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 was manufactured in three gigantic plants at Nizhny Tagil, Omsk and Kharkov.
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-mm gun of 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.
- T-62A: Besides the standard 7.62-mm PKT coaxial machine gun with a range of 1,000 meters, the T-62A version features a 12.7-mm DShK antiaircraft machine gun with a range of 1,500 meters against ground targets and a slant range of 1,000 meters against aircraft. The T-62A also has a stabilized main gun, which enables the gunner to track and fire on the move with significantly improved accuracy.
- T-62K: Command tank models also have a land navigation system which includes a gyroscopic compass and a calculator giving continuous enroute readout of the tank's location (in relation to its point of origin) and its distance from and azimuth to a predetermined objective.
- T-62M adds protection, FCS and ATGM capability.
- T-62 variants with a V-46 T-72-type engine add -1 to their designation.
- T-62M1: Variant with Volna FCS but no missile launch capability.
- T-62D: Variant with the Drozd APS vs ERA.
- T-62MK: Command variant.
- T-62MV: Version with ERA in place of the bra armor. The ERA includes Kontakt ERA and Kontakt-5 2nd-Generation ERA.
- T-62 Ch'onma-Ho: Beginning in the late 1970s, North Korea began to produce a modified version of the 115mm gunned T-62 tank. 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.
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