Armor: February 25, 2004


Japan has gone to Iraq with several new vehicles, in an operation which may result in the first combat for Japanese troops since 1945. One is a replacement for the World War II jeep they were manufacturing until 1998. The old Japanese jeep was a licensed version of the American Willys M-38 jeep. The new Japanese jeep is based on the commercial Mitsubishi Montero. Japan has also produced it's own version of the hummer, but as an armored vehicle. It is called the "Light Armored Combat Vehicle." This 4.5 ton vehicle has been in development until recently. The vehicle is 13.8 feet long and normally carries four troops. It can mount a 12.7mm machine-gun or an automatic 40mm grenade launcher. Japan flew at least eight of these vehicles in a Russian An-124 transport. Also sent over, no doubt for convoy protection, was the six wheeled Type 87 armored recon and patrol vehicle. Weighing 15 tons, it is armed with a 25mm cannon and machine-gun, along with a crew of five.


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