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T62 Series Tanks

The T-62 is a further step in the line of development begun with the T-54/55 series, entering production in 1961 and remaining in production until 1975. It became the standard main battle tank in Soviet tank and motorized rifle units, gradually replacing the T-54 and T-55. The T-62A variant first appeared in 1970. By the 1980s it was replaced by the new generation T-64/T-72/T-80 tanks as the first-line Soviet main battle tank.


The T-62 medium tank has a fully tracked, five-road wheeled chassis with close spaces between the three front road wheels and large gaps separating the third, fourth, and fifth road wheels. The drive sprocket is at the rear and the idler at the front, and there are no track return rollers. The rounded turret, mounted over the third road wheel, is more smoothly cast and more nearly egg-shaped than that of the T-54/55 series. The commander's cupola on the left is cast with the turret and not bolted on as in the case of the T-54/55. The loader's hatch on the right is also located farther forward.

The 115-mm smoothbore main gun has a longer and thinner tube than the 100-mmgunof the T-54/55, and its bore evacuator is located about two-thirds of the way up the gun tube from the turret. There is also a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun, and model T-62A also mounts a 12.7-mm antiaircraft machine gun at the loader's hatch position.

A gunner's IR searchlight is mounted on the right above the main gun, and a smaller IR searchlight is mounted on the commander's cupola. The driver's hatch is located in front of the turret on the left side of the flat, low-silhouetted hull.


Like the T-55, the T-62 has a 580 hp V-12 water-cooled diesel engine, which gives it a cruising range of 320 km cross-country or 450 km on paved roads with integral fuel cells and 450 km cross-country or 650 km on paved roads with two 200-liter auxiliary fuel tanks. It also shares the snorkeling and smokescreen generating capabilities of the T-54/55 series and has the same PAZ radiation detection system as the T-55. Some T-62s may have been retrofitted with full NBC collective protection systems (air filtration and overpressure). Most models have the same IR night sight and driving equipment and the same fire control equipment as the T-54/55, although some T-62s have been retrofitted with a passive night sight replacing the gunner's active IR sight, and a laser rangefinder is believed to have been developed to replace the stadiametric reticule rangefinder.

The most significant improvement over the T-54/55 tanks, however, is the 115-mm smoothbore main gun which fires a hypervelocity, armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding sabot (HVAPFSDS) round with a muzzle velocity of 1,61 5 meters per second. The penetrator flies in a very flat trajectory and is therefore extremely accurate out to a maximum effective range of 1,600 meters. Although the specific number of each type of round varies with the anticipated tactical situation, the 40-round basic load typically includes 12 HVAPFSDS rounds, 6 HEAT rounds, and 22 HE rounds. The T-62 also has an automatic shell ejector system which is activated by the recoil of the main gun and ejects spent casings through a port in the rear of the turret.

Available improvements include a hull bottom reinforced against mines, rubber track pads, and a thermal sleeve for the gun. There are thermal sights available for installation which permit night launch of ATGMs. The 1K13 sight is both night sight and ATGM launcher sight; however, it cannot be used for both functions simultaneously. Optional sights and fire control systems include the Israeli El-Op Red Tiger and Matador FCS, Swedish NobelTech T-series sight, and German Atlas MOLF. The British Marconi Digital FCS, South African Tiger, and Belgian SABCA Titan offer upgraded function. One of the best is the Slovenian EFCS-3 integrated FCS. A variety of thermal sights is available. They include the Russian Agava, French SAGEM-produced ALIS and Namut sight from Peleng.


The T-62 has all the limitations of the T-55: cramped crew compartment, thin armor, crude gun control equipment (on most models), limited depression of main gun, and vulnerable fuel and ammunition storage areas. The automatic spent-cartridge ejection system can cause dangerous accumulations of carbon monoxide and possibly actual physical injury to the crew from cartridge cases projected against the edge of a poorly aligned ejection port and rebounding into the crew compartment. Opening the ejection port under NBC conditions would also expose the crew to contamination.

