TechRussia's outdated T-62 tanks are no match for modern Ukrainian tactics

Russia's outdated T‑62 tanks are no match for modern Ukrainian tactics

A Russian T-62 tank destroyed by a Ukrainian FPV drone.
A Russian T-62 tank destroyed by a Ukrainian FPV drone.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | Ukrainian Front

7:12 AM EDT, May 20, 2024

The Russians are attacking Ukrainians with a mix of relatively modern equipment and antiques that belong in museums. In the latter category are T-62 tanks, which are useless armored coffins today.

In the Donetsk region, Ukrainians destroyed another T-62 tank with the help of an FPV drone. The Russians were allegedly using them purely as improvised self-propelled artillery as a substitute for howitzers like the 2S1 Gvozdika.

The truth turned out to be different. The Russians are using these antiques in regular assaults or trying to convert them into improvised heavy armored personnel carriers resembling mobile barns or sandcrawlers from Star Wars.

In such use, they are merely mobile four-person coffins, vulnerable to destruction by virtually any modern handheld anti-tank weapon or drones with primary single-head PG-7VL grenades capable of penetrating about 20 inches of armor steel if no electronic warfare systems are in the area.

T-62 tanks - armored coffins from another era

The T-62 tank is a modernization of the T-54/55 family of tanks, designed in the 1960s. The significant design change was using a 115mm smoothbore cannon and reinforced armor using additional steel plates.

Such protection provides resistance at most to automatic cannon fire, e.g., 30mm caliber, but any weapon using a cumulative warhead capable of penetrating several inches of armor steel will pierce the T-62’s armor with ease.

The situation slightly improved with the T-62M/MW variants, which resulted from modernization efforts from the 1980s. These versions have additional composite armor modules mounted on the turret and hull and can use Kontakt-1 reactive armor blocks.

This package raises the protection level in some areas to that offered by the first versions of the T-72 tanks. Other changes include strengthening the engine power to 830 hp and using an improved fire control system with a laser rangefinder for launching 9K116-2 Sheksna anti-tank guided missiles.

However, this does not change the fact that it’s a simple system incapable of effective combat in poor weather conditions or at night due to its lack of modern thermal and night vision sights. In this case, the T-62 tanks are much less helpful than Leopard 1A5 tanks, which, although barely armored, have excellent fire control systems that allow accurate night firing over long distances.

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