The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank that was first introduced in 1961. As a further development of the T-55 series, the T-62 retained many similar design elements of its predecessor including low profile and thick turret armor. In contrast with previous tanks, which were armed with rifled tank guns, the T-62 was the first tank armed with a smoothboretank gun that could fire APFSDS rounds at higher velocities. While the T-62 became the standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, it did not fully replace the T-55 in export markets due to its higher manufacturing costs and maintenance requirements compared to its predecessor. Although the T-62 was replaced in Russia and the successor states of the Soviet Union, it is still used in some countries and its design features became standardized in subsequent Soviet and Russian mass-produced tanks.
By the late 1950s, Soviet commanders realized that the T-55's 100 mm gun was incapable of penetrating the frontal armor of newer Western tanks, such as the Centurion and M48 Patton, with standard armor-piercing shells. While 100 mm HEAT ammo could have accomplished the task, they were much less accurate than APDS shells, and the relatively low flight velocity resulted in poorer accuracy if used on moving targets. It was decided to up-gun the T-55 with a 115 mm smoothbore cannon, capable of firing APFSDS rounds. Experimental trials showed that the T-55 was inherently unsuited to mount the larger new cannon, and work therefore began on a new tank. The bigger gun required a bigger turret and turret ring to absorb the higher recoil. This in turn necessitated a larger hull, as the T-55 hull was simply too small to accept the new turret. The T-62 thus took shape, marking an evolutionary improvement upon the T-55.
After delivery of the T-54 design, its lead designer Alexander Morozov turned his attention to a new design, the Ob'yekt 430. Ob'yekt 430 had a hull of welded rolled steel plates and a turret of cast and forged steel. The turret had three-layer armour with an overall thickness of 185 mm to 240 mm. It was armed with the new 100 mm D-54TS tank gun.
During this period, simpler upgrades to the existing T-54 design were assigned to a young engineer, Leonid N. Kartsev, the head of the OKB-520 design bureau of Uralvagonzavod factory (UVZ) in Nizhny Tagil. He had already led the development of the relatively minor upgrades to the T-54 that produced the T-54A (Ob'yekt 137G) and T-54B (Ob'yekt 137G2), and began development of a more major update as the T-54M (Ob'yekt 139).
When the T-54M was abandoned, he and his design team started working on a new tank, called Ob'yekt 140. The new tank had a suspension with six light road wheels made of aluminum. The turret was cast and armed with the same D-54TS tank gun and included the Molniya two-plane stabilization system. The tank carried 50 rounds and was powered by a V-36 diesel engine developed by engineer Artiemejev. The engine was placed on the bottom of the hull, a solution that reduced the height of the engine compartment. The Ob'yekt 140 weighed 37.6 tonnes.
In 1957, Uralvagonzavod built two Ob'yekt 140 prototypes which were put on trials soon after. The trials showed that because of the complicated construction of many of the tank's systems, Kartsev's tank would be expensive in serial production and hard to maintain.
Forced to abandon the Ob'yekt 140 project, Kartsev started working on yet another T-54 modernization called the Ob'yekt 155. This design was more similar to the original T-54, but incorporated one useful feature from the Ob'yekt 140; the upper fuel tanks were fitted with mounts for tank gun ammunition. This increased the ammunition load carried by the tank to 45 rounds.
T-62A (Ob'yekt 165)
At the end of 1958, Kartsev decided to modernize the Ob'yekt 140 turret. He fitted it with a cartridge-case ejector and mounted it onto a stretched T-55 chassis. He also considered that designs based on already produced vehicles had a higher chance of acceptance. The Ob'yekt 140 turret diameter, bigger than the T-55 turret by 249 mm, made redesigning the central part of the hull necessary. Kartsev changed the arrangement of the torsion beams, which was necessary to keep the tank's weight balanced. The tank received the designation "Ob'yekt 165" and in November 1958 three prototypes were built. In January 1962, the Ob'yekt 165 was accepted for service under the name T-62A. In the same year, Factory #183 produced five tanks that were put into experimental service.
While working on a new tank, Kartsev was looking for a more powerful tank gun. The 100 mm D-10T and D-54 tank guns had a fierce opponent in the form of the British L7A1 tank gun. The Soviets decided to "recaliber" the already existing 100 mm D-54TS tank gun. The modifications done to the gun included removing the rifling of the gun, reducing the profile of the bullet chamber, removing the muzzle brake, lengthening the gun tube, adding an automatic cartridge-case ejector, and adding a bore evacuator in the middle of the gun tube (as opposed to the D-45TS tank gun, which had a bore evacuator in the base of the gun tube). The new 115 mm tank gun was designated U-5TS "Molot" Rapira; it was the first smoothbore tank gun. When it went into serial production, it received the designation 2A20. It was put in trials against the D-10TS tank gun, which armed the T-54B as well as some T-55 and T-55A main battle tanks. These trials showed that the under-caliber projectiles fired from the U-5TS had a nearly 200 m/sec higher muzzle velocity. It became apparent that the maximum range of the new tank gun was almost double that of the D-10TS. The only serious drawback of the U-5TS tank gun was the fact that it was not as accurate as the D-10TS, because of the lack of rifling. However, the greater range of the gun and its extremely high muzzle velocity made the poor accuracy less of an issue.
