The T-54 and T-55 tanks are a series of Soviet main battle tanks introduced in the years following the Second World War. The first T-54 prototype was completed by the end of 1945. From the late 1950s, the T-54 eventually became the main tank for armoured units of the Soviet Army, armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and many others. T-54s and T-55s have been involved in many of the world’s armed conflicts since their introduction in the second half of the 20th century.
The T-54/55 series is the most-produced tank in history. Estimated production numbers for the series range from 96,500 to 100,000. They were replaced by the T-62, T-64, T-72, T-80 and T-90 tanks in the Soviet and Russian armies, but remain in use by up to 50 other armies worldwide, some having received sophisticated retrofitting.
During the Cold War, Soviet tanks never directly faced their NATO adversaries in combat in Europe. However, the T-54/55’s first appearance in the West around the period of the 1950s spurred the United Kingdom to develop a new tank gun, the Royal Ordnance L7, and the United States to develop the M60 Patton.
The first production version, designated T-54-1, differed from the T-54 prototype, had thicker hull armour. As production ramped up, quality problems emerged. Production was stopped and an improved T-54-2 version was designed. Several changes were made and a new turret was fitted. The new dome-shaped turret with flat sides was inspired by the turret from the IS-3 heavy tank; it is similar to the later T-54 turret but with a distinctive overhang at the rear. It also had a shorter bustle. The fender machine guns were removed in favour of a single bow-mounted machine gun. The transmission was modernised and the track was widened to 580mm. The T-54-2 entered production in 1949. In 1951, a second modernization was made, designated T-54-3, which had a new turret without side undercuts, as well as the new TSh-2-22 telescopic gunner’s sight instead of the TSh-20. The tank featured the TDA smoke generating system.
In March 1953, the T-54-3 fitted the 100mm D-10T tank gun with the STP-1 “Gorizont” vertical stabilizer, and designation as the D-10TG. The new design also received night vision equipment for the driver and was designated T-54A. Originally, this had a small muzzle counter-weight, which was later replaced with a fume extractor. It was equipped with an OPVT wading snorkel, the TSh-2A-22 telescopic sight, TVN-1 infrared driver’s periscope and IR headlight, a new R-113 radio, multi-stage engine air filter and radiator controls for improved engine performance, an electrical oil pump, a bilge pump, an automatic fire extinguisher and extra fuel tanks. The tank officially entered production in 1954 and service in 1955.
A new version, based on T-54A, designated T-54B, was designed in 1955. It was fitted with a new 100mm D-10T2S tank gun with STP-2 “Tsyklon” 2-plane stabilizer. It entered production in 1957. During the last four months of production, the new tanks were equipped with an L-2 “Luna” infrared searchlight, a TPN-1-22-11 IR gunner’s sight, and an OU-3 IR commander’s searchlight. Modern APFSDS ammunition was developed, dramatically enhancing the penetrative performance of the gun to keep it competitive with NATO armour developments.
– Choices to build a T-54-2, T-54-3, T-54-A, or T-54B MBT
– T-54B has early, mid, and late production options
– All hatches can be open or closed
– Driver hatch has an armoured windshield option
– All round detailed OMSh track links
– 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun included
– Soviet crew with post-WW2 or Cold War head gear
Product Code: 280120