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T-55AM


T-55M | T-55AM-1


Overview


T-55AM2B

An East German T-55AM2B which is rather similar to the T-55AM.
Source: baku13 - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Main battle tank
Entered service
1983
Status
In service
Development
Early 1980's
Developer
Soviet Union
Production
1981 - 1990's
Producer
Soviet Union - (upgrade of existing T-55/T-55A)
Czechoslovakia
Poland
Number produced
Several thousand
Designations
Obyekt 155M (GABTU index)
Notable users
Soviet Union
Poland
Czechoslovakia
East Germany

Description


Introduction

The T-55AM is a Cold War era main battle tank of Soviet origin. The T-55M and T-55AM are deep modernizations of the older T-55 and T-55A respectively, extending their service life. This upgrade program proved especially useful for Warsaw Pact and Soviet allies that did not acquire the T-62 and could not yet field the T-72 in quantity.

Design

The T-55AM modernization package was applied to existing stocks T-55 and T-55A tanks at the depot level. In the Warsaw Pact these were also produced as new vehicles, sometimes with minor local modifications. The upgrade includes improvements in firepower, mobility and protection. The applique turret armor and new side skirts give the T-55AM a distinctive look.

Firepower

The T-55AM retains the manually loaded 100mm D-10T2S rifled gun. The firepower is improved by the ability to launch the Bastion anti-tank missile from the barrel. Fire control is improved by adding the Volna fire control system, new gun sights, an improved stabilization system and fitting a laser range finder in a box above the barrel.

Protection

The protection level is improved by adding BDD armor to the turret front, rubber side skirts, smoke grenade launchers and sections of appliqué armor. The BDD passive armor sections on each side of the turret were known as bra or brow armor in the West.

Mobility

The mobility is improved by fitting an uprated V-55U engine, improved suspension and new tracks. These improvements cancel out the negative effects of the increased weight. The T-55M-1 and T-55AM-1 variants are fitted with the new and more powerful V-46-5M engine.

Users

The T-55AM was a very common Soviet and Warsaw Pact vehicle in the late Cold War era. Many thousands were upgraded to this standard, or produced as a new vehicle. The T-55AM upgrade is more numerous than the T-55AMV with the ERA protection suite. Despite its age the T-55AM soldiers on and has been used in many recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

Details


Facts T-55AM
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Main battle tank
Crew
4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Dimensions
Weight
37 t combat load
Length
6.2 m (hull)
9 m (gun forward)
Width
3.31 m
Height
2.70 m (overall)
Main armament
Type
100mm D-10T2S rifled cannon
Mount
Main gun in turret
Ammunition
43 rounds incl Bastion anti-tank missile
Elevation
-5 to +18°, powered
Traverse
360°, powered at 17°/s
Stabilizer
Yes, both axis
Coaxial armament
Type
7.62mm PKT machine gun
Mount
Coaxial with main armament
Ammunition
3.500 rounds
Traverse
Elevation and traverse as main armament
Stabilizer
Yes, both axis
Secondary armament
Type
12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun
Mount
Pintle mount on turret roof
Ammunition
300 rounds, 50 ready to fire
Traverse
Manual traverse and elevation
Stabilizer
No
Chassis
Chassis type
Tracked chassis, five roadwheels
Chassis layout
Idler front, drive sprocket rear
Tread
2.64 m
Track width
0.58 m
Track on ground
3.84 m
Ground pressure
0.84 kg/cm²
Suspension
Torsion bar
Automotive
Engine model
V-55U
Engine type
V12 diesel
Power output
620 hp at 2.000 rpm
Transmission
Manual, 5 forward, 1 reverse
Fuel
960 L
Mobility
Speed
50 km/h on road
Range
450 km
Power to weight ratio
16.8 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.43 m
Wall
0.8 m
Trench
2.7 m
Gradient
60 %
Fording
1.4 m unprepared
5 m with snorkel
Protection
Armor type
Steel plus applique armor
Armor thickness
203 mm turret front
150 mm turret sides
64 mm turret rear
39 mm turret roof
97 mm hull front
79 mm upper hull
20 mm lower hull sides
46 mm hull rear
NBC system
Yes
Smoke system
Smoke grenade dischargers
Exhaust diesel injection
Equipment
Night vision
Yes
Fire control system
Volna
Radio
R-173

Subcomponents


PKT

The 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted as coaxial armament.

DShKM

A 12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun is mounted on the turret roof.

Related articles


T-55AMV

The T-55AMV has many similar updates as the T-55AM. The main difference is the use of Kontakt-1 ERA instead of BDD passive applique armor.

T-62M

The T-55M and AM are fitted with many of the same updates as found on the T-62M. Both tanks look very similar, but can easily be distinguished by the location of the bore evacuator and roadwheel spacing.