The M60 Patton is an American second generation main battle tank (MBT) introduced in March of 1959. With the United States Army's deactivation of their last (M103) heavy tank battalion in 1963, the M60 became the Army's primary main battle tank during the Cold War. Although developed from the M48 Patton, the M60 series was never officially classified as a Patton tank, but as a "product-improved descendant" of the Patton series. In March 1959, the tank was officially standardized as the Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 105 mm Gun, M60. Over 15,000 M60s were built by Chrysler. Hull production ended in 1983, but 5,400 older models were converted to the M60A3 variant ending in 1990.
An M60A3 on display in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in April 2005.
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||See Operators|
Yom Kippur War
Invasion of Grenada
Persian Gulf War
Lebanese Civil War
1982 Lebanon War
Multinational Force in Lebanon
Yemeni Civil War (1994)
Western Sahara War
2011 Bahrain protests
Houthi insurgency in Yemen
Turkish military intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Yemeni Civil War
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
|Manufacturer||Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Chrysler|
|Unit cost||M60: US$309,000 (1962) |
M60A1RISE: US$385,000 (1976)
M60A2: US$372,000 (1974)
M60A3TTS: US$1.292 million (1990)
|Produced||M60: 1959–1962 |
|No. built||Over 15,000 (all variants)|
|Mass||M60: 50.7 short tons (46.0 t; 45.3 long tons) |
M60A1: 52.6 short tons (47.7 t; 47.0 long tons)
M60A2: 52.0 short tons (47.2 t; 46.4 long tons)
M60A3: 54.6 short tons (49.5 t; 48.8 long tons)
|Length||M60/M60A1/M60A3: 6.946 meters (22 ft 9.5 in) (hull), 9.309 meters (30 ft 6.5 in) (gun forward) |
M60A2: 6.946 meters (22 ft 9.5 in) (hull), 7.3 meters (23 ft 11 in) (gun forward)
|Width||M60/M60A1/M60A2/M60A3: 3.631 meters (11 ft 11.0 in)|
|Height||M60: 3.213 meters (10 ft 6.5 in) |
M60A2: 3.1 meters (10 ft 2 in)
M60A1/M60A3: 3.27 meters (10 ft 9 in)
|Engine||Continental AVDS-1790-2 V12, air-cooled Twin-turbo diesel engine|
750 bhp (560 kW)
|Power/weight||15.08 bhp/st (12.4 kW/tonne)|
|Transmission||General Motors, cross-drive, single-stage with 2 forward and 1 reverse ranges|
|Suspension||Torsion bar suspension|
|Ground clearance||1 foot 6.2 inches (0.463 m)|
|Fuel capacity||385 US gal (1,457 L)|
|300 miles (500 km)|
|Speed||30 mph (48 km/h) (road) |
12 mph (19 km/h) (cross country)
The first combat usage of the M60 was with Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War where it saw service under the "Magach" designation, performing well in combat against comparable tanks such as the T-62. In 1982 the Israelis once again used the M60 during the 1982 Lebanon War, equipped with upgrades such as explosive reactive armor to defend against guided missiles that proved very effective at destroying tanks. The M60 also saw use in 1983 with Operation Urgent Fury, supporting US Marines in an amphibious assault into Grenada. M60s delivered to Iran also served in the Iran–Iraq War. The US's largest deployment of M60s was in the 1991 Gulf War, where the US Marines equipped with M60A1s effectively defeated Iraqi arrmored forces, including more advanced T-72 tanks. The United States readily retired the M60 after Operation Desert Storm, with the last units being retired from active service in 1997. M60-series vehicles continue in front-line service with a number of countries' militaries, though most of these have been highly modified and had their firepower, mobility and protection upgraded to increase their combat effectiveness on the modern battlefield.
The M60 underwent many updates over its service life. The interior layout, based on the design of the M48, provided ample room for updates and improvements, extending the vehicle's service life for over four decades. It was widely used by the US and its Cold War allies, especially those in NATO, and remains in service throughout the world today, despite having been superseded by the M1 Abrams in the US military. The tank's hull also developed a wide variety of prototypical, utility and support vehicles such as armored recovery vehicles, bridge layers and combat engineering vehicles. Egypt is currently the largest operator with 1,716 upgraded M60A3s, Turkey is second with 866 upgraded units in service, and Saudi Arabia is third with over 650 units.
