|Manufacturer:||VOP 025 Novy Jicin, s.p.|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Modernization of the vehicle|
Caliber Prague Limited of the Czech Republic is offering for export the upgraded T-55 series MBT, designated the T-55AM2.
This upgrade incorporates most of the improvements carried out some years ago to some T-55 MBTs operated by the former Warsaw Pact (see T-54/T-55 entry) with the exception of the ability to fire the Russian-designed and built 100 mm laser-guided projectile.
This upgrade retains the 100 mm rifled tank gun but has been improved in the key areas of armour, mobility and firepower.
Additional armour has been fitted to the hull and turret to provide for increased protection against mines and anti-tank guided missiles.
Other modifications include improvements allowing for more accurate firing, in the dynamic and driving qualities of the vehicle, the engine cooling and an increase in protection of the crew from the effects of mines, anti-tank guided missiles and missiles launched from low-flying aircraft and helicopters.
The key areas of modification can be summarised as follows:
- TOH - thermal protection of the gun barrel The installation of a thermal sleeve enhances shooting accuracy and protects the gun barrel against temperature changes which may cause warping or bending of the barrel.
- DOK - improved protection of the chassis Mounted on the glacis plate is a block of special passive armour that provides an increase in armour protection against attack by anti-tank guided missiles with a HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) warhead.
- DOV - improved protection for the turret The turret front and sides have been strengthened by mounting semicircular blocks of passive armour of a special mass which protects against missiles fitted with a HEAT warhead.
- ZOD - improved bottom resistance The area below the driver's position has been fitted with additional armour protection against mines.
- BOK - lateral chassis protection The fuel tanks and maintenance equipment mounted on the running board on either side of the chassis, just above the suspension, have been fitted with a vertical flap for increased protection against missiles.
- SODA - protection against the effects of napalm-type inflammable warfare agents
The exterior of the vehicle has been improved against inflammable agents. This refers to numerous modifications in the design of vulnerable external parts of the vehicle.
- TUCA - electric firing of grenades
Mounted on either side of the turret rear is a bank of 81 mm electrically operated smoke grenade launchers that fire over the frontal arc of the T-55AM2.
- ZVM - enhanced engine output
Modifications have been made to the diesel engine, for example changes in the angle of pre-injection and changes in aspiration and exhaust piping have enhanced engine output up to 610 hp.
- ZVJ - improvement of suspension
To improve cross-country mobility, modifications have been made to the suspension including adjustments of the torsion bars, the rocker arms and the shock-absorber levers. In addition new torsion bars have been fitted.
- KPS - tracks with rubber-metallic joint
The life of the tracks has been almost doubled by replacing the original all-metal tracks by tracks with rubber-metallic joint. Track guidance has been improved by the addition of a guiding pulley on the rear driving sprocket.
- Barrels - additional fuel drums
To increase the operational range of the T-55AM2, permanent connection of additional fuel drums to the fuel delivery system has been made.
This is based on a modified T-55 MBT chassis.
This is also referred to as the MT-55A ARV and is fitted with a main winch with a capacity of 25,000 kg, an auxiliary winch with a capacity of 800 kg, a crane with a maximum lifting capacity of 1,500 kg and a front-mounted dozer/stabiliser blade.
VOP 25, the leading upgrade facility in the Czech Republic, is now marketing an upgrade packageforthe T-54/T-55 which is called Cancer 55 (Zenijni Tank 2 Generace - Pioneer Tank of the Second Generation).
The 100 mm gun has been removed and the position plated over. On the right side of the turret roof has been fitted a hydraulically operated crane.
The crane can be fitted with various attachments to carry out specific operations, for example, a shovel with a maximum capacity of 0.6 cubic metres.
To the immediate left of the crane has been fitted a raised commander's cupola with observation devices, single-piece roof hatch that opens to the rear and a roof mounted 12.7 mm machine gun.
Mounted at the front of the vehicle is a hydraulically operated dozer blade designated NBZ 90 which is controlled by the driver and has a maximum capacity, depending on soil conditions, of up to 220 m3/h.
Prototypes of a number of specialised civilian conversions of T-54/T-55 MBT chassis have been completed including the SDS-214 special construction machine with crane and various firefighting vehicles.
Several years ago the then Czechoslovak Army started to field modernised T-55s in significant numbers as insufficient T-72s were being built to replace the older tanks on a one-for-one basis.
The modifications included full-length track skirts which cover the upper part of the track, a thermal sleeve for the 100 mm gun, additional passive armour protection covering the frontal 180° of this turret (this being very similar to that fitted to Soviet T-62 tanks), 12.7 mm ammunition boxes stowed externally on the right side of the turret and a bank of forward-firing smoke grenade dischargers installed on the right side of the turret to the immediate rear of the turret armour. Lateral protection is also provided for the fuel tanks on either side of the hull above the roadwheels.
To improve the first round hit probability of the 100 mm gun, a new fire-control system has been fitted which includes a laser range-finder mounted externally over the 100 mm gun, a ballistic computer and a meteorological sensor which is mounted on the turret roof at the rear. Most of these improvements are identical to those currently being offered on the export upgraded T-55AM2 MBT.
To improve the battlefield survivability of the widely deployed T-54/T-55 MBTs, a Czech Republic consortium is now marketing an explosive reactive armour (ERA) package.
This consortium includes VOP 025 Novy Jicin armoured vehicle facility, Vyzkumny R Zkusebni Ustav PV 010 and Synthesia who supply the actual explosive element. This Czech-designed ERA package is quite different to that fitted to some Russian T54/T-55 series MBTs.
The ERA armour system for The T-55 comprises ERA boxes and panels attached to the glacis plate, both sides of the tank turret, left and right mud guards and the upper part forward and between the commander's and loader's roof hatches.
Extensive trials in the Czech Republic of a T-55A series tank fitted with this ERA package showed the following:
(1)A 100 to 200 per cent increase in protection against hand held anti-tank weapons and missiles whose penetration effect is more than 650 mm
(2)Increase of 250 to 300 per cent in protection against shaped charge sub-munitions of the top attack type
(3)Increase of 100 to 140 per cent against artillery shaped charge projectiles
(4)It was also evident that there was some increase in ballistic protection against sub-calibre armour piercing projectiles