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Modern Ukrainian Armor

T-62AG and T-62AGM

Ukraine (2002)
Main Battle Tank – 1 Prototype Built

The T-62AG and T-62AGM were Ukrainian upgrades for the Soviet T-62 Main Battle Tank (MBT). Both upgrade kits could successfully bring any 2nd Generation T-62 MBT variant to 3rd Generation MBT standards of the early 2000s.

While the T-62AG made it to the prototype stage, the T-62AGM was just a concept, but it would have been an upgrade kit identical to the T-55AGM, just on the more modern T-62. The AGM kit was intended to fit both MBTs.

A single T-62AG prototype was produced and was tested by Egypt in 2009. Unfortunately, due to the Egyptian political situation of 2011, not a single upgraded T-62 was adopted.

The Ukrainian T-62AG outside the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. It is distinguishable from the T-62AGM by the absence of new optic devices and laser detectors. Source: armor.kiev.ua

Context

Before the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine produced significant amounts of Soviet hardware, such as MBTs, in plants such as the Malyshev Factory in Kharkiv. This single factory made over 800 MBTs in the last year of Soviet rule.

Abandoned T-64s and T-72s at the Kharkiv reparation plant in the early 2010s. Source: livejournal.com Paul Itkin

After the fall of the Soviet Union, between 5,000 and 7,000 tanks remained inside Ukrainian borders. According to the website globalsecurity.com, between 1995 and 2014, the number of operational tanks in the Ukrainian ranks decreased from 5,000 to 1,100 due to budget cuts.

In order to increase the number of operable vehicles, the Ukrainian Army adopted a unique solution. First of all, Ukraine had many tank building plants that had participated in the production of the Soviet T-64 main battle tanks in the eastern part of the country. They could also count on many workshops specialized in repairing Soviet MBTs and on tons of spare parts lying in Cold War era depots. Ukraine then decided to totally remove the few T-62s still in service and reduce the number of T-72 MBTs in its ranks, accelerating the reconditioning of T-64s.

The T-62AG and the T-62AGM were thus only meant for export.

Ukrainian worker scrapping a T-62 at the Kyiv Tank Repair Plant, 1995. Source: www.reddit.com u/Quietation

The necessity of maintaining a large fleet of main battle tanks in the late 1990s pushed the Ukrainians to start developing upgrades for Soviet vehicles, such as the T-62AG and the T-62AGM, which appeared around the same time as other developments in the early 2000s, such as the T-55AGM and the T-72-120. All these upgrades were intended for export, hoping to gain money to recondition the T-64 fleet. However, due to poor market results with these upgraded vehicles, Ukraine started selling main battle tanks (even in bad condition) to various parts of the world, becoming, between 2010 and 2014, the ninth weapon supplier in the world.

The production of armament, such as copies of Soviet small arms and equipment, also offered Ukraine adequate funds to finance its armored fleet.

Piles of Ukrainian tank engines in the Kharkiv repair plant in the early 2010s. Source: livejournal.com Paul Itkin

In the early 2000s, a single MBT in working condition cost the Ukrainian Army 2,000 UAH (about 400 USD) per day, too much to be sustained by a relatively poor nation (53rd largest economy in the world in 2021, behind Iraq ).

The tanks were simply stored inside depots or plant yards. One of the most prominent Ukrainian abandoned fleets was the outdoor storage area in the Kyiv Armored Vehicles Plant. Before February 2022, this held about 350 former Soviet T-62s, T-64s, and T-72s in all kinds of working order, from partially running condition to rusty hulls. The tanks present before the Ukrainian conflict in the Kyiv Armored Vehicles Plant were probably one-third of the main battle tanks present in Ukraine in 2015, as stated by the Kyiv Post newspaper.

T-62AG and T-62AGM

The AG upgrade kit was the first developed and the only one that has been mounted on a prototype, while the AGM kit was never mounted on a T-62. The AGM kit was instead mounted on a T-55. The AGM kit was developed by Ukraine after the AG kit (between 2002 and 2006) and then mounted on a T-55.

Later, the T-55AGM was modified along with the Diseños Casanave Corporation (English: Casanave Designs Corporation) of Peru, which created the Tifón-2A (Typhoon-2A), with Ukrainian designation T-55M8-A2.

The T-62AG kit was developed from a previous upgrade project by the Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau or KMBD for the T-72. The T-72AG was presented by the Morozov Bureau in 1997 at the IDEX ’97 exhibition in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

A T-72 equipped with the AG kit presented for this tank by Ukraine in 1997. Source: tanknutdave.com

The particularity of the T-62AG, as the KMBD officially reported, was the ease of upgrading any T-62 variant. This meant that all nations that still had the T-62 in use in any of its variants, from the T-62 Obr. 1960 up to the T-62MV, in reserve or active service, could bring their MBT to the T-62AG level. In the early 2000s, around 30 nations still had the T-62 in service.

The kit was intended for customers with limited budgets and was meant to be installed locally, in their own country. The AG kit could be installed on a T-62 in a workshop with only six staff members with the minimum requisite skills in 20 days with iron cutting equipment, welding equipment, and a 15-tonne crane.

Typhoon-2A main battle tank. Next to the vehicle, its creator, engineer Sergio Casanave. Source: wikipedia.org

The AGM kit was intended for nations that could invest more in upgrading T-62s and incorporated more expansive devices. Due to the absence of an actual prototype, the KMBD never provided details of time, staff, and machinery needed to bring a T-62 up to the AGM standard.

At the request of a specific customer, the KMBD could provide the T-62AG with or without a soft-kill Active Protection System (APS) and different main armament, a 120 mm smoothbore gun capable of firing NATO-standard ammunition or a Soviet-derived 125 mm smoothbore gun.

