STA-1 Main Battle Tank
The STA-1 was a precursor to the Japanese Type 61 MBT. Prior to the Type 61 MBT, Japan was using US M4 tanks; however the M4 was becoming obsolete. The decision then was to use either another US tank such as the M47 or M48 or develop a native project. Japan settled on a native project and the STA-1 was amoung several designs that lead to the future Type 61 MBT.
One aspect of the descion for a domestic design was the fact that at the time transporting a tank was typical done by rail; with requirements on the width of the vehicle being less than 3 m and the weight no more than 35 t. The M47 as an example was 3.52 m in width and an unsuitable candidate.
The Type 61 MBT was the first domestic tank design in Japan since the end of the Second World War seeing it's development during the mid 1950s. The main gun chosen for the design was a 90 mm. Nihon Seikou was contracted to develop this gun; with a goal that it exceed in muzzle velocity and weight it's US contemporary. Mitsubishi was contracted for the power unit, the hull, and other general development.
There were four prototypes for the Type 61 MBT:
- STA-1 Main Battle Tank - the first of the prototypes to be built. This variant is notable because unlike the others which had 6 road wheels, this had 7.
- STA-2 Main Battle Tank - developed alongside the STA-1, the STA-2 was preferred as it was more mobile.
- STA-3 Main Battle Tank - this variant is notable for having an autoloader for the main gun and a remote controlled AA machine gun.
- STA-4 Main Battle Tank
1. "The history of Type61." JGSDF Maniacs. N.p.. Web. 21 Oct 2013. <http://tankguy.gooside.com/type61history/Type61History.html>.
2. "Type 61." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 12 Oct 2013. Web. 22 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_61>.