But, even if this tank saw widespread service in the Soviet Army and was exported to several other countries, it has been largely replaced by newer designs in the last six decades.
So, they should be in a museum. However, now they are in Ukraine, ready for combat.
The outdated Soviet T-62
The T-62 tank was the main battle tank designed and produced by the Soviet Union. It entered service in 1961 and was the successor to the T-55. It was used extensively by the Soviet Army and its allies, including Cuba and Syria. It remained in production until 1975.
The tank is armed with a 115 mm smoothbore gun, which could fire both HEAT (high explosive, anti-tank) and APFSDS (armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding sabot) rounds.
In addition, the tank’s armor was also significantly upgraded from the T-55, making it more resistant to anti-tank weapons.
However, when it was deployed, the T-62 had several drawbacks. The most critical flaw is that its gun was less effective against newer generations of main battle tanks, which were equipped with more effective armor.
That’s why the T-62 was eventually replaced by the T-72 in front-line service, though it remained in use in second-line and reserve units for many years afterward.
The T-62 in Ukraine
About 30 Soviet T-62 tanks, developed over 60 years ago, were spotted at the positions of Russian troops 35 km from Zaporozhye. The Russians use these tanks as long-term firing points. Up to 30 of these T-62s have been dug in near the city of Vasilievka. pic.twitter.com/tw30DHyiT5— BSA (@BSA32747289) June 8, 2022
Its battlefield deployment highlights the lack of Russia’s modern military equipment because the T-62 is quite vulnerable to anti-tank missiles or drones.
The tank saw limited use in combat during the Soviet-Afghan War, where its heavy armor proved to be an asset against Afghan mujahideen fighters armed with anti-tank rockets. But, at that time, it was vulnerable… So, against the latest state-of-the-art missiles, it is expected to have an insurmountable challenge ahead.
Now, Russia is massively sending the T-62 to Ukraine.
But in Ukraine, it will have a more challenging time. It has more than 60 years of outdated armor technology and doesn’t seem to be a tank capable of resisting the attack of modern missiles that are able of neutralizing much better tanks like the T-90.
Its tech is ancient by modern standards
One of the top innovations of the tank is the improvised armor that looks like a chicken cage on top of their turrets. It doesn’t look like cutting-edge technology, and experts don’t think it will help disperse the power of modern missiles.
Ancient Russian T-62 tanks with newly fitted “hope-to-God-nobody-shoots-at-us cages” welded onto their turrets around Kherson. It seems the Russians plan on using these vehicles in direct, front line combat. pic.twitter.com/npl6HhrCbr— Jimmy (@JimmySecUK) June 5, 2022
However, it may have a psychological effect on some tankers if they believe the cage could withstand a missile from a Bayraktar or a Javelin.
But, at this stage of the war, Ukraine has to fight in unfavorable conditions.
In the pro-Russian territory, they don’t receive any help from the local population, and it is close to the Russian border, where tanks have a lot of air and artillery support.
- Type: Main battle tank
- Status: In service since 1961
- Manufacturer: Uralvagonzavod
- Produced: 1961–1975
- No. built: over 22,700
- Mass: 37 tons
- Length: 9.34 meters (30 feet 8 inches)
- Width: 3.3 meters (10 feet 10 inches)
- Height: 2.40 meters (7 feet 10 inches)
- Crew: 4
- Main armament: A 115 mm smoothbore gun
- Secondary armament: A 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
- Operational range: 450 kilometers (280 miles)
- Maximum speed: 50 km/h (31 mph)
The T-62 is probably having its last adventure… and it will definitely have a hard time
Probably it’s just a matter of time until Russia starts losing these outdated tanks in actual combat scenarios. If the T-90 can’t resist modern anti-tank weapons is very unlikely that the older Russian tank in service will have the slightest chance of surviving a direct missile hit.
Rusted T-62 Soviet battle tank by Kenny Holston. Licensed under CC by 2.0