During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a Soviet T-54A medium tank was driven onto the grounds of the UK's embassy in Budapest by the Hungarians. After a brief examination of this tank's armor and 100 mm gun by a British military attaché, the UK decided that their 20 pounder (84mm L/66.7) was apparently incapable of defeating it. There were also rumors of an even larger 115 mm gun in the works. Hence there was a need to adopt a more powerful gun, which emerged as the famed 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7.
This information made its way to the United States, where the Army had been experimenting with a series of upgrades to their M48 Patton tanks. These experiments were concerned with improving the armor, rangefinders, and the introduction of a variety of autoloader systems, such as that used in the 105 mm gun tank T54.
The T95 program, launched after the Questionmark III conference in June 1954, was the intended replacement to the M48. It featured a host of innovative and experimental components such as its 90 mm smoothbore T208 cannon rigidly affixed to its turret, and its new powertrain and suspension. The burden of developing them, however, slowed the overall program to a crawl. General Taylor approved of a new tank development program in August 1957. This incorporated many ARCOVE recommendations and foresaw the eventual replacement of the light, medium, and heavy tanks with two types: the airborne reconnaissance/assault vehicle, and the main battle tank (MBT).
The MBT was to combine the firepower and protection sufficient for the assault role with the mobility to perform as a medium tank. A tank of the T95 series, armed with a smoothbore cannon and powered by a compression ignition engine, was envisaged by the Army Staff as the bearer of the role of future MBT. Some T95 hulls were used from 1960 to 1964 to develop the T118E1 prototyping of the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle.
The course of this tank program was the source of widespread debate. The Bureau of Budget (BoB) believed that the Army was not progressing with sufficient speed in its tank modernization program and recommended the immediate replacement of the M48A2. Correctly predicting that the BoB would not approve the procurement of the M48A2 after the fiscal year 1959, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics (DCSLOG) proposed a tank based on the M48A2 featuring improved firepower and the AVDS-1790 engine.
The alternative was to introduce a tank from the T95 series, but it remained highly experimental with its compression ignition engine not as developed as the AVDS-1790. An influential group of senior officers, by May 1958, concluded that the T95 had only marginal advantages over the M48A2. They proposed that the most important improvements, better firepower and fuel economy, could be achieved by mounting a compression ignition engine and a more powerful gun on the M48A2.
Choice of componentsEdit
M68 105 mm Main GunEdit
The main gun was chosen after a comparative firing test on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Participating in the test were six guns: the 90 mm M41 (armament of the M48A2 although tested with the new T300E53 HEAT round), the 90 mm T208E9 (a smoothbore weapon firing T320E62 APFSDS), the 105 mm X15E8 (a British gun developed from the 20 pdr), the 105 mm T254 (an American gun firing the same APDS ammunition as that of the British), the 120 mm T123E6 (a lightened variant of the M58), and the 120 mm M58 (armament of the M103). The 120 mm T123E6 was preferred by the Ordnance Department because its ammunition, the same as that for the M58 gun, was already at an advanced state of development. The T123E6 however had a slow rate of fire as, unlike the M58 on the M103, there would only be one loader servicing it. This led to the weapon having a max rate of fire of 4 rpm vs. the T254's 7 rpm. The factors evaluated were accuracy, lethality of a hit, rate of fire and penetration performance. Based on these tests, the 105 mm T254E2 was selected and standardized as the M68. It used a vertical sliding breechblock instead of the L7's horizontal breechblock. Until American-made barrels could be obtained with comparable accuracy, British X15/L52 barrels were to be used. US built XM24/L52 barrels (length 218.5 inches) fitted with an eccentric bore evacuator were used for the M60-series starting in June 1959 but retained interchangability with the British X15/L52 barrel. All of the US guns and XM24 barrels were produced at the Watervliet Arsenal, NY and the gun mounts manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal, IL. US M68 guns were fitted with an eccentric bore evacuator instead of a concentric model in order to provide more clearance over the rear deck. The gun is capable of using a wide range of ammunition including APDS-T (M932 and M728), APFSDS-T (M774 and M735), APFSDS-DU (M744A1 and M833), HEAT-FS (M456), APDS dummy and target practice rounds, HEP/HESH (M393), white phosphorus and canister rounds. Barrels with thermal sleeves were used starting in 1973.
Composite applique armor panels made with fused silica glass was intended to be fitted to the turret and the hull. This led to a redesign of the front of the hull into the shape of a flat wedge, instead of the M48's elliptical front, as it simplified the installation of this armor. US Army Tank and Automotive Command and Carnegie Institute of Technology began development of the armor in November of 1952 at Ft. Belvoir VA as Project TT2-782/51 using examples of the T95 tank to conduct the testing. This composite armor provides protection against HEAT, HEP, and HE rounds. However, repaired castings suffered a loss of kinetic energy protection. Limitations in manufacturing capacity and the added cost however led to this special armor being dropped by November 1958 and all M60-series tanks were protected with conventional steel armor.
