The Type 73 was designed as a successor to the earlier Type SU 60, Japan's first post-war armored fighting vehicle, and attempted to address many of the latter's deficiencies in terms of equipment and capabilities. In contrast to the steel hull of the Type SU 60, the Type 73 is constructed of all-welded aluminum and retains the bow-mounted machine gun of its predecessor on the left side of the hull. A hull mounted machine gun is also provided, albeit without the shield used on the Type SU 60 since it can be fired from inside the cupola. The troop compartment can carry up to nine infantrymen (one of which operates the hull machine gun), and exit through rear doors which feature a T-shaped firing port. Additionally, there are two escape hatches on the roof of the troop compartment. The Type 73 features NBC protection, night vision equipment as well as amphibious capability via an optional kit consisting on buoyancy aids, skirts, and a trim vane for the front of the hull. Water propulsion is provided by its tracks. Despite being superseded by the Type 89 IFV, the relatively low level of production in the former means that the Type 73 still remains in widespread service with the JGSDF and will be for the foreseeable future.
Development of a successor to the Type SU 60 began in 1967 through a collaborative effort between numerous Japanese firms supplying individual components. Two prototypes were built, one by Komatsu and the other by Mitsubishi, with steel and aluminum hulls respectively and it was the later that was chosen for production as the Type 73. Other variants include the Type 75 ground wind measuring unit as well as a command post vehicle. Components of the basic design are also used in the Type 75 multiple rocket launcher (MRL), Type 74 105-mm self-propelled howitzer, Type 92 Mine Clearing Vehicle (MCV). Some are also used to carry the older Type 70 mine clearing system.
Preceded by:Type SU 60 APC (1960)
Succeeded by:Type 96 APC (1999)
|Length (w/Gun)||5.80 m|
|Ground Clearance||0.400 m|
|Track Width||380 mm|
|Track on Ground||3.670 m|
|Ground Pressure||0 kg/cm²|
|Speed (Off-Road)||70 km/h|
|Range (Off-Road)||300 km|
|Amphibious||Yes (7 km/h)|
|Vertical Obstacle||0.70 m|
|Engine||1 x 300-hp|
|Secondary||Bow:1 x 7.62-mmType 74 HTMGAnti-Aircraft: 1 x 12.70-mmM2HB .50 cal|