It became known that Slovenia is transferring 28 of its own M-55S tanks to Ukraine. It seems that not long ago we were mocking Russian T-62 captured by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and now we are getting even older vehicles, the production of which began… in 1947. This is true, but, as they say, there is a nuance.
The M-55S is actually a modernization of the Soviet T-55 tank, the first tank of the Cold War, but it was carried out in the late 1990s and in general, the M-55S is a completely different vehicle.
The T-54/55 is a Soviet medium tank, not even a main battle tank, which weighs only 36 tons. And it is also the most mass-produced tank in history. Since 1947, more than 100,000 such cars have been produced! For example, most of the Soviet tanks during the Afghan war were T-54/55. This tank was manufactured in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and China (Type-59/69/79). Of course, the former Warsaw Pact countries and their successors have many tanks of this type, which some of them tried to modernize. Among such countries was Slovenia, which converted its T-55s to M-55S in the late 1990s. There were a total of 30 such tanks and they entered the army in 1999.
The M-55S is significantly different from its predecessor. The tank received a new gun – a 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 with a thermal insulation jacket, one of the most successful tank guns of all time. The tower and hull were covered with additional reactive armor, which even changed the silhouette of the tank, bringing it closer to modern ones. The M-55S received a digital ballistic computer and gun stabilization, a Fotona SGS-55 sight with a laser rangefinder, a Fotona COMTOS-55 commander’s sight, an improved engine, and new rubber-metal tracks, and even a LIRD-1A laser radiation detector linked to the smoke grenade launcher IS-6.
Yes, it’s not a Leopard 2A7+ or an M1A2 Abrams, but such a tank will come in handy while we’re still waiting for modern western tanks. So thank you, Slovenia!
By the way, it’s been reported that the transfer of modern tanks to Ukraine is already being considered, but we still have to wait.
“Tanks are “absolutely on the table” for the US to provide to Ukraine in the future, according to a senior US military official, but are not an option for the immediate fight because of issues with training, maintenance, and sustainment,” writes CNN.
We want to believe that it is meant that as soon as our military and technicians are trained, we will have both Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams. So let’s be patient.
Specifications of the M-55S medium tank
Weight – 38 tons
Length – 2390 mm
Width (with side protection) – 3500 mm
Height – 2390 mm
Ground clearance – 440 mm
Armor – rolled armor up to 100 mm, reactive armor
Crew – 4
Armament – 105 mm L7 gun (36 rounds), 7.62 mm machine gun (2800 rounds), 12 mm machine gun (250 rounds)
Engine – diesel V-12
Power – 800 hp. (600 kW)
Maximum speed – 50 km/h