The TK-X (MBT-X) project aims to produce the new Type 10 main battle tank, to replace or complement the existing Type 74 and Type 90 main battle tanks that are currently in service with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. Development began in the 1990s, and production was expected to start in 2010–2011. A prototype was revealed on February 13, 2008 at the Technology Research and Development Institute (TRDI) in Sagamihara. Heavy emphasis was placed on C4I capabilities as well as on performance, firepower, protection and mobility.
The use of modular components significantly improves the side armor compared to the Type 90. The Commander's Panoramic Sight has been moved to the right and is located at a higher position than the Type 90, giving the commander a wide range of view.
The vehicle's armor consists of modular sections, providing the ability to mount varying degrees of protection depending on the mission profile as well as weight requirements. Vehicle weight is about 40 tonnes with the base configuration, and 48 tonnes when fully equipped. The prototype featured in 2008 at TRDI weighed 44 tonnes.
Type 10 Main Battle Tank uses 120 mm smoothbore gun which was newly developed by Japan Steel Works. Japan Steel Works also manufactures Rheinmetall L44 120 mm smoothbore gun for the Type 90 MBT under licence. There is an option for longer barrels of 50 and 55 calibers (L50, L55). The gun will fire newly developed APFSDS which is a significant increase compared to JM33 APFSDS. Type 10 can fire JM33 APFSDS or all standard 120 mm NATO ammunition. However, Type 10 APFSDS cannot be fired except by Type 10's gun.
The Type 10 tank is equipped with C4I system (Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Intelligence). This can be incorporated into the JGSDF network to enable sharing of information among tanks, as well as connected to the infantry's outdoor computer network "Regiment Command Control System" (ReCS) to facilitate integrated military operations with the infantry troops. Other features are as follows:
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that allows the tank to reach 70 km/h forward as well as reverse.
- Autoloader with crew of three (Commander and gunner in the turret, driver in the hull).
- Hydropneumatic active suspension, which allows it to adjust its stance and absorbs recoil when firing.
- Day/night sights mounted around the turret, providing a full 360° coverage as well as providing input to the C4I system.
The development costs as of 2008 are approximately JPY ¥48,400M (approximately USD $447M). Each unit is expected to cost approximately ¥700M ($6.5M).
The Japanese Ministry of Defense formally acknowledged the Type 10 in December 2009. In 2010, the Japanese Ministry of Defense placed a ¥12,400M order for thirteen Type 10 tanks (Unit cost: ¥954M).
These Type 10 tanks entered JGSDF service in January, 2012.