The Type-10 is the latest evolution in Japanese tank design. The design is predicated on the need for Japan to possess an advanced tank that employs lethal direct fires and gains information dominance over an adversary. The design is intended to account for Japan’s limited internal space for transportation, restrictive urbanization and limited heavy lift capabilities. It is to be rapidly transported in order to augment their rapid reaction forces in the event of an armed attack by external forces. The Type–10 was initially decided upon early at the turn of the century, when Japanese planners conducted an analysis of alternatives covering their current inventory of main battle tanks to ascertain if future upgrades were feasible as a result of the anticipated transformational impact from digitization.
Upon completion of the analysis, it was decided that a new tank design would best meet the future requirements of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, here after known as the JGSDF. The JGSDF elected to focus on three main tenants identified in their analysis; the vehicle must be rapidly transportable with current and future transport options, it must possess a 120mm main gun and it must be able to integrate into a robust battlefield network that allows for the vehicle to obtain situational dominance over potential enemies. Due to the operational environment that the JGSDF finds itself in, it requires a rapid and mobile ground defense force to deploy and contain enemy forces, followed by rapidly counter attacking, with the intent to regain positions. Additionally, the distinct likelihood of operating in restrictive terrain required the JGSDF to make calculated tradeoff’s that prioritized transportability over weight. Design and development of the Type-10 began when the Technical Research and Development Institute executed its design production model in 2002. Subsequent prototype testing occurred in 2007 and 2008, with full rate production in 2012.