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Russia offers upgrade of ageing T-55 and T-62 tanks to foreign customers Tass 52704163


Defence & Security News - Russia
 
Russia offers upgrade of ageing T-55 and T-62 tanks to foreign customers
Russian defense industry is offering radical upgrade of ageing Soviet T-55 and T-62 main battle tanks (MBT) to developing nations, according to a military-industrial source.
     
Russia offers upgrade of ageing T-55 and T-62 tanks to foreign customers 640 001The Russian-made T-55 Main Battle Tank (MBT)
     
"Despite their age, both T-55 and t-62 tanks still remain the workhorses of national armed forces of several developing nations. The last partial upgrade of the tanks was performed in the late 1980s. The conflict in Syria has apparently shown that easy-to-learn, easy-to-maintain and easy-to-use tanks, such as T-55 and T-62 are in high demand. We offer developing nations to enhance the aforementioned tanks` performance, bringing them to the level of modern MBTs," the source said.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies` (IISS) report, approximately 6,671 T-55 and 1,482 T-62 main battle tanks have been deployed in the national armed forces all over the world. Most of part of the aforementioned MBTs is not upgraded.

T-55 lacks protection (100-200 mm of steel homogeneous armour (RHA)) and firepower. The organic gun of T-55, namely, 100mm D-10T2S developed in the early 1950s can pierce 280 mm of RHA at distance up to 2,000 m, using 3UBM11 armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) round and approximately 350 mm of RHA, using 3UBK9M high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) round. The organic shells of D-10T2S gun, namely, 3UOF10 and 3UOF11 high-explosive (HE) rounds lack blast and fragmentation effect. T-55 in basic configuration is powered by ageing V-55 (580 h.p.) diesel engine, which provides 16.1 h.p./t power-to-weight ratio.

In 1985, Soviet defense industry has developed the first serial upgrade kit for modernization of T-55 tanks. The upgraded variant was designated as T-55AMV. The tank received additional steel protection of frontal arc, Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour (ERA), Volna fire control system (FCS), KTD-2 laser rangefinder, 902B Tucha smoke grenade launchers, new V-55U diesel engine (620 h.p.), 12.7mm DShKM anti-aircraft (AA) heavy machinegun and R-173 radio. The D-10T2S gun was modernized to fire 9M117 Bastion (NATO reporting name: AT-12 Swinger) anti-tank guided missiles with armour-piercing capability of 450-500 mm of RHA behind ERA. According to several reports, T-55AMV tanks were supplied to Syria. Yemen and Afghanistan in the late 1980s - early 1990s.
     
Russia offers upgrade of ageing T-55 and T-62 tanks to foreign customers 640 002The Russian-made T-62 Main Battle Tank (MBT)
     
T-62 MBT was brought into service in 1961. It was originally intended for fire support of advancing T-55 tanks on the battlefield. It also comes short of armour protection (102-220 mm of RHA), as well as T-55. The T-62 tank in basic configuration is powered by V-55V diesel engine (580 h.p.). The MBT is armed with 115mm smoothbore 2A20 gun. It has an armour-piercing capability of 380 mm of RHA at 2,000 m, using 3UBM13 APFSDS round and 440 mm of RHA, using 3UBK3M HEAT round. Such specifications fall short of modern requirements to anti-tank weapons. At the same time, 3UOF6 and 3UOF37 HE rounds of 2A20 are more effective against personnel targets compared to the munitions of 100mm D-10T2S gun.

T-62 was upgraded in the mid-1980s, as well as T-55. In 1983, the Soviet Union revealed the deeply upgraded T-62 designated as T-62M The tank was equipped with additional armour protection of the front part of the turret and front plate of the hull, side skirts, Volna FCS, V-55U diesel engine, 902B Tucha smoke grenade launchers, 12.7mm DShKM AA heavy machinegun and new tracks. The 2A20 gun was modernized to fire modified 9M117 ATGMs. T-62M upgrade kit was almost identical to T-55AMV apart from Kontakt-1 ERA. T-62M MBTs are reported to have been supplied to Afghanistan and Syria.

However, even upgraded T-55s and T-62s cannot effectively eliminate hostile heavy armoured vehicles on the modern battlefield. Their ammunition loads comprise only one round, being able to destroy such MBTs as Leopard 2A4/A5 and M1A1/A2 Abrams, namely, 9M117 ATGM. Both upgraded Soviet tanks are equipped with only five anti-tank missiles. The organic APFSDS rounds of 2A20 and D-10T2S guns could hardly penetrate front armour plates of the newest main battle tanks.

Russian OmskTransMash company (a subsidiary of Uralvagonzavod, UVZ) has developed the advanced upgrade kit to bring the obsolete T-55 and T-62 to relatively modern level.

Modernized T-55 has received Relikt ERA developed by NII Stali scientific-research institute (a subsidiary of the Tractor Plants concern), which increases the tank`s resistance by 700 mm of RHA against HEAT and by 450 mm of RHA against APFSDS rounds. The side skirts of upgraded T-55 are reinforced by passive armour on the pattern of T-80U MBT. T-55 upgraded by OmskTransMash is armed with 100m D-10E2S with extended effective firing range, firing rate and accuracy. It is equipped with new V-46-5MS diesel engine (690 h.p.). The tank retains the capability to fire modernized 9M117M anti-tank missiles, being able to pierce 550-600 mm of RHA behind ERA. The vehicle is equipped with new Om` FCS. The combat weight of T-55 has increased to 40 t after the modernization. It should be noted that the T-62 tank can also be upgraded in the same manner.

OmskTransMash is offering modernization of T-55 tanks at the global arms market. Several countries, which have deployed a huge fleet of such tanks are supposed to have shown their keen interest in the upgraded T-55 variant, including Vietnam (850 T-55 MBTs), Algeria (270 T-55 MBTs) and Iran (approximately 300 T-55 MBTs).
     
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