NATO member Slovenia has decided to deliver upgraded T-55 tanks to Ukraine, also known as M-55S.
Thus, the old man T-55 will have the opportunity to once again prove his strength on the battlefield. According to information published by Kyiv Independent on October 29, 2022, Slovenia sent its M-55S tanks to Ukraine as part of military aid.
Earlier, Germany and Slovenia agreed to send 28 M-55S tanks of the Slovenian army to Ukraine in exchange for German military vehicles. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Slovenia has delivered to Ukraine many weapons including Zastava M70 assault rifles, ammunition, helmets and 35 M80A armored vehicles among others. Slovenia’s M-55S is a modernized version from the classic T-55 series, its features are considered to be much superior to the original.
In 1999, Slovenia decided to extensively modernize its 30 M-55 tanks, or T-55s, to the M-55S standard. Accordingly, the 100 mm caliber D-10TS2 cannon was replaced by the 105 mm L7 cannon combined with the 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun. The tank retains the 12.7 mm heavy machine gun on the top of the turret for anti-aircraft and anti-infantry.
The hull and the turret of the M-55S are fitted with Explosive Reactive Armor mounted to the frontal arc of the turret, glacis plate, and upper hull sides. The upper part of the suspension is protected by a five-part rubber skirt providing protection against High Explosive Anti-Tank warheads before they hit the main armor of the vehicle.
A new computerized fire-control system is installed in the M-55S MBT allowing the engagement of stationary and moving targets with a high first-round hit probability while the tank itself is stationary or moving. The gunner has the Slovenian Fontana SGS-55 two-axis stabilized sight with a laser range-finder which feeds information to the fire-control computer. The tank is also fitted with a Slovenian COMTOS-55 commander’s take-over set, which enables him to override the gunner and carry out target tracking, ranging, target selection, and fire the main gun or coaxial machine gun.
The M-55S is motorized with a new powerpack consisting of a new 600 hp Diesel engine and replaces the V-12 water-cooled diesel developing 580 hp of the original T-55. The tank can run at a maximum road speed of 50 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km. Although it has less firepower than tanks with 125 mm guns, in return the M-55S has the advantage of accuracy thanks to the integration of advanced Israeli electronics. The receipt of M-55S tanks may be a premise for Ukraine to receive some NATO tanks with 105 mm guns. In the future, in addition to the M-55S tank, Ukraine may receive more Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks from Germany or other NATO members.