The Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) has developed a modernization package for T-54, T-55, T-62 tanks which are in service with many countries.

This package is offered for series production by the State Enterprise Malyshev Plant.The purpose of this package consists in ensuring a prolongation of the service life of these tanks by 15-20 years with simultaneous increase of their combat efficiency by 2-3 times.

The package envisages application of technical solutions on the basis of up-to-date technologies based on use of Ukrainian-madeтcomponents and - at Customer’s request - components produced by otherтcountries.

The package is developed with taking into account the necessity of ensuring the optimum combat efficiency-to-cost ratio of T-54, T-55, T-62 tanks in comparison with new up-to-date tanks, which makes it possible to increase the combat potential of the tank fleet consisting of these vehicles up to the modern level at lower cost.

The modernization package includes two versions:

  • 1st version - enhancement of the tank's COMBAT CHARACTERISTICS
  • 2nd version - development of a family of combat vehicles.
T-54

This was being developed as a new tank that would exceed the T-34 tank as to its characteristics. In so doing, the experience of using tanks during the Second World War was taken into account.

Some prototype vehicles were manufactured in 1945. Having been subjected to trials, the tank was accepted for service and was put into production in 1947, being later on continually upgraded in order to enhance its combat and technical characteristics.

Combat characteristics

Parameter Value
Years of manufacture 1947-1959
Weight 36 t
Crew 4
Overall dimensions:
length 9,000 mm
width 3,270 mm
height 2,400 mm
Armament:
main gun, mm 100 mm
coaxial machine gan and bow machine gun, mm 7.62 mm
Armour 20-200 mm
Engine power output 520 hp
Maximum road speed 50 km/h
Cruising range 350-400 km
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T-55

This was a version of step-by-step modernisation of the T-54 tank.

The T-55 differed from the T-54 by installation of nuclear protection, enlarged allowance of ammunition and increased engine output.

The T-55 was developed by the design bureau of the Uralvagonzavod Plant in Nizhnyi Tagil. The Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau provided designer support to the series production of the tank at the Malyshev Plant and participated in improvement of the vehicle.

Combat characteristics

Parameter Value
Years of manufacture 1958-1963
Weight 36 t
Crew 4
Overall dimensions:
length 9,000 mm
width 3,270 mm
height 2,400 mm
Armament:
main gun, mm 100 mm
coaxial machine gan and bow machine gun, mm 7.62 mm
Armour 20-200 mm
Engine power output 580 hp
Maximum road speed 50 km/h
Cruising range 450-500 km
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Modernized firepower

Fire Control System

Increase of the firepower is achieved by increasing the hit probability of the main gun due to installation of an up-to-date fire control system, which ensures a more accurate preparation of initial data for firing with the help of a laser rangefinder, input information sensors, automatic calculation and introduction of corrections by the ballistic computer, more accurate laying of the main gun by the armament stabilizer.

The KMDB offers to install an upgraded fire control system which includes the following:

  • tank telescopic hinge-type sight (TShSM) with indication of lateral lead angles and automatic introduction of angles of sight - for observation of the battlefield and for firing the main gun the day-time by using the standard ammunition;
  • day/night sighting device (1K13) - for observation of the battlefield by day and at night, for aimed firing of the main gun at night by using the standard ammunition, for aimed firingтof the coaxial machine gun, for aimed firing of the main gun by using guided missiles as well as for guiding these missiles during their flight in the day-timeт(provided the target is visible);
  • laser rangefinder (KDT-2U) - for target ranging, for indication of measured distance and transmission of its value to the tank ballistic computer;
  • tank ballistic computer - for automatic calculation of angles of sight and lead angles with taking into account the deviations of the firing conditions from normal and for calculation of time intervals for firing guided missiles;
  • sensors - for providingтinformation about the value of gun trunnion axis cant, crosswind velocity, tank’s own speed, course angle of tank movement to the tank ballistic computer ;
  • upgraded stabilizer of main armament - for increase of accuracy of main gun stabilization in azimuth and elevation after increase of turret weight and moment of inertia of gun and turret resulting from installation of higher calibre gun and increase of turret protection level.

The offered version of modernization will make it possible to ensure hit probability of 0.55 when firing armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot projectiles in the day-time from a stationary tank at stationary or moving targets at a distance of 2,200-2,300 m and hit probability of at least 0.8тwhen firing guided missiles at a distance of 4,000 m.

Installation of 125 mm KBM1 smoothbore gun

Increase of the firepower is achieved by installation of an up-to-date 125 mm KBM1 smoothbore gun of larger calibre and by use of more efficient projectiles and guided missiles launched through the gun tube.

This enables up-to-date tanks to be engaged at distances of up to 2.3 km by using armour-piercing projectiles and at distances of up to 4 km (with hit probability of 0.8) by using 3UBK14 or Kombat guided missiles.

The tanks are fitted with a mechanised device which facilitate gun loading.

Installation of 120mm KBM2 gun

In order to increase the firepower and to make sure that the upgraded tanks meet the relevant NATO armament standards, the 120mm KBM2 gun (which is a modification of KBM1 gun) can be installed.

