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T-62MW Tanks - Ukraine 2022

Russia has many hundreds of T-62s in storage that it inherited from the Soviet Union, the vast majority of which are T-62M subtypes. The T-62M is its modernization from 1983, consisting in a significant improvement in the combat parameters of the vehicle, including firepower or crew protection level. Special armor was added to the front of the turret and the hull, the resistance of the hull bottom was improved, which increased the level of protection of the vehicle to the standard similar to the T-64A or T-72 Ural foreheads. The tank is equipped with RhKM tracks from the T-72 tank and two additional shock absorbers on the first pair of road wheels. The "Wołna" fire control system was improved by mounting the KTD-2 (or KTD-1) laser rangefinder in the armored box above the main armament. The mobility of the vehicle was also improved by implementing the new 620 hp W-55U engine.

The T-62, adopted by the Soviet army in 1961, is considered a tank of the medium weight category - its weight is 37 tons. According to experts, the vehicle was created in response to the latest NATO models of that period, the M48 and M60. The T-62 tank has a classic layout for this type of armored vehicles: the engine compartment is located in the aft part, the combat compartment is in the middle, the controls are located in the front.

When armoring the T-62, the designers mainly counted on protecting the vehicle from 105-mm anti-tank shells from NATO cannons and hand-held anti-tank guns. The thickness of the frontal armor plate was 100 mm, the sides - 80 mm. The main armament of the T-62 was a 115 mm U5-TS Molot smoothbore gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun. To increase the efficiency of firing on the move, they were equipped with a two-plane Meteor stabilization system. Initially, the T-62 received V-shaped 12-cylinder diesel engines with an HP 580 power. Later, they were replaced by new and more powerful B-46-5M with a capacity of 690 hp, which made it possible to reach a speed of 50 km / h on highways and 22-27 km / h on the “primer road”.

The first modernization of the T-62 took place at the enterprises that are now part of Uralvagonzavod JSC, from 1962 to 1975. The updated version of the armored vehicle received the prefix "M" (modernized) and was equipped with additional armor protection for the turret, hull and bottom, side anti-cumulative screens, as well as the Tucha smoke grenade launcher.

The next modernization of the T-62M was carried out specifically for the Syrian army. After the refinement of the controls, learning to operate the T-62M became as easy as a conventional tractor. The latest version of the tank was presented at the Army-2022 international military-technical forum. The updated vehicle received modern electronics, protection and weapons. This is already a completely different, more modern tank that has undergone a deep modernization.

Moscow used the T-62 mainly during the war in Afghanistan, where almost 400 tanks were officially destroyed by the Taliban armed with mines, grenades and recoilless rifles. Taking into account non-combat losses, the Russians lost 1,340 such tanks.

The last use of this type of tank by Russia was recorded in August 2008 during the invasion of Georgia. It eventually retired the model in 2013, although hundreds of T-62Ms were refurbished and sold to Syria, which used them during the Civil War.

It is estimated that Russia had about 10,000 tanks in warehouses, including 2,500 T-62, and this suggests that there are still thousands of T-72 and T-80s that may be brought back into service. Probably, however, many of them are too bad to be renovated and sent quickly to the front.

The T-62 remained in service with the Russian military unti 2013. At that time 2,500 remained in strategic storage. The number in storage was eventually reduced to about 900 tanks.

In October 2022 it was reportedd that over the next three years, 800 T-62 tanks will be modernized at the 103rd Tank Factory in Chita. Currently the two different T-62M models either have add on composite for the hull front and turret or ERA but not both, here they're adding ERA on top of the composite.

State Duma deputy Andrei Gurulev visited the 103rd armored repair plant in the Trans-Baikal Territory. He said that the enterprise would have to return 800 T-62 tanks to the Russian army from military equipment storage bases.

Also, deputy Gurulev said that the 103rd armored plant located in Atamanovka near Chita was loaded with orders for three years. It is during this period that these 800 T-62 tanks should return to service. He explained the need for their return to service by large losses in equipment in the initial period of the special military operation in Ukraine.

Gurulev said the T-62s will be upgraded to include thermal imagers and night vision devices. According to him, the vehicles will receive protection from the Javelin complexes, the stern armor of the tank will also be strengthened to prevent destruction from anti-tank grenade launchers. Gurulev claims that the T-62 is able to adequately prove itself on the battlefield.

However, others did not share the optimism of the State Duma deputy. The T-62 tank was outdated back in the 1970s. The tank does not have an automatic loader, which increases its crew to four people. It is still not clear how they are going to increase the armor protection of the vehicle from modern Javelin anti-tank systems, which are in service with the Ukrainian army. As for the "protective" visors that were previously installed on T-72 tanks, then practice has shown that their effectiveness is zero. On the contrary, they only made life more difficult for the crews. And installing modern active protection systems (KAZ), then the question arises how industry will cope with this task in conditions when they have not yet been installed on more modern tanks.