The new U-5TS smoothbore tank gun was fitted into the Ob'yekt 140 turret at the end of 1960. The new tank received the designation "Ob'yekt 166". In 1960, both Ob'yekt 165 and Ob'yekt 166 prototypes passed their trials. The Uralvagonzavod was preparing to start serial production of the new tank, though the General Armoured Directorate (GBTU) was paying much more attention to Morozov's Ob'yekt 430, which was in development since early 1952. Morozov was supported by general Ustinov, who was in charge of Soviet military industry at the time. He didn't see it as necessary to produce the new tank from Uralvagonzavod but soon the situation changed dramatically with the appearance of a new American main battle tank, the M60. In 1961, Soviet military intelligence discovered that Britain was working on a new main battle tank armed with a 120 mm tank gun. Because of this, Marshal Vasily Chuikov, Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Army's Ground Forces, demanded an explanation of the "Kartsev's tanks" case. At a conference of GBTU and the Soviet ground forces committee, it became apparent that Morozov's Ob'yekt 430 tank was only 10% better than the serial T-55. Because of this, Morozov's project was deemed a complete failure. Though the representatives of Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau disclosed their work on the improved Ob'yekt 432 (which would ultimately become the T-64), Chuikov demanded that production of the Ob'yekt 166 main battle tank be started immediately.
The OKB-520 design bureau of Uralvagonzavod provided another design, the Ob'yekt 167, which was the Ob'yekt 166 with a new more powerful V-26 engine using a charger, developing 700 hp (522 kW). Two prototypes were built in the middle of 1961 and passed the trials. This time the GBTU decided not to wait for the new main battle tank to pass trials and sent the Ob'yekt 166 into mass production in July 1961. The Ob'yekt 165 also entered service in very small numbers, under the designation T-62A.
The T-62 has a typical tank layout: driver's compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the center and engine compartment in the rear. The four-man crew consists of the commander, driver, gunner and loader. Although the T-62 is very similar to the T-55 and makes use of many of the same parts, there are some differences. These include the hull, which is a few centimeters longer and wider, the different road wheels, and differences in characteristic uneven gaps between road wheels. Unlike the T-54 and T-55 main battle tanks, the gaps between the last three pairs of road wheels are larger than the rest.
A T-62 armed with the 12.7 mm (0.50 in) DShK 1938/46 antiaircraft heavy machine gun
The armament consists of the 115 mm U-5TS "Molot" (2A20) Rapira smoothbore tank gun with a two-axis "Meteor" stabilizer and 7.62 mm PKTcoaxial general-purpose machine gun mounted on the right of the main gun. The 12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 antiaircraft heavy machine gun is mounted on the loader's hatch. It was optional until 1972 when all newly built tanks were fitted with the AA heavy machine gun. The tank carries 40 rounds for the main gun (although only 4 are placed in the turret, the rest are stored in the back of the fighting compartment and in the front of the hull, to the right of the driver) and 2500 rounds for the coaxial machine gun. All of the vehicle's armament is mounted in or on the round cast egg-shaped turret from the Ob'yekt 140 prototype main battle tank, mounted over the third pair of road wheels. The T-62 was armed with the world's first smoothbore tank gun, giving it considerably greater muzzle velocity than the Western 90 mm and 105 mm tank guns of its time. It can fire BM-3 APFSDS-T, BK-4, BK-4M HEAT and OF-18 Frag-HE rounds. The 115 mm gun introduced the first successful APFSDS ammunition, albeit with a steel penetrator. A smoothbore gun allowed a significantly better performance (from 10% to 20%) from HEAT ammunition, which was considered the main ammunition type for fighting enemy armour at medium and long ranges.[self-published source?][unreliable source?] The gun can be elevated or depressed between −6° and +16°. It is reloaded manually and gets automatically reset to +3.5° of elevation after it is fired if the stabilizer is enabled. Empty cartridges are automatically ejected outside the vehicle through a small hatch in the rear of the turret. The gun has a range of effective fire of about 4 km during day conditions and 800 m (with the use of night vision equipment) at night. This tank was fitted with a Meteor two-axis stabilizer, it allows the T-62 to aim and fire while moving, according to tests conducted by the US army the Meteor gave the T-62 a first hit probability of 70% for a moving target at 1000 meters with the tank moving up to 20 km/per hour. This gave the tank a good advantage in dynamic battlefields and breakthrough operations, especially in Central Europe where most of tank battles would take place under the 1500 meters range.
Side view of a T-62. The tank in the picture has either damaged or disassembled torsion bars and its hull lies on the ground.
Rear view of a T-62. Notice the two optional 200 litre drum-type fuel tanks.
The T-62 uses torsion bar suspension. It has five pairs of rubber-tired roadwheels, a drive sprocket at the rear and idler at the front on each side, with no return rollers. The first and last road wheels each have a hydraulic shock absorber. The tank is powered by the V-55 12-cylinder 4-stroke one-chamber 38.88 litre water-cooled diesel engine developing 581 hp (433 kW) at 2,000 rpm. This is the same engine as the one used in the T-55. Because the T-62 weighs more than the T-55, it is less maneuverable. Like the T-55, the T-62 has three external diesel fuel tanks on the right fender and a single auxiliary oil tank on the left fender. The tank carries 960 litres of fuel in its internal and external fuel tanks. Two optional 200-litre drum-type fuel tanks can be fitted on the rear of the vehicle for an increased operational range.[self-published source?]
A T-62 laying a smokescreen.
The T-62 has 5% thicker armour on the front of the hull (102 mm at 60°) and 15% thicker armour on the front of the turret (242 mm) than the T-54/T-55. The turret armour is 153 mm thick on the sides, 97 mm thick on the rear and 40 mm thick on the roof. The hull armour is 79 mm thick on the upper sides, 46 mm thick at 0° on the rear and 20 mm thick on the bottom. Although the armour on the front of the hull is thicker than in the T-55, the lower side armour (15 mm) and the roof armour (31 mm) are actually thinner.
