile either, but it has a higher reverse speed than many tanks around its level range enough to hold its own. The turret rotates at an average speed, but is still fairly slow (many top-tier tanks have a turret rotation speed of 40 degrees a second or higher), which is a slight flaw but not very necessarily a fatal one. The armor is admittedly light, especially given the lack of spaced armor and reactive armor. However, the Type 90 is passably well protected against ATMs, and the frontal upper hull and turret provide adequate protection even against HEAT. The Type 90 has almost as much health and armor as an Arjun, so most enemies will need a shell or two more to take you out. The Type 90 can take a relatively massive amount of punishment and still crawl away at the end of the encounter.
The excellency of the Type 90's gun does not stop at its great alpha damage in combination with its reload speed. The gun's accuracy is little short of phenomenal, even at extreme ranges across whole (large) maps. Camping in a more obvious area with the Type 90 is not particularly recommended when artillery are also in play, as artillery will kill you fairly fast once zeroed in. But if you're taking the sniper role, the Type 90 will be to your liking. Running flags is the one area where the Type 90 is completely ill-suited. Running flags will necessitate exposing the Type 90's vulnerable side and rear armor, and it simply does not have the armor or speed to survive. If you are playing in close quarters maps, stick to flanking and supporting with the Type 90.
Pros and Cons
- Gigantic health pool, second highest out of all high level MBTs
- Amazing gun with a combination of good alpha damage and fairly fast reload, great accuracy and penetration values, high DPM
- Pretty fast speed, reasonable agility and mobility
- The worst armor of any MBT at the highest levels
- Cannot use high explosive ammunition (though not much of an issue)