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 well armed and armored as the T-62, the T-54 is still a serious threat, especially when accompanied by infantry or other tanks. While the T-54 became obsolete well before 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.
Trading in a T-54 at full health to the Mafia will net you $20,000.
The T-54 can be very useful during the first half of the game, when it is one of only two main battle tanks present in the field (the other being the Chinese Type 80). It is heavily armored and equipped with a powerful 100mm cannon, which can easily destroy the majority of the vehicles found in the game, which are unarmored or light-to-medium armor. The T-54's greatest strength is its heavyweight status, making it a formidable opponent in a fight with anything lighter than itself, and its NBC shielding can make it useful to the Mercenary for getting through radioactive areas.
As a cheap, obsolete tank that has long since seen its day, the T-54 has a long list of downsides: slow rate of fire, slow driving speed, slow turret traverse, and thin armor that can be damaged easily by the far more modern ground and air anti-armor weapons of the AN, the Chinese, and the South Koreans. The T-54 is extremely vulnerable to fire from helicopters: ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) fired from captured MD-500s or the YAH-56 Gunship will destroy a T-54 instantly. The M1 Tank, Type 96, and M3 Bradley are just three vehicles that can also destroy a T-54 with a single shot. The T-54 is only the dominant force on the battlefield when it is the only tank present, or better yet the only armored unit of any type.
- 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, and was produced in the USSR from there until 1981, with additional copies being produced in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and China. Production of the T-54/55 numbers in the tens of thousands, more than any other tank in history as of 2005.
- Though just the mercenary can operate it in-game, the real-life T-54 requires 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.
- Unlike most main battle tanks, the turret hatches do not belong to the gunner and commander, but instead the loader and commander.
- The real-life T-54 does not have NBC shielding, but the hatch behind the roof-mounted machine gun is left open at all times in-game, which would negate any NBC protection anyway.