Home > Tanks > T-62
modified: Nov 10, 2012
T-62 was a Soviet main battle tank. A further development of the T-55, the T-62's smoothbore tank gun is the first of its kind in use. It was eventually replaced by the T-64 and T-72. T-62 production continued until 1975 by which time about twenty thousand tanks had been completed.

A new design bureau was established in Nizhni Tagil, the Uralvagon KB, and was headed by Leonid N. Kartsev. The bureau was given the task of developing a new main battle tank under the code-name Yubileniye (Jubilee). Obiekt 165 mounted a 100mm D-54 rifled gun while Obiekt 166 mounted a 115mm U-5TS Molot smoothbore gun. Obiekt 166 was approved by the government on August 12, 1961 as the T-62. Obiekt 165 was accepted for service as the T-62A on January 8, 1962. The first twenty five T-62 tanks were produced beginning at the end of 1961. Mass production of the T-62 started at Nizhnyi Tagil in July 1962.

Testing of the T-62A 100mm D-54 gun showed performance problems when firing the APDS ammunition. These and other problems led to the cancellation of T-62A production. Only five T-62A tanks were built in 1962.

The T-62 is armed with a 115mm U-5TS (2A20) smoothbore two-axis stabilized gun fitted with a bore evacuator and that fires fixed types of ammunition. It has a maximum rate of fire of 4 rds/min when stationary. After firing, the gun automatically elevates to an angle of +3° 30' for loading. The turret cannot be traversed while the weapon is being loaded. The recoil of the gun activates an integral system that ejects the empty cartridge case out of the turret through a trapdoor in the turret rear.

The gun elevating and traversing mechanism consists of electric, hydraulic and manual controls. The gunner can elevate or depress the gun through electric and hydraulic controls. Both the commander and gunner can traverse the turret by electric controls through a full 360°. Only the gunner can traverse the turret and elevate the gun manually.

A total of forty 115mm ammunition is carried in the T-62. Of these, two ready rounds are kept in the turret, one by the gunner's feet and the other by the loader's feet.

The T-62 retains the engine and transmission of the T-55. The cooling system is improved by the use of a larger diameter fan. The suspension is similar to that of the T-55 except for the rearrangement of the mounts and the lengthened hull. The nuclear protection, fire detection and suppression and water fording systems are identical to those installed in the T-54B and T-55.

The first public appearance of the T-62 occurred during a parade in Moscow in May 1965. It can be distinguished from the T-54/T-55 series by its longer and wider hull, the distinct gap between the third, fourth, and fifth roadwheels, the shape of the turret, and the longer 115mm gun barrel with a fume extractor.

The driver of the T-62 is seated at the front of the vehicle on the left side and is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the left. There are two day vision blocks mounted forward of this hatch cover each with an integral defrosting element. The left vision block can be replaced by a TVN-2 IR periscope which has a 30° field of view and a maximum range of 60m. A hull escape hatch behind the driver's seat opens to the inside of the vehicle. Mounted on the glacis plate is a wave deflector and, mounted to the rear of this on the right side are a white light and an IR headlamp.

The cast armor turret is in the center of the tank with the commander and gunner seated on the left and the loader on the right. There are two single-piece hatch covers that open to the rear and can be locked vertically. Rails outside the turret can be used by infantry or for stowing personal equipment.

The commander's cupola has four day periscopes, two mounted in the hatch cover and two in the forward part of his cupola. The commander's sight, designated TKN-3, is a day/night binocular periscope with an integral IR capability, mounted in the forward part of his cupola. For day use it has a magnification of 5x and a 10° field of view and for night it has a magnification of 4.2x and an 8° field of view. Effective range when used in conjunction with the OU-3GK searchlight is 400m. The handles of the sight are used to rotate the commander's cupola and operate the searchlight, target designation equipment and other systems.