For the T-62AGM, the optional features were increased. First of all, it would have incorporated an autoloader and the APS would be standard. Also, the customer could request different output engines. Another unique feature of the AGM kit was that it could be mounted on any subvariant of the T-54, T-55, T-62, and even the Chinese Type 59.

T-55AGM outside the Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. The particularity of this kit was that it could be mounted on a variety of MBT platforms. Source: reddit.com u/MARTINELECA
Ukrainian Upgrades on the T-62
Upgrade Name Weight (tonnes) Engine Power Main Gun Autoloader Ammunition
T-62AG 39.5 700 hp 125 mm KBM-1M No 35 x 125 mm
T-62AG 39.5 700 hp 120 mm KBM-101 No 35 x 120 mm
T-62AG (w/ APS) 39.6 700 hp 125 mm KBM-1M No 35 x 125 mm
T-62AG (w/ APS) 39.6 700 hp 120 mm KBM-101 No 35 x 120 mm
T-62AGM 50.0 850 hp 125 mm KBM-1 Yes 34 x 125 mm
T-62AGM 50.1 1,050 hp 125 mm KBM-1 Yes 34 x 125 mm
T-62AGM 50.0 850 hp 120 mm KBM-2 Yes 34 x 120 mm
T-62AGM 50.1 1,050 hp 120 mm KBM-2 Yes 34 x 120 mm

T-62AG Design

Engine and Transmission

For the upgrade, the old Soviet V-55V diesel engine, delivering 580 hp at 2,000 rpm, and its synchronized manual transmission with five forward and one reverse gears were removed.

Instead, the T-62AG was equipped with a 5TDF in-line 5-cylinder multi-fuel, high supercharger, liquid-cooled, direct injection diesel engine with opposed pistons and horizontal cylinders. This engine was an upgrade of the older 1950s 5TD engine produced by the Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau for the Soviet T-64. A great feature of this engine was its small dimensions within the original T-62 engine compartment. The 5TDF had a maximum output of 700 hp at 2,800 rpm. The new 5TDF engine weighed 1,040 kg compared to the 920 kg of the Soviet V-55V engine.

Due to the engine type, the fuel consumption was high compared to modern conventional fuel tank engines. The table below explains the differences between the 5TDF engine and the older V-55V, the IVECO Cursor diesel engine mounted on the Italian B2 Centauro wheeled tank destroyer and the German MTU MB 837 Ka-500 mounted on the Palmaria SPG. Note that the B2 Centauro weighs about 9 tonnes less than the T-62AG and the Palmaria SPG weighs 6 tonnes more than the T-62AG.

Comparison between 5TDF opposed pistons engine and conventional engines
Engine name Maximum output (hp) Engine weight (kg) Consumption (l/km) Volume (cm3)
V-55V 580 920 2.1 38,880
5TDF 720 1,040 1.92 13,600
IVECO Cursor 700 975 0.65 20,000
MTU MB 837 Ka-500 750 1,550 1.16 29,900

The engine could operate with diesel, gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, or a mixture in any proportion. Nonetheless, the standard fuel intended for the vehicle was diesel.

5TDF engine tests with various fuels on a T-64B
Fuel Type at 2,600 rpm at 2,000 rpm
Engine Power (hp) Exhaust gasses emitted (%) Engine Power (hp) Exhaust gasses emitted (%)
Diesel 429 50 372 50
Petrol A-76 248 20 245 23
Kerosene TS-1 345 25 311 24
50% Petrol and 50% Kerosene 273 12 274 16
75% Petrol and 25% Kerosene 257 26 254 22

Even if the percentage of visible exhaust gasses increased sensibly, the 5TDF gave a better performance with diesel fuel.

The power of the engine was enough to guarantee increased mobility even if the exact performance data is unknown. The 37-tonne T-62 had a maximum speed of 55 km/h with its original 580 hp engine. On the other hand, the T-62AG weighed between 39.5 tonnes to 39.6 tonnes (depending on the variant), and with the new 700 hp, had a maximum speed between 65 km/h to 70 km/h.

The driver could start the engine with an electrical starter, by means of a button. To drive the tank, the driver had a hydraulic steering system and a digital display for the speedometer, fuel reserve, etc.

The 5TDF diesel engine data sheet. The data referred to is shown in the diesel version. Source: kbmia.com

The new transmission had an automatic gearbox with 7 forward and 4 reverse gears. The planetary gears allowed the tank to turn around a track axle when a gear was engaged, or pivot when no gears were engaged. The new transmission also guaranteed a maximum reverse speed of 30 km/h.

New self-sealing flexible-bag-type fuel tanks were installed. These were contained in armored metal containers that had an explosion suppression system. The T-62AG had an increased fuel capacity of 960 liters compared to the original 675 liters. Despite this, the fuel consumption remained similar to the V-55V diesel engine. As on all Soviet-style armored vehicles, on the rear, there were supports for two external fuel drums, for a total capacity of 400 liters of fuel. In total, without the external fuel barrels, the tank had a range of about 500 km.

The air filters for the engine were also modified and mounted at 1.80 m from the ground. This guaranteed a fording capacity of 1.80 m without preparation. The new filters also reduced maintenance with 99.8% air filtering capabilities. Also, the lifetime of the filters was increased to about 1,000 km before the crew had to dismount and clean them. When properly prepared and equipped with a snorkel kit, the T-62AG could ford 5 m deep water obstacles.

Protection and Survivability

The original T-62’s armored structure remained unmodified, with 102 mm thick armored plates on the hull glacis, 80 mm on the hull sides, 242 mm on the turret’s front and 165 mm on the turret’s sides.

