Land Weapons

Main Battle Tank (1961)




The T-62 was developed as a successor to the T-55 series, born out of the necessity to fit a larger caliber gun that could penetrate the armor of more modern contemporary NATO tanks and compete against the British L7 gun. Outwardly, the T-62 strongly resembled its predecessor and retained the same general hull and turret layout although armor protection was improved. The main addition to the T-62 was the incorporation of the 115-mm U-5TS gun, the first smoothbore fitted on a tank. This gave it considerably greater range and penetration power compared to its 100-mm predecessors. Like its predecessor, the T-62 was able to be fitted with a snorkel system for river crossings, and could lay a smokescreen by injecting vaporized diesel fuel into the exhaust. Additionally, it was the last Soviet tank designed without an autoloader. Unfortunately, the T-62 suffered from numerous limitations, many of them inherited from the T-55 such as poor gun stability, limited depression, and a slow rate of fire. It was also more expensive and not significantly more capable, especially once more advanced ammunition became available for the T-55. This resulted in it never fully replacing the T-55 in Soviet service, and being adopted by just one Warsaw Pact ally, Bulgaria. Despite this, it saw plenty of combat, including the Sino-Soviet border dispute where one was captured and subsequently used to develop the Type 69 tank. It was also the most numerous tank fielded by the Red Army in Afghanistan since newer tanks were not seen as necessary, but it is estimated that nearly 325 were lost primarily to mines and RPGs. It later saw service in Chechnya, Georgia, and a small number (pulled from storage) in Ukraine, given high losses of more modern tanks. The T-62 was widely exported to Third World client states, although in lesser quantities than the T-55, where many saw combat, notably by Egypt and Syria during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, as well as Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War where they performed well against Iranian Chieftains and M60s.

The original T-62 (Ob’yekt 165) was directly adapted from the T-55 and was followed up by the initial production (Ob'yekt 166) in 1961 that introduced the 115-mm 2A20 gun. An anti-aircraft machine gun was later fitted in the T-62A and some later production units featured a laser rangefinder. A major modification program resulted in the T-62M with new fire control systems as well as improved mobility and protection (through appliqué armor and rubber side skirts). The ability to fire 9M117 (AT-10) anti-tank missiles was also provided. The T-62MV goes further and adds Kontakt-1 reactive armor. Sub-variants of the original as well as the modernized versions were fitted with different engines or armor arrangements. Non-tank units include the T-62/122 howitzer and T-62/160 mortar carriers, the TO-62 flamethrower tank, the IT-1 tank destroyer with Drakon ATGMs, the BTS-4V armored tractor, and the BTS-4V2 armored recovery vehicle. Modifications were also undertaken by foreign operators including Egypt, Israel (Tiran-6 from captured Syrian stocks), North Korea (Ch'onma-ho), and Ukraine (T-62AG with 125-mm gun)

Preceded by:

T-54 / T-55 (1947)

Succeeded by:

T-64 (1967)


DesignT-62 (M1972)T-62M
TypeMain Battle TankMain Battle Tank
Length (w/Gun)6.63 m (9.34 m)6.63 m (9.34 m)
Width3.300 m3.300 m
Height2.395 m2.395 m
Ground Clearance0.430 m0 m
Track2.640 m0 m
Track Width580 mmn/a
Track on Ground4.150 m0 m
Combat40,000 kg41,500 kg
Ground Pressure0.77 kg/cm²0.83 kg/cm²
SuspensionTorsion barTorsion bar
Speed (Off-Road)50 km/h (40 km/h)50 km/h (40 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)450-650 km (320 km)450-650 km (320 km)
Fording1.40 m (5 m)1.40 m (5 m)
Vertical Obstacle0.80 m0.80 m
Trench2.85 m2.85 m
Engine1 x 580-hp
1 x 620-hp
FuelDiesel: 960 LDiesel
Power/Weight14.50 hp/t14.94 hp/t
Main1 x 115-mm L/52.6

Smoothbore Gun
↑ 16° / ↓ -6° / ↔ 360°
1 x 115-mm L/52.6

Smoothbore Gun
↑ 16° / ↓ -6° / ↔ 360°
1 x 7.62-mm
1 x 12.70-mm
1 x 7.62-mm
Ammo7.62-mm: 2,500
7.62-mm: 2,500
Thickness15 - 242 mm15 - 242 mm
Max Effective204 - 242 mm RHAe204 - 242 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front102 mm / 60°102 mm / 60°
Hull Lower Front102 mm / 54°102 mm / 54°
Hull Upper Sides79 mm79 mm
Hull Lower Sides15 mm15 mm
Hull Upper Rear46 mm46 mm
Hull Lower Rear46 mm49 mm
Hull Top31 mm31 mm
Hull Bottom20 mm20 mm
Turret Mantlet242 mm / Round242 mm / Round
Turret Front242 mm / Round242 mm / Round
Turret Sides153 mm / Round153 mm / Round
Turret Rear97 mm / Round97 mm / Round
Turret Top40 mm40 mm