There were two versions of hulls used for the M60-series. The M60 hull had a straight slope and beak compared to the earlier M48's rounded one. The hull bottom had a strong boat-like appearance with a pronounced recess between the upper tracks and external suspension arms and one shock absorber on the first roadwheel. The armor was improved, at 6 inches (155 mm) on the front glacis and mantle of solid rolled homogeneous armor, while it was 4.3 inches (110 mm) on the M48. These first prototype hulls did not have shock absorbers and were briefly named XM68 in 1959 before the Ordnance Department renamed it the M60. This hull version was used only on the original M60 variant and early M728s and M60AVLBs. This hull model was in production from 1959 to 1962.
The M60A1 hull has basically the same visual characteristics, the noticeable difference was the addition of a second shock absorber at the second roadwheel pair and was also accompanied by a slight relocation of the first return roller. These modifications were needed due to the increased weight of the M60A1 turret as well as the additional hull armor. This hull model was used on the M60A1, M60A2 and M60A3 models of the M60-series as well as the M728A1 and M60A1 AVLB. It was in production from 1962 to 1983.
The M60-series went through a progressive turret armor scheme during its production life with four different turrets being manufactured for the M60-series. The T95E5 turret used on the M60 was clamshell shaped and bore a strong resemblance to the M48 Patton. The M60A1 was the first version to employ the newly designed T95E7 turret with a redesigned bustle increasing the number of rounds for the main gun to 63. The M60A2 featured a specially designed turret for the M162 gun/missile launcher that greatly reduced the frontal arc in comparison to the M60A1. The M60A3's turret was similar to the A1s but with increased armor protection for the frontal arc and mantlet in an effort to provide additional protection of the turret's hydraulics system.
M19 Commander's CupolaEdit
A redesigned full vision cupola was envisioned for the commander's station. It had 7 tiltable vision blocks arranged to give the commander a 360 degree field of view with overlapping vision between adjacent vision blocks. The front vision block could be replaced with a dual power M34 7x50 binocular sight or an M19E1 IR periscope. A special feature was that the cupola body could be raised up to 3 1/2 inches providing the commander a direct field of vision while remaining under armor protection. Access was through a hatch cover on the roof and a .50 machine gun was pedestal mounted on the forward part of the cupola. It could be aimed and fired with the cupola closed. Also there was an 11 inch long hydraulically operated port on the left side allowing spent cartridge cases to be ejected. After creating a full-sized mock up this design, it was dropped in favor of a design based on the M1 cupola of the M48A2. This T9 cupola provided the commander with more headroom than the T6 cupola of the T95 tank, carrying a new short receiver M85/T175 .50 caliber machine gun and it was standardized as the Cupola, Tank Commander's Caliber .50 Machine Gun, M19. Initial production of the cupola was problematic. The first 300 M60s produced were armed with a .50cal M2HB machine gun in a pedestal mount welded to the left side of the commander's cupola owing to production problems with the new M85 machine gun. Of these tanks, the first 45 manufactured were made without the cupola itself, also due to production problems. All of these early M60s eventually had the M19 cupola and M85 machine gun installed.
Compared to a conventional pintle mount, the remote-controlled M85 machine gun was relatively ineffective in the anti-aircraft role for which it was designed. Removing the cupola lowered the vehicle's relatively high silhouette. The cupola's hatch also opened toward the rear of the vehicle and was dangerous to close if under small-arms fire owing to a lock-open mechanism that required the user to apply leverage to unlock it prior to closing. The commander was able to observe the battlefield using the binocular M34 vision block or M19E1 IR Periscope while remaining under armor protection with a 360 degree traverse independent of the turret, was stabilized in azimuth and elevation and carried 600 rounds of ammunition. All M60s in US service retained the M19 cupola until the tank was phased out of service. The few M60A3s in Army service as training vehicles had their commander's cupola removed as it was deemed unnecessary for training and to better mimic the profile of Soviet tanks.