Thanks to the appliqué armor kit and stand-off armor panels, the protection increased on the front and sides of the turret and hull. Together with the appliqué armor, the tank was equipped with supports for Ukrainian-designed 3rd Generation Nizh (English: Knife) Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks on the turret and chassis.

The appliqué armor was the Deflek-T ceramic armor type and was also proposed for the T-55AGM. It consisted of a series of steel plates, composite materials, and polymer plates. The Deflek-T increased resistance against Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot Fin-Stabilized (APDSFS) rounds by 89% and against shaped charges rounds by up to 170%.

The side protection of the Typhoon-2A are identical, apart from the dimensions, to the ones of the T-62AG. Source:

The Nizh ERA was designed by various Ukrainian companies and manufactured in Ukraine by the state enterprise Fundamental Center of Crucial Technologies and officially adopted by the Ukrainian Army in 2003. The Nizh ERA block has the peculiarity of eliminating or minimizing damage to adjacent blocks by 200% to 300%, increasing the tank’s resistance to multiple impacts compared to other ERA designs. The Nizh is a secure ERA, capable of withstanding small arms fire up to 30 mm automatic guns, without detonation from splinters or high temperatures, such as fire from Molotov Cocktails or napalm.

Compared to the Russian Kontakt-5, the Nizh ERA has increased efficiency, from 180% to 270%. The reason why the Nizh ERA is so effective, is that it uses cylindrical-shaped explosive charges shaped like hollow charges forming shaped charge-like jets that “cut” either the cumulative jet from a shaped charge or kinetic projectiles. This should reduce or completely mitigate their penetration performance. It also guarantees lowered explosive damage on the vehicle’s armor due to detonation, easy mounting, and lower cost.

The Nizh Explosive Reactive Armor reacting to an APDSFS round. The detonation of the first explosive charge ignites a series of other shaped charges that “slice” the dart penetrator, mitigating its effects. Source: YIN67LIV@psn via forum.warthunder.com

The Nizh increased the resistance against 120 mm APDSFS rounds up to 1,750 m/s to 160% and against HEAT rounds to about 260%.

Nizh ERA blocks were positioned on the upper and lower hull front, forward third of the hull sides, turret front, and turret sides. This was made to save weight while still protecting the most sensible areas of the tank. Some Nizh ERA bricks were also installed on the turret’s roof and the turret cupolas. This marginally increased protection against top-attack ATGMs or artillery rounds, but could be more useful against loitering munitions.

A T-64 turret equipped with Nizh ERA modules. Similar modules were also mounted on the T-62AG and were planned to be equipped on the T-62AGM. Source: btvt.info

Both the Deflek-T and ERA blocks sensibly increased the protection of the T-62AG and AGM. To give an example, the T-55AGM, with the same appliqué armor and ERA, was protected from 120 mm APDSFS and HEAT rounds up to 2,000 m. This meant that the protection increased by 250% against APDSFS rounds and by 430% against shaped charge rounds.

Plastic flaps were added as side skirts to protect the lower part of the hull, the hull’s lower frontal armor, and the turret. Plastic protection act as spaced armor by detonating hollow charges earlier, decreasing their penetrative capacity. For maintenance or regular crew checks, the plastic flaps could easily be raised upward.

V-shaped Deflek-T ceramic armor with rubber flaps. Source: fuerzamilitarperu.forosactivos.net

The paint on the additional armor and the T-62AG was meant to decrease its infrared (IR) signature and make it a difficult target for thermal weapons and cameras.

The turret was equipped with an 8-tube 81 mm 902V Tucha, or as the Ukrainians called it, “Khmara” smoke launcher, positioned in three rows on the right side to protect the vehicle.

The T-62AG was equipped with a Laser Warning Receiver (LWR). It detected and located the direction of laser emissions from laser guidance systems and laser rangefinders.

The T-62AG shows off its armament and turret. Source: armor.kiev.ua

The Ukrainian Varta soft-kill Active Protection System (APS), as designed by the Ukrainian Optical-Electronic Countermeasures Complex, was optional for the AG kit and standard for the AGM. The soft-kill APS was produced by the Ukrainian State Institute of Chemical Research in Shostka, Sumy Oblast. The Varta APS consisted of a detecting subsystem with four laser warning receivers. Of these, two were simply detectors that alerted the crew that the vehicle had been targeted by a laser beam, while two precision receivers signaled to the commander the position of the emitted laser with a success rate of 12 spotted positions out of 20 during tests.

When the first receivers detected a laser beam, the Varta automatically sprayed an aerosol screen in the direction of the laser guidance system or laser rangefinder. The aerosol created a screen at 20 m from the vehicle in 0.5 seconds to cover the vehicle. The spays would have been launched by the 81 mm 902V Tucha smoke launchers mounted on the right side of the turret and would have covered the vehicle even from thermal sights.

The Varta had a total of 20 shots available, but only protected the tank on an arc of 45° on both sides of the main gun. The crew could set the Varta soft-kill APS to be automatic, semi-automatic, or manual.

Other countermeasures of the Varta APS consisted of a pair of moving IR lights, which emitted coded pulses to deceive IR-guided missiles, and electro-optical jammers against wire-guided and radio-guided ATGMs. This subsystem was taken from the Soviet Shtora electro-optical active protection system officially adopted by the Russians for the T-90. Despite the effectiveness of these IR and electro-optical ATGMs countermeasures, their detection arc was only 20° on both sides of the main gun and only 2° on vertical.

The T-62AG prototype was not equipped with this expansive soft-kill APS in order to decrease the prototype’s production costs.