The gunner has a TSh2B-41u telescope with a rotating graticule for superelevation required for the different types of 115mm ammunition and dual magnification, 3.5x with an 18° field of view and 7x with a 9° field of view, filter capabilities, stadiametric rangefinder, and an integral wiper. The gunner's IR sight is the TPN1-41-11 periscope with is used in conjunction with the main L-2G searchlight mounted coaxially to the right of the main gun and has an effective range of 800m. The TPN1-41-11 has a magnification of 5.5x and a 6° field of view. The gunner is also provided with a TNP-165 periscope with a magnification of 1x. The loader is provided with a TNP-165 periscope which can be used to the front or rear of the vehicle.

An electrically operated blower controlled by the driver using the KUV-3 ventilator control box is mounted at the rear of the turret to the left of the spent cartridge ejection door.

The engine is equipped with a preheater and is normally started by compressed air, although there is an electrical auxiliary system. The torsion bar suspension consists of five dual rubber-tyred road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear and the idler at the front. A hydraulic shock-absorber is provided at the first and last roadwheel stations.

The T-62 is equipped with a centralized ethylene-bromide fire extinguishing system. It is automatically activated by eight heat sensors located in the engine, transmission and fighting compartments or manually activated by the commander or driver.

The T-62 has a PAZ nuclear collective protection system consisting of an RBZ-1m radiation detector/actuator, five separate explosive squib mechanisms and a blower/dust separator. The radiation detector/actuator is located on the right side of the turret compartment behind the compressed air tanks.

When the detector/actuator senses the initial gamma or neutron pulse of radiation preceding a blast wave, it activates the explosive squib mechanism. An explosive charge detonates and forces the detent pin out of place, thus allowing spring-loaded shutters, dampers or louvers to close. This shuts the engine louvers, sight aperture, bulkhead ventilation fan, air baffles to the transfer case and the air intake to the blower/dust separator.

The blower/dust separator is an electric motor mounted with a set of fan blades to draw air into the vehicle and spin it at around 7,000rpm. The blower/dust separator removes nuclear fall-out only. The tank must quickly pass through the contaminated area and be decontaminated before becoming fully operational again. Late T-62 production models are fitted with a chemical filter to protect the crew from chemical or biological contaminants.

Two diesel fuel drums can be installed at the rear for increased operational range. All vehicles have three external fuel cells on the right side of the vehicle for diesel fuel while a single tank on the left side is for auxiliary oil. The driver can select which fuel to use first, normally the two rear drums, then the three external cells, and lastly the main fuel tank.

The T-62 can produce a smoke screen by spraying diesel into the exhaust manifold when it is sufficiently hot. This creates thick white smoke 250 to 400m long depending on wind strength lasting for 4 minutes and consumes about 10 liters of fuel per minute. The tank is in second or third gear when laying the smoke screen.

The T-62 can ford to a depth of 1.4m without preparation. With preparation taking up to 8 hours and including the fitting of a snorkel, it can ford in deep water. The snorkel is carried in sections on the rear of the turret. The tank is driven across the riverbed in the first gear and navigated by its GPK-59 gyrocompass and a radio link to the far bank. It takes one to two minutes to prepare the tank for combat after crossing.

The T-62 was viewed as a stop-gap tank until the T-64 was ready. The T-62 was underpowered in comparison to other Soviet vehicles such as the BMP-1. In addition, the T-62 suspension performed poorly in rough terrain. However, the T-64 proved to be unreliable when introduced. Therefore, T-62 production continued until October 1973.

The T-62K was the command tank variant produced in parallel with the basic version. It had an additional R-122 radio, a TNA-2 navigation system, and a 4m antenna. The total number of 115mm ammunition carried is lower than that of the basic version.

In 1967, the two small engine deck access hatches were replaced with a large one-piece assembly. In addition, OPVT deep-fording equipment was introduced.