In 1957, plans were laid in the US for a universal or all purpose tank. The course of this tank program was the source of widespread debate. The Bureau of Budget (BoB) believed that the Army was not progressing with sufficient speed in its tank modernization program and recommended the immediate replacement of the M48A2. Correctly predicting that the BoB would not approve the procurement of the M48A2 after the fiscal year 1959, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics (DCSLOG) proposed a tank based on the M48A2 featuring improved firepower and the AVDS-1790 engine. Fulfilling this requirement was an interim tank design that resulted in the M60-series, which largely resembles the M48 it was based on, but has significant differences. The M60-series was the last US main battle tank to utilize homogeneous steel armor for protection. It was also the last to feature an escape hatch under the hull. The escape hatch was provided for the driver, whose top-side hatch could easily be blocked by the main gun.
A contract was awarded to Chrysler in September 1957 for the advanced production engineering (APE) of the XM60. Four XM60 prototypes were built in 1958 to evaluate the 105 mm T254E2 main gun using the T95E5, a clamshell shaped turret styled similar to that of the M48 Patton and mating them to modified M48A2/XM68 hulls. The hulls had 4 return rollers and 6 steel roadwheel pairs per side with no shock absorbers, using only bumper springs on the first and sixth roadwheel arms, along with a widened turret well and ring, and a flat wedge-shaped glacis. The T254E2 guns used British X15/L52 barrels with a concentric bore evacuator on the barrel.  Pilot 1 was completed at Chrysler Defense Engineering on 3 July and sent to the Aberdeen Proving Ground. It had a T6 cupola from the T95 tank installed. Pilot 2 was finished on 4 August and used to develop technical publications. Pilot 3 was completed 2 September and went to the Detroit Arsenal for maintenance evaluations, it was then sent to Ft. Knox for user trials. The fourth pilot was completed on 26 October and standardized as the Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 105-mm Gun, M60 on 16 March 1959. The production contract was approved April 1959 with the production starting in June at the Chrysler Corporation Delaware Defense Plant,for the low-rate initial production of 180 M60s in 1959. In August 1959, an engineering bid package was awarded for the second production buy of M60s to be built at the Delaware Plant. Subsequent production, starting with the October 1960 batch were built at the Detroit Tank Plant, Michigan. It reached operational capability with fielding to Army units in Europe beginning in December 1960.
The original variant of the M60 series ultimately was produced as a quick fix engineering (QFE) upgrade of the M48 due to the Soviet Union's tank advancements of the late 1950s and the delays from developing the silicas armor and an improved turret design. The M60 mounted a 105 mm M68 main gun with the bore evacuator mounted towards the middle of the tube carrying 57 rounds in the clamshell shaped turret style of the M48. Nine rounds were stowed in the left side of the turret bustle behind the loader. The remaining rounds were stored inside safe containers on the hull floor. An M73 machine gun was coaxially mounted to the right of the main gun that was operated by the gunner and had 2,000 rounds.
The electronics package on the M60 was essentially the same as used on the M48A2C including an improved turret control system and all-metric measurement M16 Fire Control System (FCS), The M16 FCS consists of a new M10 ballistic drive which integrated barrel temperature data and mechanical M16E1 gun data computer with an M17 coincidence range finder. The rangefinder is a full-field coincidence image instrument used as the ranging device of the gunner's primary direct sighting and fire control system. Range information from the rangefinder is fed into the ballistic computer through a shaft. The ballistic computer is a mechanically driven unit that permits ammunition selection, range correction, and superelevation correction by the gunner. The ballistic drive receives the range input and, through the use of cams and gears, provides superelevation information to the superelevation actuator. The superelevation actuator adds sufficient hydraulic fluid to the elevating mechanism to correctly position the gun.
The M60 hull had a straight slope and beak compared to the earlier M48's rounded one. The hull bottom had a strong boat-like appearance with a pronounced recess between the upper tracks and external suspension arms with cast aluminum roadwheels and return rollers along with a single shock absorber on the first roadwheel pair. The number of return rollers was lowered to 3 per side and cast aluminum road wheels were used to save weight. The armor was improved, at 6 inches (155 mm) on the front glacis and mantle of solid rolled homogeneous armor, while it was 4.3 inches (110 mm) on the M48. Power was provided by the AVDS-1790-2A engine, CD-850-5 cross drive transmission and the T97E2 track assembly as used on the M48A3. The vehicle also provides full NBC protection for the crew using the M13A1 protection system creating a positive atmospheric pressure in the crew compartment. The positive pressure keeps contaminated air out and forces the smoke produced from firing the main or coax guns out of the vehicle. Access between the driver's compartment and the turret fighting compartment was also restricted, requiring that the turret be traversed to the rear.