Front view of a T-62
Rear view of a T-62
One of the many similarities between the T-54/T-55 and T-62 tanks is their ability to create a smokescreen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust system. Like the T-54 and T-55, the T-62 has an unditching beam mounted at the rear of the hull. The tank can be fitted with a thin snorkel for operational usage and a large diameter snorkel for training. The thin snorkel can be disassembled and carried in the back of the turret when not used. The commander's cupola is located on the left of the top of the turret. The loader has a single piece hatch located on the right side of the turret and further back than the commander's cupola. The loader's hatch has a periscope vision block that can be used to view the areas in front of and behind the vehicle. The commander's cupola has four periscopes, two are located in the hatch cover while the other two are located in the forward part of the cupola. The driver has a single piece hatch located on the left front of the vehicle, directly in front of the left side of the turret. The tank uses the same sights and vision devices as the T-55 except for the gunner, who received a new TSh-2B-41 sight which has x4 or x7 magnification. It is mounted coaxially with an optic rangefinder. The gunner has two periscope vision blocks, one of which is used in conjunction with the main searchlight mounted coaxially on the right side of the main armament. There are two other smaller searchlights. One of these is used by the commander and is mounted on his cupola. The tank has two headlights on the right front of the vehicle, one of which is infrared while the other one is white. Curved hand rails around the turret allow easier entry for the commander, the gunner, and the loader. They also help the infantry to mount and dismount the tank while performing a tank desant. The tank has a box-shaped radiation detector/actuator mounted on the right hand side of the turret, behind the compressed air tanks. While the T-62 did not feature an automatic loader (as would become characteristic of later Soviet tanks), it had a unique "ejection port" built into the back of the turret, which would open as the main gun recoiled, ejecting spent shell casings outside. This was considered advantageous since the spent casings would otherwise clutter the floor of the tank and fill the interior with noxious burnt-propellant fumes. There is a blower mounted in the rear of the turret, to the left of the spent cartridge ejection port.
The T-62 shares some of the T-55's limitations: a cramped crew compartment, limited depression of the main gun and vulnerable fuel and ammunition storage areas. Opening the ejection port under NBC (nuclear, biological, or chemical) conditions would potentially expose the crew to contamination, but the danger is limited in time and the internal overpressure make quite unlikely the penetration by external agents.
Each time the gun is fired, the tube must go into détente for cartridge ejection; though the system can be deactivated making this unnecessary or in case of facing an NBC environment. The T-62 maximum average rate of fire is limited to 8 rounds per minute, which falls behind the capabilities of Western 105 mm gun equipped tanks.
It takes 20 seconds for the T-62's turret to rotate through a full 360°, which is 5 seconds longer than the time needed by the US M60A1 Patton tank.
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 also unable to override the gunner in the elevation of the main gun, causing target acquisition problems.
The US Army considered the T-62's gun more accurate than that of the M60A1 within 1500 meters, but less accurate at greater ranges.
To fire the 12.7 mm antiaircraft heavy machine gun, the loader must be partially exposed, making him vulnerable to suppressive fire, and he must leave his main gun loading duties unattended.
According to military author Bryan Perrett, the T-62 never enjoyed the commercial success of the T-54/T-55 series for numerous reasons. First, the T-62 was more than twice the price of the T-55, and many Warsaw Pact nations passed on the new tank because they did not feel that the improvements inherent in it warranted the cost. Secondly, in 1968, a 100 mm HVAPDS tank shell capable of piercing Western armor was developed. Use of this shell made the T-55 gun almost as effective as the T-62s, undercutting the T-62's original selling point: a bigger, more powerful gun. Third, the T-62 was, according to Perrett, almost immediately surpassed on its introduction by the new Western MBTs, the Chieftain and M60. Finally, the T-62 could not keep up with the new Soviet BMP-1 – the principal infantry fighting vehicle that the T-62 was supposed to accompany. All of these factors combined to ensure that long term investment in the T-62 was not viable and a new Soviet MBT had to be developed.
In July 1961, Uralvagonzavod in Nizhny Tagil, Malyshev Factory in Kharkiv, Ukraine and Omsk Factory No. 183 replaced part of their T-55 production with the T-62. The original plans were that the T-62 would be produced until Morozov's Ob'yekt 432 tank was developed. T-62 production was maintained at Uralvagonzavod until 1973 when it was replaced on the production lines by the T-72. Until the end of production 20,000 T-62 main battle tanks were produced by Uralvagonzavod. Production in the Soviet Union was stopped in 1975.
North Korea produced the T-62 under license until the 1980s. In the early 1990s, the North Korean Second Machine Industry Bureau designed a lighter copy of the T-62 which is mass-produced and is known locally as the Ch'ŏnma-ho I (Ga).
T-62A (Ob'yekt 165) – Predecessor of T-62. It was essentially a stretched T-55 chassis with a 2245 mm turret ring, a new suspension, and an Ob'yekt 140 turret modernized with the addition of a spent-cartridge ejector;tank gun equipped with the "Kometa" two-plane stabilizer. Only five entered service.
T-62 Obr.1960 (Ob'yekt 166) – Original production model equipped with the 115 mm U-5TS "Molot" (2A20) Rapira smoothbore tank gun with a "Meteor" two-plane stabilizer. It has a TKN-3 commander's day/night sight, TSh-2B-41 gunner day sight with 3.5/7x magnification and TPN1–41–11 night sight. It carries 40 rounds for the main gun and 2500 rounds for the PKT coaxial general-purpose machine gun. The V-55V engine produces 581 hp (433 kW). It has a commander's cupola welded to turret.
T-62K (Ob'yekt 166K) (K stands for komandirskaya ["command"]) (1964) – T-62 command variant. It is fitted with an R-112 (or R-130) radio, an AB-1 APU and an antenna base on top of the turret. The ammunition load was decreased to 36 for the main gun and 1,750 rounds for the coaxial general-purpose machine gun. It was mainly used by company and battalion commanders.