The T-62MW is a modernization of the T-62M tank that involves old tanks coming from storage that are completely dismantled, all old units are removed, and new ones are installed instead. This includes replacing the special armor used in the M version with the Kontakt-1 reactive armor cubes on the front and sides of the hull and turret. The upgraded tank also featured an eight-barreled grenade launcher designed to create aerosol screens that hide the tank from enemy high-precision projectiles.

There are also versions of it assuming that the tank is equipped with a W-46-5M 780 hp diesel engine, which now allows reaching a speed of 60 km/h on the highway. Apart from these changes, the tank, like the M version, was equipped with RhKM tracks from the T-72 tank and two additional shock absorbers in the first pair of road wheels. v The hull was made by welding from homogeneous armor plates (the front and the thickest ones are up to 102 mm thick and are sloped - the upper one is 60 0 from the vertical and the lower one is 54 0 ). The front of the turret (made as a homogeneous cast) has an armor thickness of approx. 242 mm, and the rear - 97 mm. The hull bottom plates are 20 mm thick and the roof is over 30 mm thick.

At the same time, the T-62M's own means of destruction, the Molot gun, was equipped with an improved control system. Among the main technical innovations of the T-62M, experts note a multispectral gyro-stabilized optical-electronic system (MGOES) and a thermal imager. MGOES is mounted on the tank turret with the help of a mast. As a representative of the Main Armored Directorate (GABTU) of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation said earlier in an interview with TASS, the system was developed at the Central Research Institute Cyclone. It detects visually, and it has thermal imaging channels, and a range finder. Now work on drones is relevant. A high-resolution camera is looking for them. It searches, finds, highlights and accompanies.

In May 2022, the first reports appeared about the sending of Т-62М and Т-62МV tanks to Ukraine. They were assigned to staff reserve battalion tactical groups that had been formed in preparation for deployment to Ukraine. Video on social media on 25 May 2022 apparently showed Russian T-62M and T-62MV tanks that had been pulled from storage being delivered by rail to Ukraine. This seemed to confirm a Ukrainian government report that Russia had been forced to return these antiquated vehicles to active service in an attempt to replace huge tank losses. Russian T-62M and T-62MV tanks are in Russian-controlled Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They will use them as a police force in the huge occupied territories, not at the front.

Michael Kofmann stated: "The T-62s are for reservist units. Activating them implies reservists will be called up and sent. It doesn’t mean Russia is out of other types of tanks in storage. Those are expected to replace losses in the active force." In the Zaporizhzhya direction, the Russians group was additionally reinforced by a formed tank battalion on T-62 tanks.

This looked like partial reserve mobilization as T-62 trained men were not currently in service. Elderly Russian T-62 tanks, which the Russian army command had previously begun to transfer to the border with Ukraine, are already arriving in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. In the evening of May 25, an echelon with such equipment arrived in Melitopol, Zaporizhia region. The T-62M and the T-62MV reactive armor were spotted in the Kherson region, where Ukrainian troops are trying to liberate part of their country.

“Withdrawal from storage of T-62 tanks is celebrated at the 904th Center for Mobilization Deployment (CZMR) in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov region. These tanks will be used to complete the reserve tank regiment on the basis of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Army of the Russian Federation, ”the international volunteer intelligence community InformNapalm investigators note. They also recall that since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the 150th Division has suffered heavy losses in the tank component.

Deconservation of T-62 tanks also began in the 943rd CZMR (mobilization deployment center) in Noooozerny, a territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. It is noted that the command of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation forms the first tank regiment of the Black Sea Fleet, completing it with T-62 tanks. On May 23, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that as a result of losses during hostilities, the Russians were forced to remove T-62 tanks from storage. It is estimated that by 07 June 2022 Russia had lost at least 760 tanks in Ukraine, most of them the most modern T-72B3 and T-80 tanks. The real number is certainly higher.

In Russia, the 103rd armored plant undertook a large-scale modernization of the T-62M tanks. According to Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, lieutenant-general of the reserve Andrey Gurulev, tanks that are already over 50 years old are turning into modern combat vehicles equipped with the latest military equipment.

The Russian military expected to receive around 800 refurbished and possibly upgraded T-62 tanks over the next three years to try to help make up for the severe losses it has already suffered in its invasion of Ukraine. Many of them had already been taken out of long-term storage and shipped to Ukraine, where they have proven to be of debatable usefulness. In the 1980s, the Soviets put thousands of these tanks through a broad modernization program that included the addition of more powerful engines, updated fire control systems, and new defenses. In terms of new defensive capabilities, a number of different sub-variants have emerged, including those with Kontakt-1 Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) packages and first-generation Drozd active protection systems.