The KBM2 gun can fire rounds of all types and purposes developed in compliance with NATO standards - STANAG 4385 and STANAG 4110 (APFSDS-T, HEAT-MP-T etc).

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Mobility modernization

Power Pack

The power pack offered for installation in the tanks being upgraded has been designed on the basis of the 5TDFM engine developing 850 hp.

This power pack is designed and manufactured in the form of a separate module which is to be welded to the hull instead of the hull rear part which is to be previously cut off. The above-mentioned engine is a two-stroke multi-fuel liquid-cooled diesel engine with uniflow scavenging, opposed pistons and horizontal placement of cylinders.

The engine can burn various types of fuel: diesel fuel, petrol, kerosene, jet engine fuel or their mixture in any proportion. Power is taken off the two sides of the crankshaft. The engine is fixed with the help of two cylindrical supports positioned coaxially with the power take-off shaft and located on the engine ends and with the help of one front support located on the engine bottom surface. This method of installation of the engine requires neither adjustment nor centering which are required when installing the original engine in the standard version of the tank. The main specific features of the power pack with 5TDFM engine consist in an ejection-type cooling system, high-efficiency inlet air cleaning system, high air-tightness of the power pack compartment, availability of a special air intake device enabling the tank to cross 1.8 m deep water obstacles. The engine is fitted with a liquid closed-loop forced ejection-type cooling system. The cooling system ejector operates by using engine exhaust gas. The fact that there is no fan or drive reducer results in a considerable reduction of the cooling system weight, high level of reliability and self-control, possibility of tank operation at high ambient temperatures without any loss of performance.

The high efficiency cyclone/cassette-type air cleaner ensures air purification with efficiency of 99.8 %. The modernization results in the following:

  • increase of average speed on natural soil road by 22 %;
  • possibility of tank operation at ambient air temperature of up to + 55 degrees Celcius;
  • possibility of tank operation in dusty conditions for 35 engine operation hours or 1000 km of run before maintenance of air cleaner cassettes is required;
  • ability cross water obstacles to a water depth of 1.8 m without preparation.

The modernization in question (replacement of power pack) can be carried out at small enterprises in the workshops provided with lifting equipment with capacity of up to 15 t, metal cutting and welding equipment.

Auxiliary Power Unit

In order to ensure operation of all tank systems when the main engine is shut down (e.g. during silent watch), to save fuel and to prolong the main engine service life, the tank can be fitted with a diesel-electric auxiliary power unit developing 8 kW.

Running Gear

For the operation of T-54 / T-55 / T-59 / T-62 tanks, including on hard-surfaced roads, it is proposed to install a new caterpillar with a rubberized treadmill having the following technical features:

  • Truck with rubber mount hinge;
  • There is an installation of asphalt cushion rubber cushions;
  • The driving wheels have removable gear rims with a wear-resistant coating of the working surfaces;
  • When the project is implemented, the service life of the track and drive wheels is two times longer than that of the T-54 / T-55 / T-59 / T-62 tanks.

For the T-54 / T-55 / T-59 / T-62s tanks, in order to increase the average speed, it is proposed to install more power-hungry torsion shafts for all suspension and shock absorbers for the first suspension, supporting the caterpillar tracks, and the undercarriage of the modern Oplot Allows:

  • Significantly increase the average speed (1.7 times);
  • Increase the dynamic course of the suspension to 235 mm;
  • Increase the smoothness of the product.
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Set of Additional Protection

In order to increase the protection level of T-54/T-55/T-59/T-62 tanks, they can be fitted with additional armour modules on the hull glacis plate, turret front part, explosive reactive armour (ERA) on hull and turret, as well as hull side screens with ERA.

When upgrading the tanks, the modular design of armouring is used. This design has the following advantages:

  • possibility of re-equipping the tank later on as the armour as improved armour materials become available and new protection means emerge;
  • new approach to restoration of the armour hit by projectiles: the damaged module can be repleced in field conditions;
  • possibility of tank operation with the armour modules and ERA array removed in the peace time (in order to save fuel and to prolong the equipment service life), whenever necessary, the protection array can be quickly restored up to the full combat level;
  • as far as production is concerned: the modules will be manufactured at special production facilities separately, while only mounting elements will be welded onto the tank hull.

Installation of additional armour modules and explosive reactive armour

Placement of ERA explosive components inside of armoured containers enables them to avoid being damaged by 7.62mm and 12.7mm bullets or by artillery shell splinters.The ERA explosive components do not detonate when hit by projectiles fired from automatic gun with calibre of up to 30 mm, nor they detonate when affected by incendiary mixtures of Napalm type or when exposed to damage effects of fuel-air explosive explosion.

Characteristics of Additional Protection

This design of protection makes it possible to considerably increase the tank protection against chemical energy attack weapons and kinetic energy attack weapons while the vehicle weight will not increase dramatically.The protection array consists of steel plates and ERA explosive components and makes it possible to reduce the piercing effect:

  • of chemical energy attack weapons - by 2.5...3;
  • of kinetic energy attack weapons - by 1.8.