The Varta IR light was mounted on a T-84 Oplot MBT at the Ukrainian Weapons and Security exhibition of 2021. Source: wikipedia.org

If the spay failed and the jammers broke, the system could be set to automatically activate one smoke launcher to cover the vehicle from laser beams and conventional optics.

Alternatively, the original T-62 option of igniting diesel on the hot exhaust pipes to generate a smokescreen around the vehicle to cover it and nearby troops remained functional.

A new Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) overpressure system was also equipped, with a radiation sensor to measure external radiation.

An external PRKhR-M monitoring device was mounted to detect poison gasses or radiation. It created an alert for the crew with acoustic and light signals indicating that the area was contaminated, even if it did not specify what type of gas or radiation was detected and in which concentration.

The right side of the T-62AG with 902V Tucha smoke launchers in three rows and a small storage rack. Source: armor.kiev.ua

The fire extinguisher system was of a modern type, with optic and thermal sensors, automatically activated with high degrees of efficiency with an extinguish time of 0.15 seconds in the fighting compartment and a maximum of 10 seconds in the engine compartment. In case of failure, it could be activated manually using three levers located in different parts of the vehicle to be quickly pushed by crew members in case of necessity. Each crew member also had at their disposal a fire extinguisher. The engine deck was equipped with screens that prevented burning liquids from Molotov Cocktails launched at the tank from pouring into the engine compartment.

To increase crew comfort, a KTR Climate Control System was installed. Not only did it warm the fighting compartment in frigid temperatures, but it also acted as an air conditioner for warmer temperatures.

For further increased crew comfort, new seats and an automatic transmission were introduced to decrease the stress on the driver during long drives.

Main Armament

To make the vehicle able to counter the most modern MBTs, the Morozov Machine Building engineers upgraded the tank’s main armament. The older 115 mm U-5TS smoothbore gun was substituted with a 120 mm KBA-101 or a 125 mm KBM-1M smoothbore gun, depending on a customer’s requirements.

These two guns are the Ukrainian designations for the 120 mm KBM-2 and 125 mm KBM-1 smoothbore guns without an automatic loader.

The 125 mm KBM-3 Ukrainian smoothbore cannon. Source: btvt.narod.ru

The KBM-1 is a copy of a Soviet 2A46M 125 mm gun, with a total length of 6.90 m and a barrel length of 6,000 mm (L.48). It was capable of firing Gun-Launched Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (GLATGMs). It had a maximum muzzle velocity of 1,700 m/s with 3BM42 ‘Mango’ Soviet-designed APDSFS rounds.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine had tank production plants but not a single gun plant. The 2A46M smoothbore gun was then produced from 1998 in a reconditioned drilling pipe factory. Even if the factory had many of the necessary toolings for gun production, the result of producing smoothbore barrels with unskilled workers was a decrease in barrel life to 50% or even 25% compared to the Soviet ones. For these reasons, the KBM-1 production was quickly stopped. A new 125 mm smoothbore tank gun was designed by the Ukrainians. It had the same caliber but was 6,678 mm long, reducing the breech dimensions. It was designed as KBM-3 and mounted on the Ukrainian T-84 MBT.

The introduction of the KBM-3 casts doubt that the Ukrainians mounted the KBM-1 gun on the T-62 upgrade in 2002, as they had a better quality gun in production at the time. This is probably a common error, given that many sources state that even the T-55AGM was equipped with the older 125 mm KBM-1 gun.

Both Ukrainian 125 mm tank guns could fire all the Soviet and the majority of Russian ammunition for their original 125 mm smoothbore cannon.

The Ukrainian 120 mm L.50 KBM-2 smoothbore gun. In this drawing, the barrel is equipped with the BOVT-1 muzzle reference system. Source: btvt.narod.ru

The design of the Ukrainian KBM-2 gun began in 1999 by the State Scientific and Technical Center for Artillery and Rifle Arms with the help of the French company GIAT and produced at the Malyshev Factory. It did not have standard NATO 120 mm gun length, as it is 50 calibers long, with a barrel length of 6 m, and not L.44 or L.55, as on standard NATO MBTs. Despite the difference in barrel length, the Ukrainian gun is capable of firing a whole range of 120 mm NATO-standard rounds. The KBM-2 had a total weight of 2,600 kg, 100 kg more than the KBM-1.

The smoothbore guns were designed with a short-recoil system, between 260 mm and 300 mm, with a maximum recoil of 310 mm. The recoil system took up most of the recoil travel of comparable guns, permitting them to be installed in the small turret of the T-55 and T-62. The operational life of the two smoothbore guns was 1,000 rounds fired.

The increased firepower gave the T-62AG the anti-tank capabilities of many modern MBTs, such as the Leopard 2A5, M1A2 Abrams, Merkava Siman IV, and Russian T-72, T-80, and T-90. Thanks to an adequate fire-control system (FCS), protection, and new armament, the T-62AG could become a serious threat against each of these MBTs, designed decades after the official entrance into service of the T-62.

A feature shared only with a few new MBTs was the GLATGM capabilities. The Kombat ATGM, developed and produced by Ukraine, could be fired by the 125 mm gun, with a maximum range of 5,000 m. On the 120 mm version, another type of ATGM was fired, the Falarick 120 GLATGM.

The Ukrainian Kombat GLATGM brochure of the Engineering and Aviation Design Bureau Limited Liability Company. Source: kbmia.com

The Falarick 120 ATGM was developed by the Belgian company Cockerill as the Falarick 105 for 105 mm rifled guns.

A further development by the Kyiv Engineering and Aviation Design Bureau for 120 mm smoothbore guns is the Konus ATGM. It had the same range and speed as the Kombat GLATGM. The missiles were equipped with tandem HEAT warheads to defeat even targets equipped with ERA blocks or spaced armor, with a total armor penetration for the Kombat of 750 mm and 700 mm for the Konus. The ATGMs could also be deployed against helicopters.