The T-62s that Russian forces used in Ukraine appear to be a mix of T-62M variants, readily recognizable by the additional passive armor on their turrets, and T-62MV versions with Kontakt-1 ERA. Some of these tanks also received cage-like armor on top of the turret that provides little additional protection against anti-tank missiles and other weapons. This expedient field armour, commonly referred to now ironically as "combat cages", has also been seen on other, more modern types of Russian tanks operating in Ukraine.

The Russian Armored Repair Plant No. 103 was tasked in October 2022 with overhaul and modernization of approximately 800 T-62 tanks for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The 103 Armored Repair Plant is a subsidiary of the Russian state conglomerate Uralvagonzavod, which is, among other things, the country's main producer of tanks. "The company works in two shifts, it is ready to work in three, we need help with this, there is no other way, there is a lot of work. Today the whole industry is mobilized because the plant cannot operate alone - we need suppliers, components, spare parts, this comes from all over Russia, "said Andrei Guruliev, State Duma deputy from Transbaikalia, on his Telegram channel.

"The tanks are not only being repaired, but also modernized: the T-62 will be equipped with modern thermal imagers, night sights, enhanced protection, additional armor, protection against missile systems and grenade launchers" - wrote Andrei Guruliev.

This means that the tanks will be modernized to the minimum variant of the T-62M/MW, but it is possible that another modernization will be developed, as if combining both of the already mentioned with additional improvements. It is possible that additional changes will be applied during the works due to the lack of certain components or the improvement of the tank's parameters, such as firepower or mobility.

The fact of restoring vehicles, which are technologically very outdated from the base, combined with data on huge reserves of Russian tanks such as the T-72 or T-80 creates a rather absurd picture of the situation. This probably means that the level of losses combined with the shortages in Russian warehouses (especially in the field of the T-72 and parts for them) make it necessary to reach for such old tanks. In the case of the T-62, due to its main armament, it can effectively destroy most Ukrainian tanks when hitting the side or rear zones.

The Ukrainian military captured the first Т-62 tank from the Russian invasion forces in September 2022. The tank was relatively unscathed. A photo with trophy equipment was published by Ukrainian war correspondent Andrii Tsaplienko. Т-62 stayed in storage in Russia until the invaders' huge loss in equipment during the hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. After that, the army of the aggressor country recalled its arsenal of old weapons.

The T-62s, while completely obsolete for modern tank-to-tank combat, can still provide valuable armored fire support capabilities for engaging lighter armored and unarmored vehicles, fortifications and troops in the open. The apparent need on the part of the Russian military to dig very deep into stockpiles of T-62s and other very old vehicles, weapons and other materials provides further evidence of the country's staggering losses in Ukraine to date.

In the fight against Ukrainian tanks (mainly T-64, but also T-72 and T-80), the T-62M would be at a disadvantage due to weaker sensors, fire control, armor and armor penetration. Tank-to-tank fights are relatively rare during this war, however, and the T-62 is great at firing 115mm shells against infantry, fortifications, and lighter armored vehicles. The T-62M sent to Ukraine have improvised shields over the turret. They have been mockingly labeled cages on social media because they are unlikely to protect against powerful anti-tank weapons such as the Javelin or Stugna-P missiles. Nevertheless, such a cover is not useless and can protect against anti-tank grenades dropped by civilian drones, and such a tactic has brought the Ukrainians a lot of success. The T-62 unit, if not used carelessly, can still be a troublesome obstacle for the advancing Ukrainian light and mechanized infantry.

“Yes, it’s easier to fight with an automatic loader and an automatic transmission, like on the T-72, but the T-62M will still serve, will benefit the fatherland,” the military expert, editor of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine Alexei Leonkov, concludes.

Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov told Channel 24 that about 50 years have passed since the production of this model and, for example, the steel used for the armor of this tank has already been changed many times. The Russians will not be able to bring the T-62 to a modern look The invaders can put a modern sight on the tank, but it will be difficult to change the stabilizers, because they may not be structurally suitable. They even need to be produced for a specific tank. In addition, even if the Russians try to install a modern sight on the T-62 tank model, as of today it is not produced in Russia, so Russia can only buy it from other countries, and this may cause problems. Zhdanov summed up "Today, this is virtu ally impossible, given the sanctions that are being imposed against Russia. Yes, they can repair them so that they are combat-ready and well painted."

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Page last modified: 27-03-2023 18:06:13 ZULU