The M60 was deployed to West Germany to counter the threat presented from the T-54s and T-55s of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact as well as to South Korea but was never sent to South Vietnam mainly due to unfavorable terrain and the general lack of significant numbers of North Vietnamese armor. In May 1961 Army Chief-of-Staff General George Decker announced that the European Command had been receiving the M60 to replace older tank inventory. By October the Seventh Army was outfitted with many of the tanks. A total of 2,205 M60s were built between June 1959 and October 1962.
The program to develop the M60A1 was approved in early 1960. The first prototype pilots attempts to mate a modified M60 hull with the T95E7 turret took place in March 1960. The turret, even without the siliceous cored armor, provided improved ballistic protection. Additional space for the turret crew was also made available by using the M140 mount thus moving the cannon 5 inches forward. The first two prototypes (Pilot 1 and 2) were ready in May 1961 and the third (Pilot 3) in June 1961, when the vehicle also received its official prototype designation as the M60E1. These vehicles were built by Chrysler. Pilot 1 was sent for evaluation at the Eglin Air Force Base climatic hanger, while Pilot 2 was tested at the Yuma Test Station, and Pilot 3 underwent field trials at Fort Knox using the newly developed M140 mount. On 22 October 1961, the M60E1 was officially accepted in service under the designation of Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 105-mm Gun, M60A1.  Production began on 13 October 1962 when the Army placed an initial order for 720 of the tanks for $61.2 million.
In addition to the new turret design, the hull was upgraded. The upper glacis armor was increased from 3.67 inches to 4.29 inches at 65 degrees while the sides over the crew compartment went from 1.9 inches to 2.9 inches at their apex. This brought the frontal armor up to the same 10" line of sight armor standard of the M103 heavy tank. A mushroom-shaped fume extractor was placed at the rear left of the turret bustle to vent smoke produced from firing the main or coax guns out of the vehicle. The addition of a shock absorber on the second roadwheel pair and was also accompanied by a slight relocation of the first return roller. These modifications were needed due to the increased weight of the M60A1 turret as well as the additional hull armor. The ammunition load for the main gun was increased to 63 rounds. Round storage was distributed between the turret bustle, with 15 ready rounds of various types were stowed and accessible for the loader, and the rest are stored inside safe containers on the hull floor. The uncomfortable wire mesh seats were replaced by padded seats. The brake and accelerator pedal and gauges were also rearranged for more efficient and comfortable operation while the steering wheel was replaced by a T bar steering control. The engine and power train were supplied by the Continental AVDS-1790-2A and the CD-850-5 cross drive transmission and using the T97 track assembly.
Improvements to the electronics package for this version included an improved electro-mechanical traverse assembly and a xenon white light or an infrared searchlight above the gun shield. The M19 FCS consisted of the M17A1 stereoscopic coincidence rangefinder, M10A1 ballistic drive and the mechanical M19E1 ballistic computer for the gunner.
As development of a new main battle tank stalled with problems and cost escalating quickly, the M60A1 was forced to serve longer than originally intended with production lasting almost 20 years. In that time span numerous product improvement programs were put forward. As the major changes were incorporated into the production line, the vehicle model designations were changed. The first of which was Top Loading Air Cleaner (TLAC) in 1971. This reduced dirt and dust ingestion, which increased engine life as well as easier service. Early TLAC panels were made from aluminum and were vulnerable to damage from small arms fire. Next came Add-On Stabilization (AOS) that was introduced in late 1972. This was an add-on kit made to fit with minimum modifications to the existing hydraulic gun control system. The add-on-stabilization system provides stabilization control for both gun elevation and turret traverse. It provides the gunner with the capability of aiming and target tracking and also improved surveillance of the battlefield terrain by the gunner while the tank is moving. It may be used in any one of three modes of control: (1) power-with-stabilization-on, (2) power-with stabilization-off, and (3) manual. In the power-with-stabilization-on mode, the gunner's aim on target is automatically retained while the vehicle is in motion. This mode provides a fire-on the-move capability. The power-with-stabilization-off option eliminates needless exercise of the stabilization system and provides a back up power mode. The manual back up system permits the crew to aim and fire the weapons should the electrical/hydraulical subsystems fail. At a range of 2000 meters, hit probabilities of better than 70% from a moving M60A1 were obtained in Aberdeen test results while without a stabilizer it was essentially zero. M60A1s with this upgrade were denoted as the M60A1(AOS). The T142 track was fielded in 1974 which had replaceable rubber pads, better end connecters and improved service life. M60A1(AOS)+ was the denotation for M60A1s equipped with the TLAC, AOS and the new T142 track.