The Belgian-Ukrainian Konus GLATGM brochure of the Engineering and Aviation Design Bureau Limited Liability Company. Source: kbmia.com

The turret rotation was enabled by an electric engine, while a hydraulic system elevated and depressed the gun. In case of breakdown, the turret could be rotated by a manual handwheel, as was the gun.

The total main gun ammunition for the T-62AG was 35 120 mm or 125 mm rounds and 5 GLATGMs. The T-62AGM had a 34 round reserve for both 120 mm or 125 mm guns and 5 GLATGMs.

Secondary Armament

The secondary armament on both the AG and AGM variants consisted of a 7.62 mm KT-7,62 medium machine gun, a Ukrainian variant of the Russian PK machine gun. Upon the customer’s request, it could be substituted with a Soviet 7.62 mm PKT medium machine gun. The machine gun was mounted coaxially to the main gun, on the right, and could be operated by the gunner and commander.

The TK-7,62 medium machine gun produced by Ukraine. Source: kbmia.com

The 12.7 mm KT-12,7 anti-aircraft heavy machine gun, a copy of the Russian NSVT machine gun, positioned on the commander cupola, was stabilized in the vertical axis. At the customer’s specific request, the Soviet 12.7 mm NSVT heavy machine gun could be mounted instead of its Ukrainian copy.

The only difference in this regard between the AG and AGM kits was that, on the AG, the anti-aircraft gun was manually operated. On the AGM, the 1ETs29E anti-aircraft machine gun control system was installed. It permitted the commander to aim and fire the KT-12,7 with the hatch closed. The remote-controlled gun had PZU-7M sights and a rangefinder incorporated into the fire-control system. The PZU-7M sight had a magnification of 1.2x, 50° field of view, and an elevation from -10° to +85°.

While remotely operated, the 12.7 mm machine gun could engage targets up to 2,000 m during the day and up to 800 m during the night. The machine gun had an elevation from -5° to +75° and a total traverse of 170°. In total, there were 450 rounds for the 12.7 mm KT-12,7 heavy machine gun in three 150-round magazines and 2,500 rounds for the KT-7,62 on both tank models.

The KT-12,7 heavy machine gun in its brochure. Note that the 250-round magazines mentioned in the table were used on the K-12.7 field version. Source: kbmia.com

T-62AG Fire-Control System and Optic Devices

The original T-62 was equipped with a TSh2B-41 optical sight with a magnification ranging between 3.5x with a field of view of 18° to 7x with a field of view of 9°. Thanks to this sight, the original T-62 could detect targets up to 3,000 m during the day. For night vision, there was the TPN-1-41-11 electro-optical active-IR monocular periscope with a maximum magnification of 3.5x and a field of view of 6°. It worked thanks to L-2G tungsten white IR searchlights and could detect targets up to 800 m during the night.

The commander had at his disposal a TKN-3 day/night binocular periscope with an active-IR night channel. For this optic, there was an OU-3GK white IR spotlight mounted on the commander’s cupola. The TKN-3 was a generation 0 image converter with only active night vision with a maximum range of 400 m. The magnification ranges from 4.75x for the day channel to 4x for the night channel.

The original T-62 engagement procedure was simple. The commander spotted targets and estimated their ranges with his optic. The gunner aimed his optical sight, coaxial to the main gun, and elevated it against the target.

The T-62AG’s front. The previous Soviet optics are all visible together with the rangefinder. Source: armor.kiev.ua

The Fire-Control System of the T-62AG is of an unknown type, even if it maintained the original Soviet optics and devices of the Volna FCS adopted on the Soviet T-62M. One of the most notable external subsystems of the Volna was the KTD-2 Soviet rangefinder mounted over the cannon barrel. This rangefinder had a minimum range of 500 m and a maximum of 4,000 m.

A drawing showing the position of new equipment inside the T-62AG turret fitted with 120 mm KBM-101. Source: morozovkmdb.com

Modularity Items Shared by Both Upgrades

The appliqué armor and stand-off armor panels were both designed to be easily removable if damaged and replaced with new panels in less than an hour. The armor modules could be even substituted by new types of armored modules if the need arose to update the add-on armor kit.

The ease of removing panels would also be useful in peaceful times. The crews could train without the armor modules, thus saving on weight, which in turn minimized fuel consumption and wear and tear.

As an alternative to the Varta soft-kill APS, the vehicle could be equipped only with Linkey-SPZ Optronic Countermeasure Systems.

When the LWR detected an enemy laser beam pointed at the MBT, it automatically launched a smoke grenade to hide the tank behind a smokescreen.

The laser beam detecting receivers of the Linkey-SPZ on the T-55AGM prototype. Source: wikipedia.org

The smoke launchers could be equipped with 81 mm smoke grenades that were a Ukrainian copy of the Soviet 81 mm 3D6 smoke grenades. This old grenade only covered the tank from optical sights. The GD-1 aerosol grenades were adopted by Ukraine against thermal sights, similar to the Russian 3D17 smoke grenades.

On both the T-62AG and T-62AGM upgrades, the engine, transmission, cooling system, and other parts were easily removable as a whole by the crew with a crane and substituted with a new one to put the tank again in combat in the shortest possible time. To do so, the crew had to remove the tracks from the sprocket wheels and remove the engine compartment.

The T-55AGM engine compartment equipped with a 5TDFMA 1,050 hp engine. Source: Tanque Principal de Combate T-55M8A2 Tifon-2

This meant that the crew could even substitute the 850 hp engine-equipped compartment with the powerful 1,050 hp 5TDF engine-equipped compartment, making the AG and AGM upgrades more versatile.

