The Type 62 Tank is a Cold War era Chinese Light Tank. It is a scaled down version of the Type 59 Medium Tank, giving it improved mobility and the ability to work and operate in the rugged/mountain terrains of China where other tanks could not.
AKA “WZ131” it was upgraded with additional equipment such as a laser range finder mounted over the main gun. The most modern version was the Type 62G.
However It is no longer in Chinese PLA service (Peoples Liberation Army), but is still operated by less affluent nations.
Type 62 Tank Development
The development of a light tank capable of accessing the rugged/mountain terrains of China impassable to the heavier Type 59 began at Factory 674 (Harbin First Machinery Building Group Ltd) in 1958. The first prototype was completed in 1959 and designated the Type 59-16.
The new tank, weighing 16 tons, was equipped with a four-wheel torsion-bar suspension and a rear placement of the drive wheel, and mounted a 57mm main gun (later upgraded to 76mm).
This was further developed into the WZ-131 or rather Type 62. It was accepted into PLA service in 1962 and production began in 1963.
Type 62 Tank Firepower
The Type 62 main gun is the 85mm rifled Type 62-85TC. 47 rounds are stowed in the vehicle, ranging from Armored Piercing, HE and HEAT. The main gun can be elevated from -4 to +20 degrees. The vehicle was later upgraded with a 105mm main gun.
Type 62 Tank Protection
The vehicle is constructed of steel and overall is thinner than the Type 59. It is estimated that the hull armour is 35mm and the cast turret is 50mm over the frontal arc. Later models received a new welded turret and capable of having Explosive Reactive Armour added.
The vehicle is capable of generating a smoke screen by injecting diesel in to the hot exhaust, whilst upgraded models were fitted with a bank of smoke grenade launchers on either side of the turret.
Type 62 Tank Mobility
The Type 62 is powered by a 430hp diesel engine. It uses torsion bar suspension with singular road wheels to reduce weight. The vehicles low weight increased the vehicles over-all power to weight ratio, improving its acceleration and climbing abilities.
Type 62-I Tank
The Type 62-I (aka WZ-131A) was the first major upgrade of the Type 62 tank. It had a number of upgrades, most noticeable is the Laser Range Finder mounted above the main gun, shield mounted around the 12.7mm Machine Gun mounted on the Loaders hatch and smoke grenade launchers on either side of the turret front.
Some were also spotted later on with side skirts on the hull and a storage rack on the turret.
Type 62G Tank
The Type 62G was the most modern model of the Type 62. It had a new welded turret constructed of flat angled panels, which replaced the original cast steel egg-shaped turret. Stowage baskets were also added to the new turrets rear sides and a bank of Smoke Grenade Launchers were fitted to either side of the turret front.
The 85mm main gun was replaced with a new 105mm Main Gun, which can be identified by its Fume Extractor in the middle of the barrel. A new vertical stabilization system, modern fire-control system, and night vision equipment was also installed as standard.
Type 62 Tank Operators
It served in the 1979 Sino-Vietnam border conflict, which resulted in heavy losses. It is no longer in PLA service, but is still operated by less affluent nations.
Albania – 35 ordered in 1970, delivered in 1971, now Retired
Bangladesh – 36 ordered in 1984 and delivered in 1985
Cambodia –20 ordered in 1977 from PRC and delivered in 1978
China – Retired in 2013
Democratic Republic of Congo – Status Unknown
North Korea – Status Unknown
Mali – 18 ordered in 1980 and delivered in 1981
Sudan – 70 ordered in 1970 and delivered by 1973
Tanzania – 66 including 30 ordered in 1969 and delivered by 1972
Vietnam – In service
Type 62 Tank Specifications
|Main Gun||85mm Rifled Type 62-85TC
Elevation -4 to +20
|Secondary Weapons||x1 coaxial 7.62mm|
|Ammunition Storage||x47 85mm, x2,000 7.62mm|
|Top Road Speed||60 km/h|
|Road Range||500 km|
|Side Slope||30% (?)|
|Length Gun Forward||7.9m|
|Weight||21,000kg aka 21 tonne combat|
|Active Protection Systems||No|