TechOld Russian tanks head to Ukraine as improvised armour emerges

Old Russian tanks head to Ukraine as improvised armour emerges

Russian T-62 and T-62M on their way to Ukraine
Russian T-62 and T-62M on their way to Ukraine
Images source: © Telegram, Andrij Tsaplienko
Mateusz Tomczak

17 June 2024 10:08

On social media, recordings and photos emerged showing the transport of Russian tanks towards Ukraine. It was quickly noticed that these were very old T-62 and T-62M tanks, augmented with simple, improvised armour. According to the Russians, we explain the capabilities of these tanks and what the additional elements are intended to protect against.

The transport was spotted in the Kemerovo Oblast. This is not the first time it has been confirmed that the Russians are bringing in reinforcements, even from the farthest reaches of their country. Often, as of now, they pull very old equipment out of storage, which does not significantly reinforce the units fighting in Ukraine. Ukrainians quickly captured it and equipped it with much more modern vehicles provided by NATO allies.

Russian T-62 and T-62M on their way to Ukraine

T-62 tanks are some of the oldest participating in the war in Ukraine. They were designed back in the 1960s as modernizations of the T-54 and T-55 series tanks.

T-62M variants were produced slightly later, in the 1980s. Designers applied additional composite armour modules on the turret and hull, which significantly improved durability at the time. Nowadays, the T-62M, and even more so the T-62, no longer provide safety for the crews.

This is partly why the Russians are mounting improvised shields (cage/dash) on their old tanks, as seen in the above recording. This solution, in theory, is supposed to protect against attacks carried out using FPV (first-person view) kamikaze drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles have a built-in camera (which provides live, real-time viewing until the moment of impact on the target) to which explosive charges are attached.

Even in terms of offensive capabilities, the T-62 and T-62M tanks significantly lag behind NATO tanks and even later Soviet/Russian designs. Their main armament is a 115mm smoothbore gun, whose firepower is insufficient to penetrate the armour of modern tanks. The T-62 and T-62M are also equipped with weak engines of 580 horsepower, allowing them to reach a maximum speed of about 50 kilometres per hour.

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