T-62AGM Design

The T-62AGM was a further development of the T-62AG. The AGM kit was intended to be installed on T-54s, T-55s, Type 59s, and T-62s, depending on a customer’s needs. The AGM kit consisted of the upgrade of firepower, mobility, and protection modules of the Soviet-style MBTs.

Engine

Due to some additions, such as the autoloader, the weight of the AGM kit would have been higher than that of the AG by about 10 tonnes. For this reason, more powerful engines would be mounted on the vehicle.

The first option was the Ukrainian 5TDFM, with the same weight and characteristics as the 5TDF, but delivering 850 hp at 2,800 rpm. When this new engine was officially presented by the Ukrainians in September 2011 at the 8th International Exhibition of Armament, Military Equipment and Ammunition in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, it was recognized by sector experts as the best in the world in its class. Even Vladimir Putin, who visited the Exhibition, admired the Ukrainian development, considering it “promising”, as many media outlets reported.

The 5TDFM multi-fuel engine data sheet. Source: kbmia.com

The overall vehicle’s increased weight did offset the advantages of the new engine, as its speed and range remained unchanged. The 5TDF, together with its upgraded variant, could operate in external temperatures of -40° to +55°, making the upgraded MBT capable of operating in basically any location in the world.

The 5TDFMA multi-fuel engine data sheet. Source: kbmia.com

Optionally, the T-62AGM could also be equipped with the even more powerful 5TDFMA engine, also developed from the 5TDF. It developed 1,050 hp at 2,850 rpm, with a total weight of 1,080 kg. With the new powerful engine, the vehicle’s performance on and off-road increased, as did fuel consumption and the MBT’s total weight, from 50 tonnes to 50.10 tonnes.

The 5TDFMA engine, mounted on the T-55AGM prototype that weighed 46 tonnes, increased the performance of the vehicle to 78 km/h with forward gears and up to 35 km/h with reverse gears.

Ukrainian Engines
Name Weight (kg) Dimensions (mm) Power (hp) Specific Fuel Consumption (g/kWh) Fuel Consumption (diesel – l/h)
V-55V 920 Unknown 580 174 86
5TDF 1,040 1,413 × 955 × 581 700 158 96
5TDFM 850 160 118
5TDFMA 1,080 1,050 153 140

The Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau technicians underlined how modular this new upgrade was. Depending on the customer’s financial capabilities, only certain aspects could be upgraded, leaving the others unchanged. For example, only the firepower of an older T-62 could be increased by installing the autoloader and new optics, while leaving the old powertrain and protection untouched to save on costs.

Fire-Control System and Optic Device

The T-62AGM was equipped with the LIO-V Fire-Control System (FCS), the same ballistic computer produced by the Malyshev Factory in Kharkiv adopted by the Ukraninans on other upgraded MBTs, such as the upgraded T-64BV, and the T-84 Oplot.

The FCS was equipped with two rangefinders for the commander and gunner. Other subsystems are the DVE-BS anemometer and the 2E42M main gun 2-axle stabilizer.
The FCS subsystems provided the LIO-V with data on the outside temperature, air humidity, and wind speed, necessary for shooting accuracy. After receiving the inputs, the digital ballistic computer made the necessary corrections to aim the gun and provided a very high possibility of hitting the target on the first shot. The LIO ballistic computer permitted the crew to open fire with the highest chance of hitting the target while standing still or moving, against static or moving targets up to 2,000 m (over 2,000 m, it had an 80% chance to hit the target with the first shot). The tank could fire in all weather conditions, day and night.

The gunner was equipped with the 1G46M day sight. It had a two-axis stabilizer and incorporated a laser rangefinder. By changing the laser rangefinder’s frequency, the crew could use the laser beam as target designators for missile guidance capability.
The gunner’s sight was also fitted with a 2-axis stabilizer to increase precision during moving. The magnification ranged from 2.7x with a 20° field of view to 12x with a 4° field of view. The incorporated rangefinder had a minimum range of 400 m to a maximum of 5,115 m ± 10 m.

The 1G46M gunner’s day sight. This was part of the Ukrainian T-72AMT upgrade presented at DEFEXPO 2020 in India. Source: twitter.com @obiekt219

The gunner had at his disposal a night vision Buran-Catherine thermal imaging sight. The Buran-Catherine incorporated a gunner’s optronic sight and a monitor for the commander. At any moment, the commander could check on the monitor what the gunner was watching.

The Buran-Catherine sight could detect an armored vehicle at 12 km, recognize it at 5 km and identify it at 2 to 2.5 km, depending on the weather conditions during day and night.
Another FCS subsystem was the duplicate armament control for the commander. Thanks to these controls and the thermal imaging monitor for the commander, in case of necessity, the commander could override the gunner and aim and fire the main or coaxial armament. The Buran-Catherine thermal imaging sight enabled the gunner and the commander to detect and engage targets in every kind of weather condition at long range and with high accuracy. This increased the tank’s capabilities during the night or in poor visibility conditions.

The Buran-Catherine thermal imaging sight. Source: discasanave.com

The commander had at his disposal an unknown variant of the AGAT observation subsystem. It seems that the Ukrainian AGM upgrade had the AGAT PNK-5. Probably, the Ukrainian had planned to mount various kinds of commander’s periscopes, according to the customer’s requests.

The AGAT PNK-5 was an independent 3-channel panoramic periscope with a maximum magnification of 8x on the day single channel and detection range of 5,000 m and a magnification of 7.6x on the day multi-channel. In the night channel, the maximum magnification was 5.8x and the detection range was 800 m.

