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Type SU 60 APC

Armored Personnel Carrier

The SU-60 became the first armored personnel carrier to be produced in post-World War 2 Japan.
Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Edited: 9/25/2018
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1960
Manufacturer(s): Mitsubishi and Komatsu - Japan
Production: 755
Capabilities: Troop-Carrying;
Crew: 4
Length: 15.91 ft (4.85 m)
Width: 7.87 ft (2.4 m)
Height: 7.58 ft (2.31 m)
Weight: 12 tons (10,702 kg); 23,594 lb
Power: 1 x Mitsubishi HA-21 WT 8-cylinder air-cooled 4-cycle turbocharged diesel engine delivering 230 horsepower at 2,400rpm.
Speed: 28 mph (45 kph)
Range: 186 miles (300 km)
Operators: Japan
The Japanese Type-60 was the first armored personnel carrier developed by the Mitsubishi and Komatsu companies in the post-World War 2 period with the system appearing sometime in the late 1950's. Like Hitler's Germany, the Empire of Japan had lost all of her war-making capabilities after World War 2 and therefore she was restricted to defensive components taking the form of "self-defense" forces. The newly-minted Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) tested the Type-60 vehicle and accepted the model into service with production beginning in 1960. In all, some 775 Type-60 vehicles would be produced up until 1972.

The differentiating characteristic between the Japanese SU-60 and her contemporaries was in the location of the defensive armament. The anti-infantry 7.62-mm machine gun was bow-mounted in a World War 2-style, ball-type fitting along the front left side of the glacis plate with the secondary weapon, a 12.7-mm heavy anti-aircraft machine gun, fitted to the APC roof in a trainable turret ring with full 360-degree traverse. The 12.7mm gun emplacement was slightly protected by a rather smallish personal armored shield. The commander sat behind the driver with the driver himself situated at the right front side of the forward hull. There was a complete crew of four including the two machine gunners with additional room for up to eight combat-ready passengers in the rear compartment. Consistent with other armored personnel carriers was the large rear door entry-exit ramp. The design sported five road wheels to a track side with the drive sprocket located at the front of the hull sides and the return roller at the rear. The tracked function allowed for improved off road performance over that of similar wheeled systems. Her design was such that she was given a sloping front glacis plate and lower hull with relatively featureless slab sides, a flat rear panel and a squared-off upper hull. The flattened top hull was convenient for the carrying of additional supplies and even extra personnel should the situation dictate it. There were circular access hatches located forward and aft of the upper hull slab.

The SU-60 could manage a 0.6 meter (1.96 foot) vertical obstacle and cross a 1.82 meter wide trench (5.97ft ) wile fording water up to 1 meter (3.28ft) in depth. The tracks were 35-cm wide, allowing her to navigate a gradient slope of up to 60%. She was powered by a Mitsubishi HA-21 WT 8-cylinder turbocharged diesel developing 230 horsepower at 2400rpm. Top road speed was listed at 27.9 miles per hour (45km/h).

Once in practice, the SU-60 proved to have some major inherent limitations. Her armor defense was poor and capable of protecting her crew against only small arms fire. Her design offered nothing in the way of NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection or night vision capabilities to assist the driver, commander and gunners. She could also not lay down her own smoke screen and was not designed as a true amphibious system. All these qualities limited her scope and placed her well behind that of her contemporaries of the time.

Nevertheless, for a recovering army, the SU-60 fit the bill - at least for the interim.


1 x 7.62mm general purpose machine gun in forward hull.
1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun in traversing upper hull turret ring.

1,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
500 x 12.7mm ammunition

Variants / Models

• Type SU 60 - Base Production Series Designation
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