Ob'yekt 167 – T-62 fitted with a V-26 engine which with a use of charger develops 700 hp (522 kW). It has a 9M14 Malyutka (NATO: AT-3 Sagger) ATGM launcher on the rear of turret and a new chassis with return rollers and smaller roadwheels. Not produced. Only two prototypes were made.
Ob'yekt 167T – Ob'yekt 167 fitted with a GTD-3T gas turbine engine.
T-62 Obr.1967 – T-62 Obr.1960 with a slightly modified engine deck and an OPVT deep wading system
T-62 Obr.1972 – T-62 Obr.1967 with a DShK 1938/46 machine gun installed on the loader's hatch. The tank is fitted with an improved fording attachment. It is sometimes incorrectly called T-62A and T-62M.
T-62 Obr.1975 – T-62 Obr.1972 equipped with a KTD-1 or KTD-2 laser rangefinder in an armoured box over the main armament. It has concealed bolts around the commander's cupola.
T-62D (Ob'yekt 166D) (D stands for Drozd [thrush]) (1983) – T-62 Obr.1975 equipped with KAZ 1030M "Drozd" active protection system (APS), BDD appliqué armour on the glacis plate only and new V-55U diesel engine.
T-62D-1 (Objekt 166D-1) – T-62D fitted with a new V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62M (Ob'yekt 166M) (1983) – Extensive modernization of the T-62 with protection and mobility improvements and the "Volna" fire control system. It is fitted with a BDD appliqué armour package, an additional belly armour plate for anti-mine protection, 10 mm thick reinforced rubber side skirts and 10 mm thick anti-neutron liner. The BDD appliqué armour package brings the frontal armor to nearly equivalent to the early T-64A and T-72 Ural and consists of an appliqué plate on the glacis and two horseshoe shaped blocks fitted to the front of the turret. This armor should be proof against all 84mm and 90mm tank gun rounds at all ranges, 105mm APDS and HEAT, 84mm and 106mm recoilless rifle HEAT rounds and many 1st generation anti-tank missiles as well as the M72A3 LAW and RPG-7. The handrails around the turret have been removed to make space for the bra appliqué armour. Fastenings for four spare track chain links have been added on the side of the turret. The tank is fitted with RhKM tracks from the T-72 main battle tank and two additional shock absorbers on the first pair of road wheels. The "Volna" fire control system was improved by fitting the KTD-2 (or KTD-1) laser rangefinder in an armoured box over the main armament. There is a new TShSM-41U gunner's sight, new commander's sight, "Meteor-M1" stabiliser, BV-62 ballistic computer and 9K116-2 "Sheksna" (NATO: AT-10 Stabber) guided missile unit with 1K13-BOM sight (it is both a night sight and ATGM launcher sight. However, it cannot be used for both functions simultaneously) which allows the tank to fire 9M117 Bastion ATGMs through its gun tube. The tank was fitted with a gun thermal sleeve, new radios, the R-173 radio set instead of R-123M and a new V-55U diesel engine developing 620 hp (462 kW). The ammunition load was increased by two rounds. Some are fitted with two clusters of four smoke grenade launchers each on the right rear of the turret. The US intelligence saw T-62M main battle tanks for the first time during the Soviet–Afghan War and they gave it the designation T-62E. There are a number of sub-variants of the T-62M, depending on how much of the modernization package the vehicle has installed.
T-62M-1 (Ob'yekt 166M-1) – T-62M fitted with a V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62M1 (Ob'yekt 166M1) – T-62M fitted with a revised frontal armour layout on the hull and a normal night sight. It doesn't have ATGM capability.
T-62M1–1 (Ob'yekt 166M1–1) – T-62M1 fitted with the V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62M1–2 (Ob'yekt 166M1–2) – T-62M1 without belly armour or the BDD armour package.
T-62M1–2–1 (Ob'yekt 166M1–2–1) – T-62M1–2 fitted with the V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62MD (Ob'yekt 166MD) (D stands for Drozd ["thrush"]) – T-62M fitted with KAZ 1030M "Drozd" active protection system (APS).
T-62MD-1 (Ob'yekt 166MD-1) – T-62MD fitted with V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62MK (Ob'yekt 166MK) (K stands for komandirskaya ["command"]) – T-62M command variant. It doesn't have ATGM capability but has TNA-2 navigation aids, additional R-112 and R-113 radio sets and an AB-1 auxiliary engine to power the additional radios. The tank has a lower ammunition load for both the main gun and the coaxial general-purpose machine gun.
T-62MK-1 (Ob'yekt 166MK-1) – T-62MK fitted with the V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62MV (Ob'yekt 166MV) (1985) (V stands for vzryvnoi – ["explosive"]) – Fitted with "Kontakt-1" explosive reactive armour (ERA) on the sides of the hull, the glacis plate, and in the front of the turret (where it replaces the appliqué bra armour).
T-62MV-1 (Ob'yekt 166MV-1) – T-62MV fitted with the V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62M1V (Ob'yekt 166M1V) – T-62MV without ATGM capability.
T-62M1V-1 (Ob'yekt 166M1V-1) – T-62M1V fitted with a V-46–5M diesel engine.
T-62 fitted with a box on the rear of the turret containing anti-aircraft missiles.
T-62 fitted with the ZET-1 (ZET stands for Zaschtschita Ekrannaja Tankowaja) vehicle protection system. The system was developed in 1964 and was specially designed to protect the tank's front and sides up to an angle of 25° against shaped-charge projectiles with of a maximum caliber of 115 mm. It consisted of a stretchable screen with net structure centered on the vehicle's main armament and lateral flipper-type sideskirts. It was intended for T-54, T-55 and T-62 main battle tanks. The diameter of the screens was different for each tank type. The individual screen sections could be replaced in two minutes. While it was successful in wide open spaces, it was an impractical in wooded areas. Because of that the development was not heavily used, although the flipper-type sideskirts were later used in the initial T-72 models.
