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The T-62 is a further step in the line of development begun with the T-54/55 series, entering production in 1961 and remaining in production until 1975. It became the standard main battle tank in Soviet tank and motorized rifle units, gradually replacing the T-54 and T-55. The T-62A variant first appeared in 1970. By the 1980s it was replaced by the new generation T-64/T-72/T-80 tanks as the first-line Soviet main battle tank.
The T-62 was manufactured in three gigantic plants at Nizhny Tagil, Omsk and Kharkov.
The T-62 medium tank has a fully tracked, five-road wheeled chassis with close spaces between the three front road wheels and large gaps separating the third, fourth, and fifth road wheels. The drive sprocket is at the rear and the idler at the front, and there are no track return rollers. The rounded turret, mounted over the third road wheel, is more smoothly cast and more nearly egg-shaped than that of the T-54/55 series. The commander's cupola on the left is cast with the turret and not bolted on as in the case of the T-54/55. The loader's hatch on the right is also located farther forward.
The 115-mm smoothbore main gun has a longer and thinner tube than the 100-mm gun of the T-54/55, and its bore evacuator is located about two-thirds of the way up the gun tube from the turret. There is also a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun, and model T-62A also mounts a 12.7-mm antiaircraft machine gun at the loader's hatch position.
A gunner's IR searchlight is mounted on the right above the main gun, and a smaller IR searchlight is mounted on the commander's cupola. The driver's hatch is located in front of the turret on the left side of the flat, low-silhouetted hull.