Introduced in 1975 the Reliability Improved Selected Equipment (RISE) was a comprehensive upgrade of the M60A1 hull as well as integrating the previous TLAC and AOS upgrades. It included the upgraded AVDS-1790-2C RISE diesel engine and CD-850-6 transmission that featured several changes in order to improve service life and reliability. A new 650 ampere oil cooled alternator, a solid state regulator and new wiring harness with more accessible disconnect were also incorporated into its electrical system as well as armored steel TLAC panels and the return to the use of steel roadwheels and return rollers. They were denoted as M60A1(RISE). In 1977 the passive night sights M32E1 sight for the gunner and M36E1 for the commander as well as the M24E1 IR night vision block for the driver provided second generation night vision capabilities for M60A1 and RISE tanks. These new passive gunner's and commander's periscopes provide recognition capability at longer ranges and at relatively low night light levels (1/2 moonlight). Under starlight conditions, they will provide recognition beyond 500 meters with the use of an AN/VSS-1(V)1 IR searchlight. During 1978 a kit for the mounting of the M240 as the coaxial machine gun was fielded. The development of the M735 APFSDS ammunition required a cam update to the mechanical gun data computer for accurate firing. M60A1s configured to this standard were denoted as M60A1(RISE)+.
The M60A1(RISE) Passive featured the implementation of all previous updates plus Kevlar spall liners for the turret, AN/VVS-2 passive night vision block for the driver, a deep water fording kit, the capability to mount Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) and the AVDS-1790-2D RISE engine with CD-850-6A transmission and a Vehicle Engine Exhaust Smoke System (VEESS) that visually obscured the area around the vehicle. The VEESS smokescreen system does not provide protection against infrared, thermal or laser detection. The two six-barreled, electronically fired M239 smoke grenade launchers, one on each side of the main gun and replacement of the coax machine gun with the M240C were implemented in late 1978. The smoke grenades contains a phosphors compound that masks the thermal signature of the vehicle to the enemy. They were denoted as M60A1(RISE) Passive.
Over the period of M60A1 tank production several essential engineering changes were incorporated. Many of these miscellaneous changes are to improve the system safety, reliability, maintainability and increase mission performance. The M60A1 tank Hull/Turret PIP Update Kit includes those items that could not be readily identified with basic major product improvements and to incorporate essential engineering changes that had occurred during M60A1 tank production. The update program included engineering changes and minor product improvements which were not part of specific product improvements, but were required to upgrade early vintage M60A1 tanks up to the current M60A1(RISE) Passsive production configuration.
The M60A1 was in production from October 1962 until May 1980 and was extensively used by the US Army and Marine Corps as well as being widely exported to foreign governments. A total of 7,948 M60A1s (all variants including E60A) were built. Many of them were later converted to the A3 standard.
During the early 1960s there was some debate regarding the future of main tank weaponry, largely focusing on conventional kinetic energy rounds versus missiles. In an effort to utilize both capabilities a new low profile turret was designed equipped with a 152mm Gun/Missile Launch system that could fire conventional HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds, or launch ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided-Missiles). The M60A2 was intended to serve as the stop-gap solution until the projected replacement by the MBT-70 completed its development. The M60A1 hull was used starting in 1966 to develop a new turret design using the 152mm M162 rifled barrel main gun. These developmental tanks were designated as the M60A1E series. The M60A1E1 variant was used to evaluate the M162 gun on several different mounts and compatibility with the XM13 Guided Missile, Armor Defeating together with the XMTM51 training round. They used a modified M60A1/T95E7 turret. During the early testing of the M162 main gun it was noted that misfires and premature detonations of the M409 conventional case ammunition were caused by unburnt propellant in the bore and breech. This flaw was often catastrophic as it set off the projectile in the barrel as it was fired. To remedy this the guns were equipped with a traditional fume extractor on the barrel. The M162 Gun/Launcher also experienced frequent faulty breeches, often not closing correctly during a missle firing, allowing the exhaust of the launching Shillelagh to vent hot noxious gasses into the crew compartment.