T-62 experimentally fitted with a "Zhelud" autoloader.
T-62/122 – T-62 based combat engineering vehicle rearmed with 122 mm howitzer.
T-62/160 – T-62 based combat engineer vehicle fitted with BTU and armed with a shortened 160 mm mortar.
T-67 – T-62 armed with a 125 mm tank gun and fitted with a drive train from the T-72 main battle tank.
TO-62 – T-62 converted into a flamethrower tank. The flamethrower has an effective range of 100 meters and is mounted coaxially with the 115 mm gun.
IT-1 (Ob'yekt 150) – T-62 converted into a tank destroyer (istrebitel' tankov). It was developed between 1957 and 1962. It utilized the chassis and the hull of the T-62 main battle tank and was fitted with a new low 'flattened dome' turret with a stabilized 2K8 ATGM system instead of the tank gun. The IT-1 was the only one of several "rocket tank" ('raketniy tank') designs that actually entered service. It could launch radio-guided semi-automatic PTUR 3M7 "Drakon" ATGMs with a range between 300 m and 3,300 m. It carried 15 PTUR 3M7 "Drakon" ATGMs on board (3 in reserve and 12 in the autoloader). The ATGM was launched from an arm rising through the roof of the turret. The secondary armament consisted of a 7.62 mm PKT general-purpose machine gun for which it carried 2,000 rounds. The turret was fitted with T2-PD and UPN-S day/night sights. About 60 IT-1 tank destroyers were built between 1968 and 1970 by various companies including 20 built by the Uralvagonzavod factory in 1970. Only two battalions operated them, one with artillery personnel and one with tank personnel, with one battalion in Belarus MD and the other one in the Carpathian MD. The units were disbanded after the withdrawal of the IT-1 and all the vehicles were converted to armored recovery vehicles (ARVs).
IT-1T (T after IT-1 stands for tyagach ["tractor"]) – After the withdrawal of the IT-1 from front-line service many of the vehicles were partially converted to ARVs. The only differences from the standard IT-1 was that the turret was fixed in position after all the ATGM gear was removed. They weren't very successful and were soon converted into the BTS-4V armoured recovery vehicles.
BTS-4V (BTS stands for bronirovannij tyagach, srednij ["medium armoured tractor"]) – Conversion of T-62 main battle tanks and IT-1 tank destroyers into a turretless ARV. They are similar to the much more common T-54 -based BTS-4. The vehicle was fitted with a stowage basket, a hoist and a small folding crane with a capacity of 3 tonnes, a winch, and a snorkel. It is also known as BTS-4U.
DShK 1938/46 antiaircraft heavy machine gun. It was limited to basic towing operations and most were disposed of by giving them away as foreign aid. They were also known as BTS-4VZ.
Impuls-2M – Decommissioned T-62 main battle tank converted into a fire fighting vehicle fitted with a 50-round launch system for flame-retarding projectiles on a rotatable mount in the turret ring and a dozer blade on the front.
T-62 modernization made by NORICUM. The modernization includes a replacement of the 115 mm tank gun with a 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 tank gun. The Egyptian Army evaluated the vehicle and incorporated its upgrades in its RO-115 Mark I modernization.
RO-115 Mark I: developed in the early 1980s. While retaining the Soviet 115 mm gun, more powerful ammunition allows engaging a target at greater range. Some main guns were replaced with the Royal Ordnance L7 105 mm gun as offered by the Austrian firm NORICUM See Austria section for details). Other modifications included a British diesel engine developing 750 hp (559 kW), a two-plane stabilizer, ballistic computer, laser rangefinder in an armoured box over the main armament, a cluster of six smoke grenade launchers on the right side of the turret, a fire control system from BMP-3 IFV and additional armor including reactive armor. The upgrades resulted in an increase of weight to 43 tons.
T-62E Mark II: Mid 1990s Egyptian refurbishment and modernization program. The tanks were fitted with a license-built German MTU engine developing 880 hp (656 kW). The tanks are armed with a license-built 105 mm M68 tank gun, an Italian fire control system with ballistics computer, infrared vision device, laser rangefinder, gun stabilizer, additional armor including reactive armour, armored side skirts, modernized suspension and six smoke grenade launchers on each side of the turret. It has an upgraded NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) protection system. The T-62E Mark II carries two Egyptian-made two-round anti-tank missile launchers, or two 2-round launchers for 80 mm D-3000 smoke rockets on an encroachment extension, or a box-type launcher holding two Sakr smoke missiles on each side of the turret. The upgrade did not change the weight of the tank, which remained at 45 tons.
RO-120 Mark III: T-62 main battle tank upgrade developed in 2004. This upgrade arms the tank with the 120 mm M-393 tank gun developed by FSUE. The gun is 5.30 m long and weighs 2.6 tonnes. It can be elevated or depressed between −7° and +15°. The tank has a new license-built German MTU engine developing 890 hp (664 kW) and additional armor, including reactive armor and armored side skirts. The upgrades resulted in a weight increase to 46.5 tons. This upgrade was completed by the end of 2008.
TV-62 – T-62 main battle tank converted into an armoured recovery vehicle.
TV-62M – T-62M main battle tank converted into an armoured recovery vehicle. This vehicle is composed of a T-62M hull with a modified T-55 or T-55A turret which was cut in half; the upper part was bolted onto the hull in the 6 o'clock position. There is a large winch and a snorkel mounted on the rear of the hull.
