Type 98A Ke-Ni

The Type 98 light tank Ke-Ni (also known as Type 98 Chi-Ni) was designed to replace the Imperial Japanese Army's Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, Japan's most numerous armored fighting vehicle during World War II.

Type 98A Ke-Ni
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Hino Jidosha Kogyo
Production Period 1942 - 1943
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Hino Jidosha Kogyo 1942 1943 104 View

Although designed before World War II, production did not start until 1942 and only about a hundred were produced by the end of the war.

The Type 98 developed in 1938 was a light tank with the same weight as the earlier Type 95, but with thicker armor. The prototype of the new Type 98 tank was completed by Hino Motors in 1939, but it did not enter production at the time. This can be attributed to the adequate performance of the aging Type 95 against obsolete tanks of National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China forces.

With the start of World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff quickly realized that the Type 95 design was vulnerable to .50 caliber machine gun fire and attempted to develop a light tank with the same weight as the Type 95, but with thicker armor. A production contract for the Type 98 was awarded to Hino Motors and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with a total of 104 Type 98s are known to have been built, 1 in 1941, 24 in 1942 and 79 in 1943. By the end of the war, the Imperial Navy had priority on steel for warships and aircraft construction, leaving the Imperial Japanese Army at the bottom of the list for raw material to build tanks with.

The design of the Type 98, in comparison to the Type 95, featured thicker, welded armor of improved shape, including the use of a Mitsubishi Type 100 6-Cylinder air-cooled diesel engine, rated at 130 horsepower, and located sideways to make maintenance easier. Slightly lighter and shorter than the original Type 95, it could travel at 50 km/h even with its thicker armor. Three pairs of bogies with six road-wheels connected to the chassis using bell cranks, which transferred any movement in the bogies into sideways motion that was absorbed by springs.

In contrast to the one-man turret of Type 95, the Type 98 had a conventional two-man turret, carrying a Type 100 37 mm tank gun, with a muzzle velocity of 760 m/s, and also a coaxial 7.7 mm machine gun.

Other DesignationsType 98A Ke-Ni
Manufacturer(s)Hino Jidosha Kogyo
Production Quantity104Production Period1942-1943
TypeLight TankCrew3
Length /hull (m)4.11Barrel Overhang (m)n.a.
Width /with skirts (m)2.12Height (m)1.82
Combat Weight (kg)7200Radio Equipmentn.a.
Primary Armament37mm Gun Type 100Ammunition Carried110
Traverse (degrees)(360°)Elevation (degrees)n.a.
Traverse speed (360°)n.a.Sightn.a.
Secondary Armament7.7mm Type 97 MGAmmunition Carried1400

Engine Make & ModelType 100No. of Links/Trackn.a.
Type & DisplacementIn6Track Widthn.a.
Horsepower130hp@2100Track Ground Contactn.a.
Power/Weight Ratio18.1 hp/tGround Pressuren.a.
Gearboxn.a.Ground Clearance (m)0.35
FuelDieselTurning Radius (m)n.a.
Range on/off road (km)300Gradient (degrees)30°
Mileage (liters/100km)n.a.Vertical Obstacle (m)0.70
Fuel Capacity (liters)n.a.Fording (m)0.75
Speed on/off road50Trench Crossing (m)2.10
Armor (mm@degrees)FrontSideRearTop/Bottom
Hull6mm to 16mm

End notes