Sunday, October 5, 2014

The T-62A

What was to become the T-62A was born in January 1959. It was developed by Nizhny Tagil with L.N. Karcev as the head designer. By October two prototypes were built and from November 4th 1959 to April 14th 1960 underwent factory testing. During that time it underwent running test that totaled 4,000km and underwent testing firing at the Ural Artillery Range. After firing against the tank's hull and turret at the NIIBT testing ground in January 1960 the plans for the tank were finalized. In December of 1960 the T-62A passed state testing. However it was not until August 9th 1961 that the U-8TS was not approved as the tank's main armament. On January 9th by Decree of Ministry of Defense of the USSR №7 the Object 165(the T-62A's GABTU designation) was accepted into service under the name T-62A. However it was not until October 1962 by decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR №1096-460 that T-62A was put into production. However by next year by decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR №2235-pc further production and work on the T-62A was stopped due to lack of improvement in the APDS ammunition and stabilizer. Plant №183 was only able to produce 5 units during this time.

The T-62A was rather conventional tank, which is no surprised as it was based off the T-55 and Object 142 tank. However the gun itself was the main attraction, the T-62A was armed with the U-8TS which fired a APDS round at 1535m/s which enabled it to penetrate 310mm at 1000 meters. Unlike other Soviet tanks it had good gun depression with -7 to 16 degrees of gun traverse. There were 43 rounds of ammunition for main gun, along with 3,000 rounds for the two 7.62mm machine guns. The ammunition composition was 40% APDS, 40% HE and the remaining 20% HEAT. It had average fire control with the gun being aimed through a TSH2A telescopic sight. It was stabilized the "Comet" stabilizer which was based off the "Downpour" stabilizer on the T-10M. A novel feature of the T-62A was the mechanism to remove spent shells from a hatch at the back of the turret. This was implemented to reduce fumes in the fighting compartment. 

The armor protection was mostly the same as the T-55 on which the T-62A based; however the turret had increased armor protection compared to the T-55.  The hull of the T-62A itself is increased by 386mm. Parts of the bottom hull were reduced from 20mm to 16mm to save on weight. 

The T-62A had comparable mobility to the T-55 of which it was designed to replace; the 580hp V-55V gave the T-62A a top speed of 50km/h. The average speed on paved road was 26.6km/h to 34.2km/h and on dirt road it was 19.8km/h and 24.8km/h. The T-62A contained 680 liters of fuel(plus an optional external 280 liters) which gave it 500km of range.

The T-62A was an evolutionary step in the design of Soviet medium tanks; while it did not have many revolutionary features it did present a dangerous threat to its NATO competitors. However the Soviets quickly realized in the production of the T-62A that APDS was a dead end compared to APDSFS and so the T-62A was overshadowed by its more numerous brother the T-62. Despite its short life the T-62A did influence Soviet tank design in a big way. The T-62A formed the basis for what would be become the T-62 and it would also provide the impetus for A.A. Morozov to design the T-64.

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