Home Military Is Russia really upgrading 800 T-62 tanks?

Is Russia really upgrading 800 T-62 tanks?

The 103rd armoured repair facility, based in the Trans-Baikal Territory has just received a major order to repair and upgrade 800 armoured vehicles, including T-62s. Tanks are not just being repaired but modernised. They will be equipped with night sights, modern thermal imagers, protection, hinged armour, aft protection against grenade launchers. T-62s are included in the order for 800 units, but their proportion is by no means 100 per cent. It was decided 3 years in advance.

Modernization option for the T-62M from the 103rd BTRZ at the Army-2022 forum
Modernization option for the T-62M from the 103rd BTRZ at the Army-2022 forum

Russia – Ukraine conflict is rife with speculations, and one among them is Russia upgrading mind boggling 800 T-62 tanks. 

The news source of the horde of 800 modernised T-62 tanks is the official telegram channel of State Duma delegate Andrey Gurulyov.

The 103rd armoured repair facility, based in the Trans-Baikal Territory, has just received a major order to repair and upgrade 800 armoured vehicles, including T-62s. As a former vice-chairman of the administration of the Trans-Baikal Territory and part-time general, Gurulyov chose to determine on the spot what the factory and its workers needed, how to assist, etc. Obviously, he travelled there. Subsequently, the post surfaced on his channel.

It includes two videos with T-62M towers and hulls, as well as the deputy speaking with factory employees regarding equipment losses. In particular, he mentions good feedback from the front lines of special operations on these tanks and requests that they tighten up the work on them.

Here are the key takeaways from the video –

The company works in two shifts, and it is ready to work in three. They need help in this, or it will not work out otherwise, as there is a lot of work. The entire industry is mobilised because the plant cannot work alone. They need suppliers for spare parts which come from all over Russia. Tanks are not just being repaired but modernised. The T-62s will be equipped with night sights, modern thermal imagers, protection, hinged armour, protection against javelins, aft protection against grenade launchers will be fundamentally enhanced. With a modernised tank, it will be worthy on the battlefield because Russia still has to fight for a long time.

Gurulyov asserts that the armoured vehicles coming to the facility will not only be repaired but will also be modernised. He uses T-62s as an illustration of modernisation.

T-62 tank in the 103rd armoured repair facility video screenshot

It is not known if all 800 tanks will be T-62s. The deputy just pointed them out from the multitude of tanks and other equipment as an illustration of the fact that the facility not only fixes equipment but also enhances its fighting capabilities.

The Russian Federation representative to the State Duma did not specify which tank types were being repaired, citing only the T-62, which would be equipped with “new thermal imagers, night sights,” as well as better protection — “mounted armour against javelins, wrote Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official mouthpiece of the Russian government. They did not talk about almost a thousand modernised T-62s, but they considered in great detail a possible option for refining these machines, the paper added.

T-62 repair is one of the 103rd’s primary areas of expertise. The company has had access to this technology since the Soviet era. They will be updated there, logically. In addition to these tanks, the unit is adept at working on other vehicles, like T-72 tanks and light armoured vehicles. There is little question that T-62s are included in the order for 800 units, but their proportion is by no means 100 per cent – as it is the entire quantity of equipment for which construction was planned three years in advance.

Is the T-62 modernisation project developed exclusively for Special Operations?

The T-62s have been in the mobilisation reserve for over 11 years, meaning they have not been abandoned. These tanks, mostly in storage locations in eastern Russia, are still maintained in an acceptable technical state. More than three years ago, UralVagonZavod reported the fabrication of new 115-mm cannon barrels had been initiated. In addition, references were made in the media about the manufacture of shells.

And since there are military equipment, projects for their modernisation was also be proposed. As per the proposal, the company that will implement it will receive funding, and the tanks, if they are not going to be written off, will improve their combat effectiveness.

One of the last mentions of a modernised tank from the 103rd was in the fall of 2021 when the tank was shown at one of the shows. There is also a mast with a multispectral module in the form of a thermal imager, a near-range IR camera and a laser rangefinder. There is also dynamic protection and a thermal imaging sight-rangefinder at the gunner. Everything is in the best traditions of any tank factory in any country: to exhibit your new product in the “expensive-rich” style and then bargain with the customer – starting from the top price ceiling is always profitable.

Nonetheless, the order to modernise the T-62 was never given, to which special operations contributed significantly. Even one serially produced tank of this sort has not yet been seen. However, it looks like the project will undergo considerable modifications. They will probably forsake the mast with a multispectral module because it is too costly. In addition to the rest, they will install a “visor” on the roof to protect against anti-tank missiles like Javelins and outfit the tank’s frontal projections with dynamic protection.

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