Type 81 mod.(C) Tan-SAM Kai - An Appreciated SAM for the JGSDF: Part 1

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Type 81 mod.(C) Tan-SAM Kai - An Appreciated SAM for the JGSDF: Part 1

Hi and welcome to my 19th suggestion, which is about the Type 81 mod.(C) Tan-SAM Kai and one of a few modern japanese vehicles I want to suggest, hope you like it. :popcorn:

There will be a follow-up suggestion about the Type 11 SAM soon, but we do need more information; if you want to help share sources and information in the JGSDF Discussion thread or here.
(EDIT: Suggestion done and approved, linked down below above the Sources)

First of all:

  • This is a suggestion for a Vehicle we could see in game at some point in the Future , that doesn´t mean next Patch or somewhere in the near Future
  • Feel free to share more Information and / or correct me if something is wrong
  • Discuss respectfully, any aggressive kind or verbal abuse will be reported, the Forum rules also apply here

Basic Background

Development began in the second half of the 1960s and was introduced in 1981.
Use of the Type 81 mod.(A) SAM missile began in 1982 in every division of the JGSDF and in 1983 for air defense of Air Self-Defense Force bases. By 1990, the use of this type in all divisions of the Ground Self-Defense Force was complete.
From 1992, the Type 81 mod. (B) SAM missile was used for base air defense of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Currently the improved Type 81 mod.(C) SAM missile is deployed by the JGSDF, JASDF has not adopted the modified short-range SAM due to its reduced ability to counter cruise missiles.

The Type 81 mod.(C) Overall

The Type 81 SAM is a multi-vehicle surface-to-air missile system that can also operate with just the launcher vehicle if needed. In its complete form, the system consists of a Fire Control Vehicle equipped with radar, and two Launcher vehicles, each carrying four missiles connected to the Fire Control Vehicle. If the Fire Control Vehicle is inoperable, the Launcher vehicles are equipped with an external optical director to guide the missile initially until its infrared sensor is activated, making it a fire-and-forget missile.
The Launcher vehicle has a light wave fire control system atop the launcher that allows it to operate independently as a fire-and-forget surface-to-air missile, but without radar capabilities. The vehicle is based on the Isuzu Type 73 truck, and its mobility is good, reaching speeds of up to 90 km/h. The turret on the back of the truck holds four missiles, with two additional missiles in reserve on the sides of the bed.
The missiles used in the Type 81 SAM system are referred to as Missiles. There are two main variants: the Infrared Missile used on the original Tan-SAM, and the Light Wave/Radio Wave Missile used on the modern Tan-SAM Kai. The latter has sub-variants for use with or without a Fire Control Vehicle. The missile functions as a fire-and-forget system, with visible light compound image guidance and passive infrared guidance. Its effective range is 7 kilometers, with an effective ceiling of 3 kilometers. The warhead is a 9.4-kilogram high-explosive fragmentation, activated by direct contact or radar proximity fuse.
Overall, the Type 81 SAM system offers unique gameplay possibilities in War Thunder, with the option for players to use the Launcher vehicle as a standalone fire-and-forget missile platform without radar capabilities.

Follow-Up Type 11 Tan-SAM Kai II Suggestion

Thanks for your time, hope you liked it :salute:
[Will add more if there are some (more) important / declassified things]
[PM or comment if a Link or Picture isn´t working]



81式短距離地対空誘導弾 - Wikipedia
Guided Missile Specifications
Isuzu SKW | Weaponsystems.net
Tan-SAM | Weaponsystems.net


+1 hope to see it someday 07


+1 Japan need more modern SPAAs


Important note, light wave and radio variants have different noses - round nose for light wave(left, ~2710mm) and sharp for radio(right, ~2850mm)


Seeing how it could operate standalone without the radar vehicles, it would essentially operate similar to the Type 93. I’m not against the addition, as Japan needs something to stem the bleeding.


We definitely need a more capable AA-missile system for Japan +1


Indeed, Japan definitily needs better SAM in top tier. However, the Type 81 mod.(C) is in this case limited to IR missiles, just like Type 93, but these are better with more range and G-load and can be placed at 10.0 in GRB.
My upcomming follow-up suggestion will be about its successor, which should more comparable to Pantsir in therms of efficienty and usage, it can easily be placed on 12.0 in GRB, maybe higher in future since I doubt that Pantsir and other upcomming SAM systems will stay at 11.7 - 12.0.


Are you talking about the Type 11? I didn’t know it could fire on its own, actually don’t really know all too much about it tbh.

the youtube transcript has this line: 体の機材だけで最強することが可能となっ
Which Google Translate corrected to this: 体の機材だけで作業することが可能となっ
Either line suggests (via machine translation, such as DeepL), that it could function using only the equipment that the vehicle carries."
theoretically you launch missile with tripod and then it search target by its own radar similar to close range homing of aim7, if we forget about tripod we have perfect top-tier japan AA
No proofs about it yet tho

Tbf, there is not much information about it, but from what we found so far, it seems possible that both Type 81 mod.C and Type 11 can be controlled with an external tripod optical sight (as seen on many pictures as well). This device can be found on both SAM systems.
Even if that were not the case, Japan has no other options without introducing a sub TT which would most likely be South Korea as they have an VT-1 equivalent. But as often been noted, any sub TT for Japan seems to be controversial in the Community and Gaijin knows that.
I will therefore insert an extra part in the follow-up suggestion where I will address this “multi-vehicle / technical possibilities” topic and try to explain why Japan should continue to be an exceptional case for technically possible and “paper designs” in this regard.
Otherwise I see no bright future for the Japanese TT tbh and this is just a game afterall, not a Simulator.

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@WreckingAres283 I remembered seeing some conflicting information regarding the Type 81(C)'s missile range and by chance, it was one of the sources you used here! (81式短距離地対空誘導弾(C)|81短SAM・SAM-1|陸上自衛隊装備品|陸自調査団) It mentions the light wave missile as having approximately 7km of range, while the radar-guided one does about 14km.

I’m looking into other sources to see if the 14km range can be corroborated, but if so, that (as well as the missile’s other characteristics) would definitely bring the Type 81(C) closer to parity with other SAM systems in-game!

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This makes sense because the Japanese Anti-Air doctrine says that every launcher vehicle can function without the radar vehicle.

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Indeed, but both of my Suggestions are rather focused to disprove Gaijins point, who claim that Type 81 requires a mutli-vehicle systems (though I am not sure if they are aware of the mod.(C) and its IR missiles, as well as the Key-Control-Unit, more about this in my follow-up Suggestion).

I will invite you both to our research server, if you are interested.

Type 11 Tan-SAM Kai II Suggestion soonTM. (Pending)

Radar version


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I am interested

Thanks for all the Support.

Added the follow-up, Type 11 Tan-SAM Kai II suggestion link.

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I like that I was the first one to vote yes on this for WT.
Very nice to see many people agree this is needed.

Japan need any spaa its like 5 years now without top tier one


Definitely needs added, however I see this honestly having a greater chance of implementation than the Type 11 since the Type 11 has the KCU which isn’t directly mounted to the vehicle. The Type 81 however has an integrated optical-tracking system on the launcher. We’ll see, but regardless hope to see 🫡

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Type 81 mod.C is also operated with an KCU (you can see it on some pictures).