The AGAT PNK-5 independent panoramic periscope. Source: fuerzamilitarperu.forosactivos.net

The driver has at his disposal two TNP-165A vision hyposcopes produced by the Izyum Instrument Making Plant, with a horizontal field of view of 71° and a vertical field of view of 33°. The commander had four new TNPO-160 commander’s vision hyposcopes in his cupola, with a horizontal field of view of 78° and a vertical field of view of 28°. These substituted older Soviet models.

Autoloader

The main armament of the T-62AGM could be a 120 mm KBM-2 or a 125 mm KBM-3 smoothbore cannon. The two guns were equipped with an autoloader developed by Ukraine to be mounted in a new bustle on the T-62 turret. The number of rounds stored in the autoloader was 18, as on the T-55AGM.

The Ukrainian autoloader was displayed inside a turret bustle of a T-72. This was part of a Ukrainian upgrade presented at the DEFEXPO 2020 in India. The autoloader and other upgrades similar to the ones planned for the T-62AGM would be added to the T-72AMT. Source: twitter.com @obiekt219

The system, identical to the one of the T-55AGM, was mounted behind the gun’s breech, on a turret bustle. It had a horizontal loading carousel system and was operated by a complex digitized electrical-mechanical system with a PN-43-2SM control panel for the gunner and a PK43-2M control panel for the commander. The second panel for the commander allowed him to check the ammunition loaded in the carousel and use it in case the gunner was wounded or his systems were broken.

The 120 mm KBM-2 smoothbore gun was developed by Ukraine and presented at the DEFEXPO 2020 in India for the T-72AMT upgrade package. Source: twitter.com @obiekt219

The T-62AGM’s autoloader guaranteed a loading time between 5 to 7 seconds, depending on the ammunition position inside the carousel.

The turret bustle, composed of blow-up panels, was separated from the rest of the turret by a bulkhead with a small rounded armored door that automatically opened only when the gun needed reloading. If an enemy round hit the turret bustle, the crew would be safely protected by the bulkhead from an ammunition detonation.

Despite this, the vehicle had 21 main gun rounds and GLATGM stored in the fighting compartment.

Other Unknown Features

As they were never officially adopted by Ukraine or other nations, some systems installed on the T-62AG and T-62AGM are currently unknown.

The Varta soft-kill APS was not mounted on the prototype of the T-62AG in 2002. This would have permitted the Ukrainian technicians to save up money for further developments or to recondition abandoned T-64s.

The Ukrainian Ukroboronprom (Ukrainian Defence Industry) association of multi-product enterprises in various sectors of the defense industry of Ukraine eventually improved the vehicle. At the DEFEXPO 2020 in India, Ukroboronprom presented the T-72AMT. The new upgrade for the T-72 had new equipment, such as powerful multi-fuel engines, a new Duplet ERA, and a new Zaslin APS that substituted the Varta soft-kill APS. Despite these upgrades, it incorporated many subsystems already seen in the T-62AG, the AGM kit, and the Peruvian Typhoon-2A.

The T-72 upgrade project had the BOVT-1 Muzzle Reference System (MRS) that automatically and continuously measured the muzzle end angular position both in azimuth and elevation axes and notified the crew in case of barrel distortion. This could have been a useful upgrade, and it is standard on all of the most modern MBTs around the world.

Another unknown system is the radio apparatus that would have substituted the R-123 mounted on old Soviet versions of the T-62. Among the potential radio apparatus is the R-030U digital radio transceiver mounted on the Peruvian Typhoon-2As. It operates from 30 to 110 Mhz and has sixteen pre-programmed channels. Its maximum range is 20 to 25 km. It sends and receives coded data transmission systems compatible with all NATO standard equipment.

Similarly, the radio apparatus could also have been an R-173M, the upgraded version of the R-173 radio mounted on the T-62M, adopted on the T-62AG prototype. It operated from 30.0 to 79.9 Mhz. It had ten pre-programmed channels and a maximum range of 20 km with a 3 m long antenna. This simple and cheap radio produced by the Ternopol Radio Plant weighed just 43 kg and operated without problems at any temperature between -50°C to +50°C.

The intercom system was based on the AVSK-1 equipment, with a terminal for ShSh-1 helmets for each crew member and an external fourth terminal for infantry that cooperated with the tank.

In addition, on other Ukrainian upgrades, such as the T-72AG and Typhoon-2A, a GPS Satellite Navigation System model TIUS-NM is present. This system is located in the turret, close to the commander, and provides his position with great accuracy as well as that of other allied vehicles. There is no information if it was equipped on either the T-62AG or T-62AGM projects. This system facilitated the control of friendly forces on the battlefield, which is very important when enemy forces are nearby, at night, or in adverse weather conditions (fog, rain, etc.). The system also allowed it to transmit coded information about its location to friendly forces.

The T-72AMT could be equipped with two types of Auxiliary Power Units (APUs), depending on the necessities of the customer. The previous Ukrainian upgrades were most likely equipped with an APU, even if the exact model is not known. The Typhoon-2A was probably equipped with the 8 kW EA-8 auxiliary power unit mounted in the engine compartment.

Unfortunately, many sources confuse the T-55AGM kit and the Typhoon-2A MBT-specific items. For example, on the AGM upgrade, an AGAT PKN-5 independent panoramic periscope was planned, while, on the Typhoon-2A, the commander’s optic is an AGAT PKN-4S.

The last and most significant upgrade on the T-55AGM, Typhoon-2A, and T-72AMT was to the suspension. Thanks to the new transmission and more powerful engine, the MBTs are now able to overcome higher obstacles and steeper slopes, both forward and in reverse.

