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Japan tests prototype of new reconnaissance vehicle

The JGSDF is testing a new RCV prototype based on the Type 16 MCV pictured above. The Type 16 MCV is designed for high-speed self-deployments. (Janes/Kelvin Wong )

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) is testing a new reconnaissance combat vehicle (RCV) prototype based on the Type 16 Mobile Combat Vehicle (MCV), a Japan Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) spokesperson told Janes .

“It [the RCV] was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and is currently being tested by the JGSDF, but we cannot comment on the timing of introduction, the quantity to be procured, and the budget, as we will decide whether or not to introduce it based on the results of the tests,” the spokesperson said.

The RCV is designed to be used in reconnaissance units to gather information through rapid operations, the spokesperson added.

In June 2020 ATLA awarded a contract worth JPY2.35 billion (USD17 million) to MHI to build prototypes of three new variants based on the 8×8 Type 16 MCV – an infantry combat vehicle (ICV), an RCV equipped with sensors and cameras, and a manoeuvre mortar combat vehicle (MMCV).

A JGSDF spokesperson told Janes at the time that the service intends to develop a family of Type 16-based vehicles under a project called ‘Common Tactical Wheeled Vehicles', which means the new 8×8 vehicles will have similar dimensions and components.

ATLA told Janes at the DSEI Japan 2023 exhibition in Chiba that deliveries of the prototypes of the new variants have started.

Janes understands the JGSDF has also received prototypes of the ICV and MMCV from MHI and both are now being tested along with the RCV.

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