Modernization for the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) during the 1990s eventually led to the adoption of the "Type 01 LMAT" - a light, man-portable, shoulder-fire anti-tank missile launcher - to replace an aged, outgoing stock of Carol Gustav recoilless rifles (as the "Sumitomo FT-84"). Development began in the mid-1990s with a prolonged period of testing and trials following resulting in formal service entry during 2001. Design work was handled by the Defense Agency Technical Research and Development Institute (DATRDI) with manufacture under the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) brand label. Production has been ongoing since 2001.
Developed under the temporary designator of "XATM-5" with the expected service designation of ATM-5, the weapon was finalized with the "Type 01 LMAT" designation by the time of service adoption. The "LMAT" portion of the designation stands for "Kei-Tai-Sensha Yudo-Dan" translating to "Light, Anti-Tank, Guided Missile".
What Japanese engineers developed was a shoulder-held launch tube with integrated optics and a ready-to-fire missile - comparable to the American FGM-148 "Javelin" series. The complete system weighs 17.5 kilograms with the missile 11.5 kilograms of the weapon's weight. The launch tube measures 970mm with a diameter of 140mm and actual caliber of 120mm. An integral optical system (thermographic camera) is offset to the left, front side of the weapon with optimal engagement ranges out to 1.25 miles and detonation of the tandem-charged HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank) warhead through basic impact forces. At the heart of the system is its missile - a solid fuel, rocket-propelled munition reaching speeds of 13,000 feet per second while guided by an image infrared homing design. Unlike the early class of wire-guided AT missile systems of the Cold War years in service with the JGSDF and elsewhere, the Type 01 LMAT has become a true "fire-and-forget" system not requiring direct Line-of-Sight (LoS) between operator and target nor does it require operator management during the missile's flight to the target.
The Type 01 LMAT is a relatively compact battlefield weapon aided in transport and during marches by an included shoulder. The system can be operated by a single person - including airborne troopers in dire need of such firepower particularly against the threat of tanks. The missile is capable of defeating current-generation combat armor as well as more advanced Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) block schemes used throughout the world.
Due to the post-World War 2 Japanese constitution, which restricted weapons exportation, the Type 01 LMAT has not been seen in the inventories of other global players. However, the recent relaxation of said restriction could set the stage for foreign sales at a near-future date.