The field of anti-tank weaponry appropriately broadened as tank protection increased from the days of World War 1 (1914-1918). Early counters included general artillery, land mines and large-caliber rifle systems. With advancements arising in missile technology, the concept of the anti-tank missile launcher arrived in turn and proved itself the most effective means of stopping a tank at range. The nation of Japan followed other global military powers during the Cold War years in the adoption of a missile-launching system with the purpose of destroying enemy tanks. In 1952, the US occupation of Japan ended which allowed Japan to establish a new local military force through the "Japan Self-Defense Force" (JSDF) which encompassed its ground, air and sea-going component.
In 1957, work by the Defense Agency Technical Research and Development Institute began on a wire-guided, anti-tank missile system with included an armor-defeating missile and a reusable launcher for use by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). After requisite testing, further development and trials, the weapon was formally adopted by the JGSDF in 1964 as the "Type 64 MAT", though marked officially as the "Type 64 ATM", with production handled by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), KHI would eventually deliver subsequent anti-tank weapons over the next several decades culminating with the all-modern Type 01 series in use today.
The Type 64 ATM was a 16 kilogram missile featuring a 1 meter length and diameter of 120mm. The weapon supported a missile that utilized a hollow charge warhead with contact detonation as well as a two-stage solid rocket motor. The propulsion system allowed for a speed of 278 feet per second while the missile maintained an effective minimum range of 350 meters to a maximum range of 1,800 meters. As a wire-guided development, the Type 64 ATM made use of an "MCLOS" system - "Manual Command Line-Of-Sight"- which provided the operator use of a control system to guide the missile in flight to add some accuracy at range. Fins aided the missile's stability during its flight path. A typical operating crew was three personnel and, due to the system's size, mounting of the launcher on vehicles proved commonplace.
The Type 64 ATM continues to serve in an active capacity today (2014) though in a limited sense due to the arrival of the Type 79 "Jyu-MAT", Type 87 "Chu-MAT" and Type 01 lines (detailed elsewhere on this site). This has placed the Type 64 ATM in a second-line, reserve-minded role. The weapon system may also be referred to under the designations of "64MAT" and "KAM-3". It is reported that only 220 Type 64 ATM units were produced by KHI.