TP-62 – fire fighting vehicle, for the first time presented during the Hemus 2008 defense equipment trade show. Used in the putting out of the Vitosha 2012 fire.
T-62 modernization made by GIAT. The modernization includes a replacement of the 115 mm tank gun with a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun, the same as the one used in the AMX 40 prototype main battle tank. No orders were placed for this unit.
Israel captured a small number of Syrian T-62s and made limited adaptions for Israeli service, including US-made radio equipment. The Tiran 6 was not as extensively modified as the Tirans 4 and 5. It is reputed that some Tiran-6s were fitted with "Blazer" reactive armour tiles on the glacis and turret, but that remains to be proven by photographic evidence. A large open stowage bin was fitted to the turret rear, where stowed gear could unfortunately obstruct the hatch for the automatic cartridge case ejection system, with a lidded bin on the right of the turret. These bins were similar to those fitted on Tirans 4 and 5. The original 115 mm gun was retained, making IDF dependent on captured ammunition. The commander's 12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 antiaircraft heavy machine gun was replaced by an M1919 Browning 7.62mm machine gun, with a mount for a second Browning on the loader's hatch. An M2 Browning 12.7mm machine gun could be mounted on the mantlet of the main gun as a ranging gun. Tiran 6 was apparently only deployed operationally during Operation Peace For Galilee and was withdrawn from service shortly afterwards as the arrival of further stocks of M60 and M60A1 from the USA made it unnecessary to use the T-62.
Ch'ŏnma-ho I (Ga) – This is a lighter and thinner armoured copy of the T-62. Based on general trends and photography of armed forces parades, it is clear that North Korea has made considerable modifications to the basic Soviet and Chinese designs in its own production.
Ch'ŏnma-ho II – designation for an imported T-62.
Ch'ŏnma-ho III – A simple progressive upgrade of the Ch’onma-ho 2, with a thermal sleeve for the main gun and armored track skirts added. It is possible, but considered unlikely, that lugs for ERA have been added since its introduction; if they are present, they would be most likely found on the glacis and turret sides. A night vision upgrade.
Ch'ŏnma-ho IV – Greatly upgraded armor protection, including composite armor on the glacis and turret front, and appliqué or thickened armor elsewhere. Even the appliqué and/or thickened armor appears to be more advanced than earlier models, does not appear to have gained a huge amount of weight. A ballistic computer was added to the fire control suite, and the fire control suite has been integrated into a complete system rather than being a patchwork of upgrades. Gun stabilization has been improved. Radios are improved, and the suspension beefed up. The new engine is a 750-horsepower model which can lay a thick, oily smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into its exhaust. Lugs for ERA (similar to the Russian Kontakt-3 ERA) added to turret sides, and lugs on the armored track skirts and on the glacis. Lugs for a relatively small amount of ERA bricks on the turret front; the ERA on the turret front would only protect 40% of hits to the turret front. On side of the turret, clusters of four smoke grenade launchers; at the rear of the turret another cluster of four smoke grenade launchers, firing backward instead of forward.
Ch'ŏnma-ho V – Armor upgrades derived partially from the T-90S and T-72S, as well as a better ballistic computer and the addition of the aforementioned thermal imagers. Upgraded main gun – a copy of the 2A46 125 mm gun gun, complete with an autoloader. The fire control system replaced with one matching the new main gun, and the spent shell ejection system dispensed. Used wider tracks.
T-55AGM – Ukrainian T-54/T-55 modernization which can also be applied to T-62s.
T-62AG – Upgraded by Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. It is fitted with the 5TDF 700 hp diesel engine, a 125 mm KBA-101 tank gun, new fire control equipment and enhanced armour protection. Combat weight is 39.5 tonnes. The crew still consists of 4 men because there is no automatic loader. The upgrade package is aimed at the export market, since the Ukrainian army no longer uses the T-62.
Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau is offering three T-62 conversions:
T-62 based heavy infantry fighting vehicle.
T-62 based armoured recovery vehicle.
T-62 based armoured bridge layer.
T-62 – This version is modified in a number of ways including the replacement of the original diesel engine with a Caterpillar diesel engine and fitting of US radios and antennae mounts. T-62 main battle tanks modified in such a way were used by the US Army for opposing forces training.
MAZ-537 tractor-trailers transporting T-62 tanks, 23 May 1984
The T-62 entered service with the Soviet Army in July 1961. Because of the firepower of the new 115 mm gun, it was considered to be a formidable tank for the time, despite its drawbacks. Along with the T-55, the T-62 was one of the most common tanks in the Soviet inventory. The two tanks together once comprised approximately 85% of the Soviet army's tanks.
The T-62 saw combat for the first time during the 1969 Sino–Soviet border conflict during which one was disabled and captured by the People's Liberation Army. The T-62 (No. 545) was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired from the Type-56 (Chinese copy of RPG-2) RPG launcher on the morning of 15 March 1969 during a PLA counterattack. The RPG penetrated the left side of the hull, killing the driver. This tank was later studied and the information gathered from those studies was used for the development of the Type 69 main battle tank.
Soviet T-62M of the "Berlin" tank regiment which was a part of the 5th Guards Motor Rifle Division, leaving Afghanistan, 1 January 1987
During the Soviet–Afghan War, the T-62 was a primary tank used by the Soviet army. The Soviets used tanks in a several ways, with the use of many in fire support bases, while other were employed for convoy protection or as infantry support. Towards the end of the war T-62Ms, using the BDD appliqué armor, appeared in large numbers. According to US sources, nearly 325 T-62s fell victim to Mujahideen attacks, especially from anti-tank land mines and RPGs. Others fell into the hands of the Afghan Mujahideen after they were left behind by withdrawing Soviet forces.
