At the turn of the millennium, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) evaluated the American M203 Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher (UGBL) and elected instead to adopt a locally designed and produced rifle grenade in its place. Rifle grenades saw considerable service during World War 2 (1939-1945) and their design was perfected throughout the subsequent decades. Innovations eventually saw markedly improved battlefield effectiveness and accuracy as well as enhanced in-the-field function concerning existing service rifles - the grenade not requiring any special attaching/launching equipment as was the case with earlier iterations.
Work on this new weapon system began during 2002 and the "Type 06" was the result of this program to which formal introduction was seen during 2006 with the JGSDF. The Type 06 requires no additional equipment other than the rifle to fire, is cheaper to produce than a standalone UBGL, and can be issued to regular, non-specialized infantry elements instead of specially trained grenadier elements. Design work on the weapon is attributed to the Ground Research and Development Command (GRDC) of the JGSDF while manufacture is through Daikin Industries Ltd, Defense Systems Division.
The basic Type 06 grenade features an armor-defeating HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank) warhead payload. Its projectile body is predictably tubular in its general shape, capped on top with a rounded nose cone. The grenade is given both a contact fuse as well as a timed fuse as a back-up measure. The base of the grenade sports a series of fins for stabilization during its flight path which is typically an arced path from shooter to target area. The weapon broadens the tactical value of the modern Japanese warfighter - particularly against light-armored vehicles - by providing a grenadier capability for the base infantry squad.
Manufacturing Daikin Industries Ltd, Defense Systems Division - Japan
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