A T-62 showing its long smoothbore 115mm cannon and gaps between the two last roadwheels.
Source: www.fas.org - © copyright lies with original owner
The T-62 is a main battle tank of Soviet origin. It was developed in the late 1950's as a follow on to the succesful T-55. The T-62 was produced in large quantities in the 1960's and played an important role in the Cold War. In several areas the T-62 is an improvement over the T-55. However, the slight increase in performance does not justify the production costs that are twice that of the T-55. The introduction of newer tanks made the T-62 quickly obsolete as the primary Soviet tank, a role which would be fulfilled by the later T-72.
The T-62 is a further development of the T-55 that is mainly characterized by its new smoothbore cannon. The driver is seated in the longer and wider chassis with distinct gaps between the last two sets of roadwheels. These gaps are not found on the T-55 series. The larger dome shaped turret houses the remaining three crew members and is fitted with a larger and longer 115mm smoothbore cannon. Many features found on late model T-55's are also present on the T-62, such as an NBC system, stabilization in both axis and infrared searchlight.
The main armament of the T-62 is the 115mm U-5TS smoothbore cannon for which 40 rounds are carried. Upon introduction the 115mm smoothbore cannon was much more powerful than the 100mm rifled cannon on the T-55. This gap was reduced by the introduction of new types of 100mm ammunition. Fired while standing still against stationary targets the cannon is as accurate as the NATO 105mm L7 cannon. When on the move the accuracy is reduced significantly due to the low quality fire control and stabilization system. A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is installed as a coaxial weapon. Most T-62's have a 12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun on the turret roof.
The standard T-62 has slightly thicker hull armor and better turret armor over the frontal arc than the T-55. The 105mm L7 cannon used on Western tanks is still able to pierce the armor when using improved rounds. Late production models feature smoke grenade dischargers and all T-62's are capable of laying a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel in the exhaust. On the T-62M series, described separately, the protection level has been improved by adding bra armor, appliqué armor or ERA blocks.
The T-62 uses the same V-55 diesel engine as used in the T-55, but the increased weight has lowered the power to weight ratio. This makes the T-62 slightly less maneuvreable than the T-55. The tracked chassis allows the T-62 to cross any terrain but the cross country speeds are somewhat limited and the steering is not precise. A large snorkel can be attached for deep wading across rivers.
The T-62 was produced in large quantities, but not nearly as much as the earlier T-55. The T-62 was replaced as the primary Soviet tank by the later and much more capable T-72. In Russian service the T-62 is held in reserve, in the Middle East and Africa it remains in active service.
An Afghan National Army T-62 fitted with fuel drums at the rear.
Source: davric - © public domain
The 115mm U-5TS smoothbore cannon is the main armament of the T-62. The T-62 was designed around the use of this new cannon, the first operational smoothbore cannon in the world.
A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted as a coaxial weapon alongside the main gun.
From 1972 onward the T-62 was fitted with a 12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun on the turret roof.
The T-62 was developed as a more capable successor to the T-55. Although there are many visual differences, the external similarity is evident.
The T-62M is an upgrade package applied to the T-62 series. The upgrade package comes in several variants. Improvements include additional armor, improved fire control system and the ability to launch guided missiles from the gun barrel.
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