The USSR officially confirmed the loss of 147 T-62 and T-55 tanks during the war.
The T-62 and T-55 are now mostly used by Russian reserve units for a possible secondary mobilization while some are kept in storage. The active duty and primary mobilization units mainly use the T-80, T-72, and T-64, with a smaller number of T-90 tanks in service in active units. The latest combat action of the T-62 was during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War where the T-62 fought with Russian ground forces; they were retired from active combat service afterwards to be put in storage to be reactivated in case of war. During the Vostok 2018 military exercise, multiple T-62M and T-62MVs were reactivated from storage and mobilized, in an effort to assess how quickly Russian forces could be readied for a major conflict.
War in Chechnya
The Russian army and the Russian MVD forces used both T-62s and T-62Ms in combat in Chechnya.
During the second war the 160th tank regiment and the 93rd MVD regiment each had 69 T-62 tanks. Some T-62s were used on train platforms. Up to 380 Russian tanks were used in 1999-2000, including about 150 T-62s.
2008 South Ossetia war
T-62s of the Russian Ground Forces were deployed in the war against Georgia. In one case a T-62M belonging to the Russian army was destroyed by a Georgian RPG in the streets of Tskhinvali. In this instance the rocket penetrated the turret of the T-62M, killing the driver and gunner. Russian MVD also used T-62s.
The People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) began ordering T-62s from the Soviet Union in 1980 and received them by late 1985. Most of the tanks were delivered in the wake of Operation Askari, which saw Angola's older T-54s and T-55s bested by South African expeditionary forces equipped with Eland and Ratel-90 armoured cars. Following Askari, a meeting between Angolan, Cuban, and Soviet representatives concluded with a pledge to drastically accelerate the transfer of new weaponry to FAPLA. This was to include T-62s.
FAPLA also ordered another 135 T-62s in 1987, but these apparently arrived too late to take part in the fighting. Another 24 examples modernised in Bulgaria were received by the new Angolan Armed Forces in 1993.
The only other Warsaw Pact member to operate T-62s on a mass scale was Bulgaria which bought 250 T-62s, which were delivered between 1970 and 1974. After the war in Afghanistan, Bulgaria received a number of T-62s from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. These were modified, but due to several problems, they were quickly withdrawn from service and some were sold to Angola and Yemen. Many were converted into TV-62 and TV-62M armoured recovery vehicles and their turrets were scrapped. The TV-62M is the standard armoured recovery vehicle of the Bulgarian Army.
Other Warsaw Pact members
Both Poland and Czechoslovakia evaluated the vehicle but refused it because of the high price and low update value compared to the T-55.
Soldiers assigned to the 1st Afghanistan National Army Armored Battalion, stand in formation with seven of their T-62s and two of their T-62Ms during their graduation ceremony held at Polycharky, Afghanistan, 15 May 2003
Before 1973 Israeli intelligence confirmed T-62 tanks had arrived in Egypt. In response, Israeli commandos raided Egyptian positions in order to capture the tanks and analyze them. During the Yom Kippur war, the T-62 was an effective adversary for Israeli Patton and Centurion main battle tanks armed with 105 mm tank guns. The T-62 had an advantage in its better night-fighting capability, but Syrian losses were heavy.
The Israelis captured hundreds of these tanks from the Syrians in 1973, and put some of them into service as the Tiran-3. About 120 Tiran-3 were modernized and received the designation Tiran-6. Only a small number was converted because the new US made M60 main battle tanks started arriving in Israel. A small tank brigade consisting of two enlarged tank regiments, each equipped with 46 Tiran-6 tanks, was formed. The Tiran-6 is used by reserve units. The Israelis have sold the rest to assorted countries, many were deployed with the Uruguayan and Cuban armies.
Israel sent a number of captured T-62 tanks to the U.S. Army and Germany for examination purposes. The firing tests done on these tanks helped to develop new ammunition and the German 120 mm gun to be used in the Leopard 2 tank.
In 1974, the Iraqi Army acquired 100 T-62s and 600 more in 1976, which were delivered through to 1979. In 1982 a further 2150 were ordered; the delivery of which were completed in 1989. These tanks saw service in the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict from 1974 to 1991. In the Iran–Iraq War, Iraqi T-62s performed well against opposing Iranian tanks, such as M47s, M48s, M60A1s and Chieftains. In the Battle of Dezful, the biggest tank battle of the war, Iran lost 214 Chieftain and M60A1 tanks, while Iraq lost 45 T-62s. The remaining Iranian armor turned about and withdrew. Approximately 200 T-62s were lost in the entire war.
The first T-62s arrived in Cuba in 1976. Currently approximately 400 are in service with the Cuban armed forces and about 100 are in storage. They are modernized to the T-62M standard with additional armour, laser equipment and fire control systems.
A Cuban armored brigade with T-62s saw action against the Somalians during the Ogaden War in Ethiopia. Cuban T-62s were deployed to Angola during Havana's lengthy intervention in that country. Along with T-55s and T-54Bs, they were initially utilitised for defending strategic installations, such as Matala, the site of an important Angolan hydroelectric plant manned by Soviet engineers. The more ubiquitous T-55 was favoured for combat duty, and during the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale only a single battalion of Cuban T-62s took part in the fighting. This was altered in March 1988, when Cuba began marshalling a combined arms division to carry out a flanking manoeuvre towards the South-West African (Namibian) border. It included a brigade with at least 40 T-62s, identified alternatively as 40 Tank Brigade, 80 Tank Brigade, or the "Havana Tank Regiment". The Cuban tanks clashed with defending South African armoured units at Cuamato and again at Calueque without sustaining serious losses.