The M60A1E2 finalized the turret design with the use of a compact turret which reduced exposed frontal area by 40% compared to the M60A1 and continued development of the M51 Missile Guidance System (M51MGS). Initial plans called to replace the turret of every M60 with the new A2 turret, but the continual technical and reliability difficulties with the dual purpose gun caused this to be abandoned. The M60A1E3 variant was a prototype mounting the M68 105 mm rifled gun to the turret of the M60A1E2. This was evaluated due to several earlier faults noted in the M60A1E1's main gun. The M60A1E4 variant explored the use of various remote controlled weapons, including a 20mm gun as secondary armament. All variants of this series underwent evaluations and trials at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The M60A1E2 was finally accepted by the Army in 1970 and given the designation Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 152-mm Gun/Launcher, M60A2. It is frequently nicknamed "Starship" due to its "Space Age” technology, but this appears to have rarely or never been used by the troops actually using the vehicle when it was in service, who mostly called it "A2," "Deuce," or "A-Deuce." Initial orders were submitted by the Army in 1971 however production did not start until 1973 and continued until 1975. All were built at the Chrysler Tank Plant in Warren, Michigan with a total of 540 M60A2s produced. The M60A2 was deployed to Army units in Europe starting in June 1975 when B Company, 1-32 Armor Battalion received its first M60A2 tanks.
The M60A2 featured a unique low profile turret, mounting the M162 Gun/Launcher that reduced the frontal arc by 40% compared to the A1's. It consisted of a large disk with a narrow channel in the center with each crew member in the turret having their own hatch. As a result, each crew member was effectively isolated from one another with the gunner and loader separated by Shillelagh missiles in their storage position. The commander was in the rear compartment under a large redesigned cupola, which somewhat negated the low profile silhouette of the turret. The M162 gun was fully stabilized in both turret traverse and gun elevation using the same upgrade kit as the M60A1 AOS. This system could be used by the gunner to engage targets with unguided M409 rounds while the vehicle was in motion, but the tank had to remain stationary when firing and tracking an MGM-51 missile. The turret interior also received Kevlar spall liners. Four M226 smoke grenade launchers were mounted on each side of turret bustle. Additionally there was a mounting point to the left of the turret for a Xenon White-Light or AN/VSS-1(V)1 Infrared Spotlight and M19E1 IR periscope providing first generation night vision for night operations. A basket was fitted to the rear of the turret to stow the spotlight when not in use. Late production versions replaced the bore evacuator with the Closed-Bore Scavenger System (CBSS), a compressed air system that pushed the fumes and gasses out of the muzzle when the breech was opened. Initial production M60A2s used the M60A1 hull powered by an AVDS-1790-2A TLAC engine, CD-850-5 cross-drive transmission and the T97 track assembly. Many of these hulls were later upgraded to the RISE standard.
The M51 Missile Guidance System (MGS) for the Shillelagh missiles was designed by Ford's Aerospace Division. The M51 MGS consisted of an infrared (IR) direct beam guidance and control system to track the missile mounted to the turret over the mantel of the gun with a telescopic sight and a Raytheon AN/VVS1 Flashlamp Pumped, Ruby Laser range finder, accurate to 4,000 meters, for the gunner. The gunner aimed the cross-hairs in his direct telescopic sight at the target and fired the missile. After acquiring a target a small charge would propelled the missile out of the barrel, the missile's solid-fueled sustainer rocket then ignited and launched the Shillelagh. For the time of flight of the missile, the gunner had to keep the cross-hairs pointed at the target. A missile tracker in the gunner's sight detected any deviation of the flight path from the line-of-sight to the target, and transmitted corrective commands to the missile via an infrared command link. The MGM-51A was stabilized by flip-out fins, and controlled by hot gas jet reaction controls. The gunner also employed an M73 (later replaced with a M240C) to the gun mantle's right with 2,000 rounds. The commanders cupola was redesigned causing the M85 to be mounted in the inverted position in order to provide access to its feed cover and mounted a single M34 periscope carrying 600 rounds. The M60A2's combat load for the M162 main gun consisted of 33 M409 rounds and 13 MGM-51 Shillelagh missiles.
This weapon system had several drawbacks. First the gunner had to keep the target in the crosshairs of the sight during the entire flight time of the missile. This meant that only one target could be tracked and engaged at a time. Furthermore, the M60A2 could not fire or track a missile while moving. Secondly was the high minimum range of about 730 m (2,400 ft). Until the missile reached this range it flew beneath tracking system's infrared beam and could therefore not be guided by the infrared command link. Also minimum range was slightly above the maximum effective range of the M60A2's conventional unguided munition, this created a dangerous gap area that could not be adequately covered by fire known as a "dead zone". It was also discovered that structural cracks in the barrel occurred after several missile firings. This defect was traced to a flaw in the longitudinal key, which fitted into a keyway inside the gun barrel. It was determined that a less deep key would significantly extend the service life of the barrel. The Missile Control System was also very fragile owing to its dependence on vacuum tubes which often broke when firing the gun. Finally a Shillelagh missile was considerably more expensive than the M409 round. Though the vehicle was one the most technologically complex of its era, this also contributed to its failure, largely due to difficulties with maintenance, training, and complicated operation.
