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OT-62 (TOPAS)

The OT-62 is a tracked amphibious vehicle that was jointly developed and used by Czechoslovakia and Poland. It is equivalent to the Soviet BTR-50PK APC and in appearance is almost identical to the BTR-50PU model 2 command vehicle with some significant differences. These differences include higher road and water speeds, a fully enclosed troop compartment and in some versions, fully-enclosed armament installations rather than simple pintle-mounted machine guns. TOPAS is the official designation of this armored personnel carrier with the designation "OT-62" often being used in the West.

The OT-62 has

  • six road wheels, no return rollers and a torsion bar suspension.
  • a wedge-shaped front and a lowered rear.
  • an enlarged bay on the right side of the crew compartment.
  • entry/exit doors on both sides of the troop compartment.
  • a commander's cupola with a periscope mounted in the forward part and a hatch cover that opens forward and can be locked vertically.
  • three commander's periscopes mounted in the front part of the left projecting bay.
  • a driver's single-piece hatch cover in front of the vehicle that opens upward and has an integral vision block.
  • three periscopes below the driver's hatch cover.
  • three observation periscopes in the right projecting bay.

Since 1958, Czechoslovak and Polish designers worked together to create a floating tracked armored personnel carrier, based on the Soviet BTR-50PK. In 1964, the new machine, which received the designation OT-62 (obrneny transporter - armored personnel carrier), entered service with the army of Czechoslovakia, and in 1966 - the Polish Army, where it became known as TOPAS (an abbreviation of the Polish transporter opancerzony sredni - medium armored vehicle). Production of armored personnel carriers was carried out only in Czechoslovakia. Production of TOPAS / OT-62 armored personnel carriers continued until 1977.

The design of the OT-62 TOPAS hull is generally fully consistent with the Soviet prototype. The body is welded from sheets of steel armor 1013 mm thick in the front part and 69 mm along the sides and stern. The height of the hull is somewhat reduced, an armored roof with a hatch for landing and dismounting the landing is mounted above the fully closed troop compartment.

The OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carrier has a fully enclosed amphibious unit, equipped with a ventilation unit, a 221 kW diesel engine and a new gearbox. This allows an armored personnel carrier to develop a speed of 60 km / h while on land and 10.8 km / h on water. The machine is armed with a 7.62-mm machine gun mounted in a small turret of circular rotation, which is located on the front right of the roof of the case. On the frontal armor, they added a second semi-draft for the third crew member, the shooter. Large square doors are in the side walls of the hull, facilitating the landing and landing of the landing force.

The commander of the vehicle, the driver and the gunner sit in a row in front of the car. Immediately behind them are paratroopers. Infantrymen enter and exit the vehicle through side doors or hatches in the roof of the troop compartment. The rotation of the machine gun turret is carried out by one member of the crew using a manual drive. In the vertical plane, the machine gun is induced in the sector from -10 to + 20 .

The OT-62A is the basic version of the OT-62 series APCs and has no fixed armament. Some variants include a command vehicle, armored ambulance and light armored recovery vehicle (TOPAS-WPT). Externally, the OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carrier, like its Czech twin OT-62B, is very similar to the BTR-50PK, but the latter was distinguished by a noticeable slope of the upper part of the amphibious assault squadron. The upper front plate is installed almost horizontally. The front wall of the crew compartment had a much smaller angle of inclination. In the middle of the hull, the flat roof was abruptly cut off and lowered to the level of the engine compartment, thus forming a pronounced "step".

OT-62B (TOPAS-2A). This version is used only by Czechoslovakia and has a mini-turret on the right front of the vehicle, which mounts a 82-mm recoilless gun externally and 7.62mm machine gun internally. Maximum rate of fire in rds/min for the 82-mm gun is one plus, depending upon the availability of an outside loader. Basic load for the 82-mm gun is 5 to 10 rounds.

OT-62C (TOPAS-2AP). This version has a turret similar to the Soviet BTR-60PB. Main armament is a 14.5-mm heavy machine gun mounted in the turret over the troop compartment. Secondary armament is a coaxially-mounted 7.62-mm machine gun. A practical rate of fire for the 14.5-mm gun is 150 rds/min with a basic load of 500 rounds. A practical rate of fire for the 7.62mm gun is 200 rds/min with a basic load of 1,000 to 2,000 rounds. This version and the modified OT-62C version were used only by the Polish Armed Forces within the Warsaw Pact.

OT-62C Modified (TOPAS-2AP). This version carries two 82-mm mortars and their crews. The mortars have a rate of fire of 25 rds/min with a load of 50 to 100 rounds. The armored personnel carrier upgraded by Polish specialists was designated TOPAS-2AP and is distinguished by more powerful weapons. On the roof of the troop compartment of this armored vehicle mounted rotating armored turret from the wheeled armored personnel carrier SKOT-2AP. The turret has a 14.5-mm KPVT machine gun and a 7.62-mm PCT, from which you can fire at both aerial and ground targets. Installation of the tower required changes to the roof structure of the troop compartment, hatches for landing and dismounting the paratroopers mounted on both sides of the tower. In addition, other changes were made: the troop compartment was re-planned, new, high air intakes, additional fuel tanks were installed, etc.

The OT-62 is a fully amphibious vehicle that is propelled through the water by canted twin water jets in the rear. The hull is all-welded construction with the crew compartment at the front, troop compartment at the center and the engine at the rear. The commander is seated at the front of the vehicle in the left projecting bay with the driver seated to the right of the commander.

On all versions of the OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carrier there is a six-cylinder diesel engine P-V6, which is a further development of the Soviet B-6 engine. It is equipped with a turbocharging system and at 1800 rpm it develops a maximum power of 221 kW, which is 44 kW higher than the power of the B-6 diesel. Due to the use of a more powerful engine, the OT-62 TOPAS has a higher than the BTR-50P maximum speed and slightly better cross-country maneuverability.

The OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carrier is equipped with a P-113 radio station, a P-120 tank intercom, a semi-automatic fire-fighting system, a filter-ventilation unit and a gyroscopic indicator. It is possible to install night vision devices and additional radio communications. The OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carrier, as well as the base vehicle BTR-50PK, is capable of swimming across water obstacles. For the movement on the water are used two jet propulsion, installed in the rear part of the machine. Before entering the water in the bow of an armored personnel carrier, a surge plate rises and water pumping pumps are turned on.

In the Polish army, the OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carriers were mainly in service with the so-called coast guard units (the Polish version of the marines). These units perform the tasks of the coast guard, but are also prepared to participate in small amphibious operations, during which the nautical qualities of these vehicles are fully used.







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