In the AGM kit for the T-55, the suspension is also equipped with modern shock absorbers and new torsion bars that provide a much smoother ride. Three return rollers, which further dampen vibration, particularly when moving over rough terrain, were added. The old Soviet RMSh or OMSh single-pin all-iron links have been replaced by new, wider Western-style two-pin rubber padded tracks. This, in addition to the modified suspension, further improves the vehicle’s performance by reducing noise and vehicle ground pressure per cm³.

Failed Export

As Ukraine’s Narodna Armiya military gazette and some Western sources confirmed, in mid-2009, an upgrade of the T-62 was proposed to the Egyptian High Command.

The War Production Ministry of the Egyptian Republic organized a tender for the upgrade of some of its older military hardware, such as T-62 MBTs, OT-62 TOPAS amphibious APCs, and OT-64 wheeled APCs. The tender was attended by several countries, including Russia and Ukraine, and finished on 14th December 2009 with the Ukrainian victory.

The Russian Federation attacked the Egyptian decision in its mass media, claiming that the copyrights on the T-62 tank upgrades allegedly belonged to the Uralvagonzavod Tank Plant and that, consequently, the Ukrainian Kharkiv Plant had no legal right to upgrade Soviet-era armaments.

A contract was agreed between the War Production Ministry of the Egyptian Republic and Ukrainian Special Export (Ukrspecexport), a Ukrainian state-owned arms trading company, part of the state conglomerate of the Ukrainian Defense Industry. The contract included the upgrade of 200 Egyptian OT-62 TOPAS and 200 Egyptian T-62 MBTs. Egypt and Ukraine probably signed a contract to upgrade the T-62s with the AGM kit. Even if the sources do not mention the exact upgrade proposed to Egypt, it is clear that the work would have taken place in Ukraine. It seems strange that a nation like Egypt, with several armored vehicle repair and production facilities and skilled workers, did not independently mount the AG. The AG kit was developed by KMDB to be mounted on the tank in 20 days by a team of six workers, anywhere in the world. Based on that, it can be assumed that Egypt opted for the T-62AGM to be mounted in Ukraine, given the difficult modifications to the turret due to the automatic loader and new optics.

The Ukrainian T-62AG after 2002. It was probably reconditioned with new camouflage to participate in the Egyptian tender in 2009. Source: reddit.com u/patriot-renegade

The first batch of Egyptian OT-62s was shipped to the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau and started to be upgraded in July 2010. It was planned to deliver the first upgraded vehicles in mid-2011. Nothing is known about the T-62s, which would probably have been upgraded after the OT-62s, but it seems none ever arrived in Ukraine.

The start of the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world from late 2010 until 2012, affected the planned upgrade. Heavy protests started in Egypt in early 2011 and forced president Hosni Mubarak to stand down in February of the same year. After political turmoil, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became the new president, taking power following a coup. He canceled the Ukrainian conversion of the T-62s because Egypt was no longer interested in T-62 upgrades.

The Ukrainians offered the vehicle again in early December 2018 at the Egyptian Defense Exhibition 2018 (EDEX-2018) at the International Exhibition Centre in Cairo. Ukroboronprom offered a T-62 equipped with 6TD-2 diesel engines.

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has put a hold on any Ukrainian T-62 upgrade exports.

Conclusion

Unfortunately for the Ukrainian industry, the T-62AGM and T-62AG did not arouse any interest in the overseas market when they appeared in the early 2000s. The success gained by the T-55AGM, adopted with some modifications by the Peruvian Army with the name Typhoon-2A, made some people consider a comeback of the project. As this never happened, not a single T-62AG or T-62AGM was ever produced, except the prototypes, and their fate is unknown today.

T-62AG prototype with 2002 camouflage. Illustration done by Ardhya ‘Vesp’ Anargha, funded by our Patreon campaign
What-if of the T-62AGM with three-tone digit camouflage. Illustration done by Ardhya ‘Vesp’ Anargha, funded by our Patreon campaign

T-62AG and AGM Specification

T-62AG T-62AGM with 5TDFM T-62AGM with 5TDFMA
Size (L-W-H) 10.200 x 2.640 x 2.395 m
Weight, battle ready 39.5 tonnes in both 120 mm and 125 mm variant 50 tonnes in both 120 mm and 125 mm variant 50.1 tonnes in both 120 mm and 125 mm variant
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader and driver) 3 (commander, gunner, and driver)
Engine 5TDF multi-fuel engine delivering 700 hp at 2,800 rpm 5TDFM multi-fuel engine delivering 850 hp at 2,800 rpm 5TDFMA multi-fuel engine delivering 1,050 hp at 2,850 rpm
Speed 65 km/h 60 km/h ~ 75 km/h
Range ~ 500 km ~ 500 km ~ 450 km
Main Armament 120 mm KBM-2 or 125 mm KBM-1 smoothbore guns with 35 rounds 120 mm KBM-2 or 125 mm KBM-1 smoothbore guns with 34 rounds
Secondary Armament 1 KT-7.62 medium machine gun with 2,500 rounds and a KT-12.7 with 450 rounds
Armor Rolled Homogeneous Armor with ERA blocks
Production 1 prototype

Sources

Desarrollos Industriales Casanave SA Latin America Associate

https://www.kyivpost.com/post/7951

Worldwide Tank Fire Control Systems – Directorate of Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency

http://www.army-guide.com/

https://www.pmulcahy.com/tanks/ukrainian_tanks.html

sdtb.kiev.ua

https://www.kyivpost.com/post/7951

https://web.archive.org/web/20151222143334/http://interfax.com.ua/news/economic/43065.html

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2010/08/20/Ukraine-to-upgrade-Egyptian-Soviet-era-T-62-tanks/51511282327267/

https://web.archive.org/web/20151222114615/http://www.morozovkmdb.com/rus/body/t62.php

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