Situated in the heart of the Caucasus region, the Armenian Armed Forces serve as a remarkable testament to the nation’s unwavering resilience and strategic acumen. Within their impressive arsenal, five main battle tanks have emerged as exemplars of power, durability, and technological advancement. These tanks, namely the T-90, T-72, T-80, T-62, and T-55, each possess distinct capabilities and boast rich histories that contribute significantly to Armenia’s defence strategy.
Armenia’s Top 5 Tanks
The T-90, a third-generation main battle tank, hails from Russia and was created as a successor to the T-72. It was introduced to the Russian army in 1992 and has since gained global recognition for its impressive firepower, superior mobility, and robust protection. The tank is equipped with a 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore main gun, an upgraded engine, the 1A45T fire-control system, and a thermal sight for the gunner. Its standard protective measures include a blend of steel and composite armour, smoke grenade dischargers, Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armour, and the Shtora infrared anti-tank guided missile jamming system. The T-90 was designed and built by Uralvagonzavod, located in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, and has been deployed in various conflicts, including the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.
The T-72, a main battle tank designed by the Soviet Union, commenced production in 1969. It was created as an improvement over the T-62, with a focus on reducing the size of the hull. Equipped with a V12 liquid-cooled, four-stroke multi-fuel diesel engine that generates 840 hp, the T-72 boasts a planetary transmission with a hydraulic servo-control system, RMSH track running gear, and torsion bar suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers. On road surfaces, this tank can achieve a speed of 60 km/h, while on dry earth roads, it can reach up to 35 km/h. The T-72 has been widely exported and has been utilized in 40 countries and various conflicts. Among the most advanced versions is the T-72B3, which Armenia operates as part of its tank fleet. In order to enhance its defence capabilities and address concerns regarding potential regional conflicts, Armenia is collaborating with India to leverage its expertise in modernizing Soviet and Russian defence equipment and integrating them with Western systems.
The T-80, a main battle tank manufactured in the former Soviet Union, was developed based on the T-64 and incorporated features from the T-72. It introduced a gas turbine engine, making it the first production tank to be powered solely by a turbine when it entered service in 1976. With its gasoline turbine engine, the T-80 can achieve a ground speed of over 40 miles per hour. Equipped with the Kobra missile system, it is capable of firing anti-tank missiles through its 125mm smoothbore gun. As the last main battle tank produced by the Soviet Union, the T-80 boasted a gas turbine engine, enabling it to reach a top road speed of 70 kilometres per hour and a power-to-weight ratio of 25.8 horsepower per ton. These features made the standard T-80B one of the most agile tanks of the 1980s.
The T-62, a Soviet medium tank, was initially introduced in 1961 as an advancement of the T-55 series. It maintained several design elements from its predecessor, such as a low profile and thick turret armor. However, it differed from previous tanks by being equipped with a smoothbore tank gun, enabling it to fire APFSDS rounds at higher velocities. Powering the T-62 is a V-55 12-cylinder 4-stroke one-chamber 38.88-liter water-cooled diesel engine, capable of generating 581 hp (433 kW) at 2,000 rpm. It boasts a maximum speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) on roads and 40 km/h (25 mph) off-road. Despite becoming the standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, the T-62 did not completely replace the T-55 in export markets due to its higher manufacturing costs and maintenance requirements. While successor states of the Soviet Union introduced newer tank models, the T-62 remained in reserve within the former USSR and continued to be utilized by other nations on the frontlines.
The T-55, a Soviet medium tank, was initially introduced in 1958 as an upgrade to the T-54 series. It boasted several modifications that set it apart from its predecessor, including NBC protection and a new engine. The V-55 V-12 water-cooled diesel engine, which generates 580 horsepower, powers the T-55. It can reach a maximum speed of 51 km/h (32 mph). Despite being one of the oldest main battle tanks in the world, the T-55 remains in service in many countries due to its simplicity, durability, and affordability. Its firepower, protection, and speed were sufficient to match the life expectancy of a single tank in operations, making it the most cost-effective main battle tank to date, with more exports than any other modern tank in history.