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A T-55 For The 21st Century
by James Dunnigan
November 4, 2010

Peru has received the first of the 300 upgraded T-55 tanks is plans to buy from Ukrainian firm Morozov. The upgrade is called the Tifon (Typhoon) 2, was designed by a Peruvian firm, and  includes a new, 1,050 horsepower engine. There is a new turret, with a 125mm gun, modern fire control electronics (including a thermal imager) and an auto-loader. There is additional armor (ceramic panels and ERA, Explosive Reactive Armor), skirts and standoff panels. There are also improvement to the running gear, to handle the greater weight (five more tons). The crew is reduced from four to three, and ammo storage for the main gun is reduced from 43 to 30 rounds. Secondary armament consists of a 12.7mm and 7.62mm machine-gun. Morozov also supplies upgraded T-55s armed with NATO type 120mm guns. Peru is replacing 300 original design T-55s, if the initial units pass user tests.

The original T-55 is a 40 ton vehicle that was the ultimate development of the World War II T-34. Armed with a 100mm gun, as well as a 14.5mm and two 7.62mm machine-guns. Over 90,000 were produced (even more than the T-34) before production ended in the 1980s. The crew of four is not well protected from anti-tank weapons, and the 100mm gun is largely useless against modern tanks. But against civilians, the T-55 has proved to be effective. Peru wants an upgraded T-55 for use against possible battles with neighbors, some of whom are armed with Leopard 2s.


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