The additional armour increases the protection level within the course angles of +35 degrees (for turret) and +20 degrees (for hull).

Fire Suppression System

In order to increase the protection of T-54/T-55/T-59/T-62 tanks and their crew members in case of fire in the crew compartment or power pack compartment, the quick-to-respond fire suppression system can be installed. The system ensuresтreduction of the response time in the crew compartment down to 150 ms, which reduces irretrievable losses by 20 %.The fire suppression system consists of:

  • optical sensors and heat sensors;
  • bottles with fire-extinguishing compound;
  • control equipment.
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Optronic Countermeasures System

In order to increase protection of T-54/T-55/T-59/T-62 tanks against anti-tank guided missiles having semi-automatic tracer-guided control systems or semi-active laser-guided homing head, the tanks can be equipped with an optronic countermeasures system.

The system ensures the following:

  • decoyng away anti-tank guided missiles by means of setting light interference;
  • decoyng away incoming laser-beam riding anti-tank guided missiles having semi-active laser-guided warheads by means of laying quickly-generated aerosol screens.

The optronic countermeasures system includes an optronic suppression station and an aerosol screening system.

The optronic suppression station includes:

  • two illuminators;
  • two modulators;
  • control panel.

The illuminators and modulators are located outside the tank, while the control panel is installed inside the tank.

The aerosol screening system includes:

  • four sensors to detect laser beams directed at the tank. The sensors are installed on the turret roof in protective housings;
  • control unit, control panels and indicator which are installed inside the tank;
  • twelve aerosol grenade launchers to lay an aerosol screen. The launchers are installed either side of the turret (six on each side).
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Other defensive measures

Thermal Protection of Power Pack

In order to make the tank less liable to be detected in the infra-red band and to decrease probability of being hit by heat-seeking warheads, the power pack compartment top deck is fitted with thermal protection devices. Due to the fact that the exhaust gases are mixed with the ejection-type cooling system air and ejected behind the turret rear, the hottest area is located not on the tank power pack compartment, but on a place located two meters behind the tank, and the thermal contrast is lower than that of T-54/T-55/T-59/T-62 tanks.

The offered thermal protection makes it possible to reduce the range of tank detection by 1.5 and to decrease 2-3 times the probabilityтof being hit by homing warheads of the SKEET type which selects a target according to its thermal contrast.

Fire Suppression System

In order to increase the protection of T-54/T-55/T-59/T-62 tanks and their crew members in case of fire in the crew compartment or power pack compartment, the quick-to-respond fire suppression system can be installed. The system ensuresтreduction of the response time in the crew compartment down to 150 ms, which reduces irretrievable losses by 20 %.The fire suppression system consists of:

  • optical sensors and heat sensors;
  • bottles with fire-extinguishing compound;
  • control equipment.
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Additionally
Installation of a number of new units and systems which do not influency the combat qualities directly, but simplify and facilitate the tank operation by its crew.

Communications Means

In order to ensure control of the tank under combat conditions, the following is used:

  • R-173M radio set
  • R-173PM radio receiver
  • AVSK1 crew intercom system

The equipment makes it possible: 

  • to increase the number of pre-set frequenciesтfrom 4 up to 10 with automatic frequency trimming;
  • to introduce a command and control system into the tank unit with the help of the navigation support system; 
  • to improve the technical characteristics due to use of newтcomponents.

Navigation Support System

The LIO-N navigation support system is intended to ensure determination of the coordinates of the tank,тmovement of the own tank as well as subordinate tanks along the pre-determined route, collection and display of the information about the location of subordinate tanks, and transmission of text informationтthrough a digital radio channel.

The equipment ensures the following:

  • determination of the coordinates of the tank by usingтtwo satellite systems:тNAVSTAR (USA) and GLONASS (Russia) with square mean error of coordinate determination of within 20 m;
  • generation, transmission and reception of text information through a digital radio channel of the R-173M radio set at distances of up to 20 km. The received information is shown on the display screen;
  • storage and current processing of pre-determined routes. Up to 10 routes can be pre-determined, with up to 50 route check pointsтin each route;
  • providing the driver with the data about the required angle of turning towards the destination point (in so doing, any route check point can be regarded as the destination point);
  • collection of information about the location of subordinate tanks and displaying of this information on the display screen in the digital form or in the form of symbols.

Self-entrenchment Equipment

The built-in dozer equipment enables the tank to dig a tank caponier within 15...40 minutes (depending on the type of ground).

Air Conditioning System

In order to ensure comfortable conditions for the crew in the tank at high ambient air temperature (up to +55 degrees Celcius), the tank can be fitted with an air conditioning system, which ensures reduction of temperature in the tank crew compartment by 10...15 degrees.

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Creating a series of combat vehicles

On the basis of the T-62 tanks that have served their time, a series of combat vehicles can be created, including:

  • Heavy infantry fighting vehicle;
  • Armored repair and evacuation machine;
  • Armored bridge-laying machine.
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