Each time the gun is fired, the tube must go into detente for cartridge ejection, and the power traverse of the turret is inoperable during ejection and reloading operations. Since manual elevation and traverse are rather slow and not effective for tracking a moving target, rapid fire and second-hit capabilities are limited. The turret also cannot be traversed with the driver's hatch open. Although the tank commander may override the gunner and traverse the turret, he cannot fire the main gun from his position. He is unable to override the gunner in elevation of the main gun, causing target acquisition problems.

To fire the 12.7-mm antiaircraft machinegun, the loader must be partially exposed, making him vulnerable to suppressive fires, and he must also leave his main gun loading duties unattended.



Designation T-62M
Date of Introduction 1983
Proliferation At least 1 country
Crew 4
Combat Weight (mt) 41.5
Chassis Length Overall (m) 6.63
Height Overall (m) 2.4
Width Overall (m) 3.52
Ground Pressure (kg/cm 2 ) INA
Automotive Performance
Engine Type 620-hp Diesel
Cruising Range (km) 450/650 with extra tanks
Speed (km/h)
Max Road 45
Max Off-Road INA
Average Cross-Country INA
Max Swim N/A
Fording Depths (m) 1.4 Unprepared, 5.5 with snorkel
Radio R-173, R-173P, R-124 intercom
Armor, Turret Front (mm) 230
Applique Armor (mm) Bra armor (+100 on turret) and track skirts
Explosive Reactive Armor (mm) Available, replaces bra armor
Active Protective System Russian Drozd APS will fit
Mineclearing Equipment Roller-plow set, and plows
Self-Entrenching Blade No
NBC Protection System Nuclear radiation only
Smoke Equipment Vehicle engine exhaust smoke system 2 x 4 Smoke grenade launchers
Main Armaments
Caliber, Type, Name 115-mm smoothbore gun, 2A20/Sheksna
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 3-5
Loader Type Manual
Ready/Stowed Rounds INA
Elevation (°) -5 to +18
Fire on Move Yes (gun rounds only--ATGMs require a short halt)
Auxiliary Weapon
Caliber, Type, Name 7.62-mm (7.62x 54R) machinegun PKT
Mount Type Turret coax
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 2,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 800
Night 800
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 250 rpm practical, 800 cyclic, 2-10 rd bursts
ATGM Launcher
Name 2A20 gun
Launch Method Gun-launched
Guidance SACLOS, Infrared laser-beam rider
Command Link Encoded laser-beam
Launcher Dismountable No
FCS Name Volna
Main Gun Stabilization M1 Meteor 2-plane
Rangefinder KTD-2 Laser
Infrared Searchlight L-4
Sights w/Magnification
Day TShSM-41U, 3.5x and 7x
Field of View (°) 18 and 8
Acquisition Range (m) 4,000
Night 1K13-1
Field of View (°) INA
Acquisition Range (m) 850-1,300, gun rounds only
Commander Fire Main Gun No
Caliber, Type, Name
115-mm APFSDS-T, BD/36-2
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 3,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 2,000+ (est)
Night 850-1,300
Armor Penetration (mm) 520 (RHA, 71° angle) at 1,000 m
115-mm APFSDS-T, BM-6 Russian
Maximum Aimed Range(m) 3,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,500
Night 850-1,300
Armor Penetration (mm) 237 (RHA) at 1,000 m
115-mm HEAT, BK-4
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 1,500 (est)
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,200
Night 850-1,200
Armor Penetration (mm) 495 (RHA)
115-mm Frag-HE-T, OF-27
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 4,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,500-2,000
Night 850-1,300
Armor Penetration (mm) INA
Other Ammunition Types BM-3 APFSDS, BM-4 APFSDS, BK-4M HEAT, BK-15 HEAT, OF-11 Frag-HE, OF-18 Frag-HE
Antitank Guided Missiles
Name AT-10/Sheksna
Warhead Type Shaped charge (HEAT)
Armor Penetration (mm) 650
Range (m) 4,000 (day only)
Name AT-10 Improved
Warhead Type Tandem shaped charge
Armor Penetration (mm) 700 behind ERA
Range (m) 4,000 (day only)

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Sunday, September 19, 1999 4:30:48 AM