Monday, February 10, 2020

Tanker's Tuesday: IT-122, or SU-122-54

Also known under designation IT-122, the SU-122-54 was based on the T54 chassis. Developed started in 1949, with a goal to design a long-range tank destroyer. Between 1955 and 1957, 77 vehicles were built with minor differences between production lots (different commander's cupola etc.). The SU-122-54 had a modified T-54 chassis, with small spaces between the first, second and fourth pair of wheels and a large gap between the third, similar to the T-62's and a superstructure, built into the hull, housing the 122 mm M-62-T gun for which the vehicle carries 32 rounds. The secondary armament consisted of two KPVT heavy machine guns, one mounted as an anti-aircraft machine gun near the commander's hatch and the other mounted coaxially with the main gun. The vehicle carried 600 rounds for the machine guns. The main gun has a fume extractor positioned right behind the muzzle brake, although some vehicles were built without fume extractor. Other variations included a different commander's copula. The SU-122-54 was rarely observed during its service life in the 1950s and early 1960s and became generally known only after ARV versions (designated TOP) were seen during Red Square parades during the 1970s with the armament removed and the front glacis plated over. In 1954 the SU-122-54 was experimentally tested with a more powerful 122mm M-62S tank gun, but this version did not reach series production


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