In 1972, a 12.7mm DShKM anti-aircraft heavy machine gun was mounted over the loader's hatch. This modernization program was called Obiekt 166 sb.4. Other changes included a new stowage configuration for the OPVT on the turret side, a larger vehicle identification light, and improved deep-fording equipment. The Nizhni-Tagil plant called this version the T-62 Model 1972.

T-62 Model 1975 was the final production model. It was fitted with the KTD-1 laser rangefinder over the gun mantlet to increase first round hit probability.

In the late 1970s, the RMSh track developed for the T-72 was introduced on the T-62 with a new drive sprocket.

T-62D is a variant fitted with the Drozd-1 active protection system, passive armor, a V-55U engine and the R-173 communications systems.

T-62D-1 is a T-62D variant with a V-46-5M engine.

A new modernization package for the T-62 was approved on July 25, 1981. It included the new BDD appliqué armor kit. Tanks with this package were designated as T-62M.

An optional kit was also prepared to protect the turret rear and parts of the hull from RPG attack using panels of lightweight slats (reshetki).

To counter mine threats, cellular armor package was developed for the tank belly. In addition, the driver's seat was reattached to the side plate to reduce the risk of spinal damage after a mine explosion.

The upper parts of the suspension are covered with a skirting made of woven rubber material 10mm thick to protect against shaped-charge warheads. Eight 81mm Type 902B Tucha smoke dischargers were introduced.

The firepower was enhanced with the Volna fire-control upgrade which included the KTD-2 laser rangefinder, the BV-62 ballistic computer, the TShSM-41U gunner's sight, and the Meteor M1 gun stabilization system. A thermal sleeve was added to the gun barrel.

Automotive changes on the T-62M include the 620hp V-55U engine and improved torsion bars. The R-173 communications system was also introduced.

The crew is provided with 1PZh-1 anti-radiation jackets and napalm protection.

Some T-62M's were modified for the use of the 115mm 9K116-2 Sheksna guided missile. To guide the laser-beam riding missile, the gunner's normal TPN-1 sight was replaced with the 1K13 sight/fire-control system. Tanks without the Sheksna missile system were designated as T-62M1.

Further classification included:-
Some T-62 variants comparison
Sheksna missile yes no no yes no
Volna fire-control yes yes yes yes no
12.7mm machine gun yes yes yes yes no
Thermal sleeve yes yes yes yes no
Appliqué armor
     hull yes yes no no yes
     turret yes yes yes no yes
     belly yes yes yes yes yes
ERA no no no yes no
Side skirts yes yes yes yes yes
Napalm protection yes yes yes yes yes
Smoke dischargers yes yes yes yes no
V-55U engine* yes yes yes yes yes
Improved suspension yes yes yes yes yes
R-173 radio yes yes yes yes no
*variants with V-46-5M engine are called T-62M-1, T-62M1-2, T-62M1-2-1, T-62MV-1, and T-62D-1 respectively

The T-62 was not license built outside of the Soviet Union. Bulgaria was the only Warsaw Pact state to adopt the T-62 receiving eighty units. They were later sold to Angola and Yemen in 1993 and 1994.

There are unclear reports of a North Korean copy known as the Chonma tank. However, this might be a local modernization of Soviet built tanks.

Over five thousand tanks were exported in the 1970s and 1980s to Middle Eastern and African nations. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a second wave of T-62 exports from the former Soviet republics took place.

IT-1 was a missile tank variant based on the T-62 tank. In 1960, the Taifun (Typhoon) anti-tank missile was placed in a modified T-62 turret. This project was called Obiekt 150. It saw limited service in 1965 as the IT-1 tank destroyer. However, it did not enter mass production. In the 1970s, the IT-1 was converted into an armored recovery vehicle under the designation BTS-4V.

Other variants
BTS-4V1 is an armored recovery vehicle directly based on the T-62 chassis.

TO-62 was a flamethrower version of the T-62.

TV-62M is a Bulgarian armored recovery vehicle based on the T-62M.

References: JAA5, JTCV, T62MBT, TaT, TMBT