Iraqi-operated T-62s were badly outperformed by the American M1 Abrams, M2/M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and the British Challenger 1 tanks in the 1990–91 Gulf War. The lack of high powered optics, thermal sights and ballistic computers of Iraqi tanks compared to their adversaries made the T-62 and other Iraqi armoured fighting vehicles extremely vulnerable and unable to retaliate against Coalition vehicles. The Iraqi 3rd Armored Division alone lost hundreds of T-62 tanks while no Abrams or Challengers were lost to enemy fire.
Map of T-62 operators in blue with former operators in red
Afghanistan – 100 were ordered in 1973 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1975 and 1976. 155 were ordered in 1979 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1979 and 1991 (the vehicles were probably previously in Soviet service). in service with the Afghan army were T-62, T-62M and T-62M1.
Angola – 175 were ordered in 1980 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1981 and 1985 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). 35 were ordered in 1987 from the Soviet Union and delivered in 1987. 100 were ordered in 1987 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1987 and 1988 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). 24 were ordered in 1993 from Bulgaria and delivered in 1993 (the vehicles were previously in Bulgarian service). 30 were ordered in 1993 from Russia and delivered between 1993 and 1994 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet and then Russian service; some could be T-55s). 18 are currently in service.
Cuba – 200 were ordered in 1976 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1976 and 1983 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). 200 were ordered in 1984 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1984 and 1988. 380 are currently in service. They are modernized to the T-62M standard.
Egypt – 750 were ordered in 1971 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1972 and 1975. Approximately 600 (500 of which are modernized and 100 stored) are currently in service. 1,300 T-62s were in service in the 1980s. Currently 500 are in service.
Ethiopia – 20 were ordered in 1977 from the Soviet Union and delivered in 1977 (the vehicles were possibly either produced in Czechoslovakia or previously in Soviet service). 50 were ordered in 1980 from the Soviet Union and delivered in 1980 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). Approximately 100 are currently in service.
Iran – 65 were ordered in 1981 from Libya and received in 1981 as aid (the vehicles were previously in Libyan service). 100 were ordered in 1982 from Syria and delivered in 1982 (the vehicles were previously in Syrian service). Iran ordered 150 Ch'ŏnma-hos in 1981 from North Korea and they were delivered between 1982 and 1985. They had 100 T-62s and Ch'ŏnma-hos in service in 1990, 150 in 1995, 75 in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2008. Currently 50 are in service.
Libya – 150 were ordered in 1973 from the Soviet Union and delivered in 1974. 400 were ordered in 1976 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1976 and 1978. 250 were ordered in 1978 from the Soviet Union and delivered in 1978. At the peak there were approximately 900 T-62s in service. Before the fall of the Gaddafi regime, 100 were in service and 70 were stored.
Mongolia – 100 were ordered in 1973 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1973 and 1975. 250 are in service in 2011.
North Korea – 350 were ordered in 1970 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1971 and 1975. 150 ordered in 1974 from the Soviet Union were delivered between 1976 and 1978 (the vehicles were probably produced in Czechoslovakia). North Korea also produced more than 1,200 Ch'ŏnma-hos. There were 1,200 Ch'ŏnma-hos in service in 1985, 1,500 in 1990, 1,800 in 1995, 800 in 2000 and 2000 in 2011.
Syria – 500 were ordered in 1973 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1973 and 1974. 200 ordered in 1978 from Libya were delivered in 1979 as aid. 300 were ordered in 1982 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1982 and 1984 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). This country had 1,000 T-62Ms and T-62Ks in service in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003 and around 1,000 in 2005. In 2018, the Russian Federation reactivated and field-tested T-62M and T-62MV tanks from war stores and transported them to Syria.
Belarus – 170 were in service in 1995, none in 2000.
Bulgaria – 250 were ordered in 1969 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1970 and 1974. A number were received from the Soviet Union after the Soviet–Afghan War, modernized, withdrawn from service, and then converted into TV-62Ms. Withdrawn from service around 2000, only recovery vehicles remain in use.
Iraq – 100 were ordered in 1973 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1974 and 1975. 600 ordered in 1976 from the Soviet Union were delivered between 1977 and 1979 (the vehicles were probably produced in Czechoslovakia). 2,150 were ordered in 1982 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1982 and 1989 (the vehicles were probably previously in Soviet service). 1,500 were in service in 1990, 500 in 1995, 2000 and 2002. More than 1,000 were in service before the First Persian Gulf War.
Russia – At least 2,000 were inherited from the Soviet Union. 761 were in active service in 1995. 191 were in active service and 1,929 in storage as of 2000. During 2013 all the tanks of the model and its modifications were scrapped – except that Russia keeps supplying T-62s to Syria as of now (2017).
Soviet Union – More than 20,000 were produced between July 1961 and 1975. There were 12,900 in 1985 and 11,300 in 1990. The tanks were passed on to successor states.
North Yemen – 16 ordered in 1979 from the Soviet Union were delivered in 1980 (the vehicles were probably either produced in Czechoslovakia or previously in Soviet service).
South Yemen – 50 were ordered from the Soviet Union in 1979 and received in 1979 as aid. Another 100 were ordered in 1980 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1981 and 1982. 120 more ordered in 1986 from the Soviet Union were delivered in 1986. All the vehicles of the last batch were previously in Soviet service.
Yemeni Southern Rebels – 56 were ordered in 1994 from Bulgaria and delivered in 1994 (the vehicles were previously in Bulgarian service; they were bought for $20 million).
^ abcRubén Urribarres. "Cuban tanks". Cuban Aviation. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
^ abTokarev, Andrei; Shubin, Gennady, eds. (2011). Bush War: The Road to Cuito Cuanavale: Soviet Soldiers' Accounts of the Angolan War. Auckland Park: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd. pp. 128–130. ISBN978-1-4314-0185-7.