The T-54 is a relatively common vehicle and can be found in many NK controlled areas, especially around members of the Deck of 52. It primarily appears in the first half of the game, in the Southern Province; in the later half of the game, set in the Northern Province, the T-54 appears less often and is largely replaced as the standard North Korean tank by the T-62. Although not as powerful as the T-62, the T-54 is still a very powerful vehicle, especially when accompanied by infantry or other tanks. While the T-54 is obsolete by 2005, it can pose a threat even to the most modern tanks in sufficient numbers. The best ways to engage a T-54 is to either hit it with heavy weaponry or, if possible, call in an anti-armor airstrike. If the gunner has been eliminated, the tank can also be hijacked and used by the player.
When the player destroys a T-54, $5,000 is added to their account.
The T-54 can be very useful during the first half of the game, when it is the sole main battle tank present in the field, although it is outclassed by all other main battle tanks during the later stages of the game. It is heavily armored and equipped a powerful 100mm cannon, which can blow though most enemy fortifications with relative ease. Like all heavy armor in the game, the T-54 is invulnerable to small arms fire; everything from automatic rifles to .50 caliber machine guns cannot damage it. The T-54 is also very effective against infantry and can destroy most light/medium vehicles with a single shot from its cannon. The greatest threats to a T-54 come from close air support, determined anti-tank attacks from infantry, or enemy main battle tanks.
Like all heavy armor in the game, the T-54 is NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) shielded, allowing it to operate safely within the nuclear-contaminated areas encountered on occasion in North Korea.
The T-54 is slow, even for a tank, both in terms of road and cross-country speed and turret traverse. It is slower than any other MBT in the game, and so is the least effective one to use for getting anywhere in a hurry. The slow rate at which the turret turns, and the comparitively low velocity of its main gun, mean the T-54 is often at a disadvantage on a battlefield where every other nation fields newer, better armored vehicles; the T-54 saw its day some time ago by 2005 and will often come off second-best in engagements. It is best used against lighter armored or unarmored vehicles, and will be most effective in fights where there are no hostile MBTs present.
The T-54 is the oldest main battle tank on the battlefields of North Korea, based on a design originating at the end of World War II in 1945. Engaging unarmored, lightly armored, or medium armored targets, the T-54 can hold its own well enough, but when taking on the MBTs of the Allies and China, it finds itself dangerously outclassed. North Korea has made no real effort to update or modernize its T-54s, meaning that its design is unchanged from the original and Korean People's Army soldiers manning T-54s are engaging the invaders of North Korea with a 60-year-old tank. An M1 Tank can destroy a T-54 with a single shot from its main gun; this will cause the T-54 to simply explode, giving no time for the crew to bail out. ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) fired from captured MD-500s or the AH-64 Apache will also destroy a T-54 instantly. Operators of the T-54 will be well advised to avoid combat with more modern tanks if possible, while operators of other MBTs present in North Korea will have little to worry about when engaging this obsolete tank.
The T-54 is based on the Soviet T-54 main battle tank. It was the USSR's first MBT, with its design beginning at the end of World War II; it was intended as the replacement to the famous T-34. The first T-54 prototype appeared in 1945; it entered full production in 1947, the same year as the AK-47 assault rifle was adopted. The T-54 was produced from 1946 to 1981 in the USSR, and licensed copies were made in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and in the People's Republic of China it was copied and made as the Type 69/79, and later as the Type 80/88. While the T-54 only appears in-game, it actually has a modernized, near-identical counterpart called the T-55, which contained such improvements on the original design as a revolving turret floor (previously, crewmen in the turret had to reposition on their own as the turret moved). A T-55 is nearly indistinguishable from a T-54, however, especially since many T-54 tanks have been retrofitted with the T-55's improvements.
The T-54/55 inspired the development of the American-made M60 Patton main battle tank, and was fielded by every member state of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, as well as by North Korea. It has been modernized and modified many times and continues to serve around the world despite the age of its design. The T-54 has many characteristics as a tank that resemble the AK-47 as a rifle; it is durable, reliable, easy to use and cheap to manufacture and maintain. This makes it an ideal choice, even in 2016, for nations that cannot afford better, more modern tanks or are unable to train the crews needed for more complex MBTs.
The real-life T-54 has a crew of four: driver, loader, gunner, commander. It weighs 36 tons, has a top speed of 30 miles per hour, and uses a water-cooled V-12 diesel engine producing 500-800 horsepower, varying between older and newer versions.