The M60A2 proved a disappointment, though its technical advancements would pave the way for future tanks; the MBT-70, which relied on much of this technology as it was used in the M60A2, never advanced beyond the prototyping phase of its development. The Shillelagh/M60A2 system was phased out from active units by 1981, and the turrets scrapped. The main replacement for Shillelagh missile in the mobile anti-armor role was the more versatile BGM-71 TOW. Most of the M60A2 tanks were rebuilt as M60A3s, or the hulls converted to armored vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) vehicles and M728 Combat Engineer Vehicles with a few M60A2s retained as museum pieces.
Due to the rapidly developing advancements in anti-armor capabilities and solid state electronics of the 1970s, along with the general dissatisfaction of the M60A2, an upgrade of the M60A1 was needed. In 1976 work began on the M60A3 variant which featured a number of technological enhancements and increasing the turret armor.
The M60A3 version of the M60-series has the same mobility performance and weapons systems as the M60A1 RISE and RISE Passive tanks and incorporated all of their engineering upgrades, improvements and capabilities. The differences are in the fire control instruments. The armor protection for the turret was increased to 330 mm on the gun mantle and to 276 mm on the turret face. The hydraulic fluid was replaced with a non-flammable one. The electronics and fire control systems were also improved. This updated turret configuration was mated to the M60A1 RISE hull using the AVDS-1790-2D RISE engine and CD-850-6A transmission along with a Halon fire suppression system. It was designated as the Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 105-mm Gun, M60A3.
The M60A3 tank was built in two configurations. The earlier version, sometimes referred to as the M60A3 Passive, uses the same passive gunner's sight as the A1 RISE Passive and the latest version has a Tank Thermal Sight (TTS). The M60A1, RISE, and RISE Passive tanks used a coincidence rangefinder and the mechanical M19 ballistic computer. The M60A3 uses a laser based rangefinder and the solid state M21 ballistic computer. The M21 FCS for the M60A3 was made up of a Raytheon AN/VVS2 flash-lamp pumped ruby-laser based range finder, accurate up to 5000 meters for both the commander and gunner, a solid-state M21E1 gun data computer incorporating a muzzle reference sensor and crosswind sensor, ammunition selection, range correction and superelevation correction were inputted by the gunner, an improved turret stabilization system along with an upgraded turret electrical system and solid-state analog data card bus. The M10A2E3 ballistic drive is an electro-mechanical unit. The commander had an M36E1 and the gunner an M32E1 passive sight. The TTS configuration replaced the gunner's sight with the Raytheon AN/VSG2 Tank Thermal Sight (TTS), a Mercury-Cadmium-Telluride (HgCdTe) IR detector. This sight allows the gunner to see through fog, smoke and under starlight conditions without the aid of an IR searchlight. This system provided improved first round hit capabilities.
The first M60A3s were assembled at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in February 1978 where the first of a low-rate of initial production quantity of 296 M60A3s were produced through October with fielding to Army units in Europe starting in May 1979. In 1979, General Dynamics Land Systems Division purchased Chrysler Defense. The M60A3 was seen by the US Army as a stop-gap measure as the development of the XM1 Abrams MBT was already well advanced with fielding to Europe planned to start in 1981 and notified FMS customers of its near-term plans to discontinue M60-series tank production. The procurement of the M60A3 and M60A3 TTS tanks for the Army concluded in May 1983 with a total of 1,052 M60A3 and TTS tanks built as new vehicles. However production of M60A3/E60B tanks continued for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) with the last tanks delivered to Israel in May 1986 and a production total of 3,268 E60Bs. The Army also increased its M60A3 TTS fleet through the M60A1 tank conversion program and the M60A3 tank field retrofit program conducted by the Anniston Army Depot and the Mainz Army Depot (MZAD). Depot field teams retrofitted all of the Army's 748 M60A3 tanks to the TTS configuration by the end of 1984. In addition, both depots converted a total of 1,391 M60A1 RISE tanks to the M60A3 TTS. These conversion programs concluded in 1990. Italy, Austria, Greece, Morocco, Taiwan and other countries upgraded their existing fleets with various E60B component upgrades under several FMS defense contracts with Raytheon and General Dynamics during the mid to late 1980s converting around 4,000 tanks to M60A1 RISE/E60A and E60Bs. In 1990, M60A3/E60Bs from Army surpluses were sold to Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. The M60A3 replaced the M60A1 in Army and any remaining M60s and M48A5s in National Guard service on a one-for-one basis but the Marine Corps continued to use the M60A1 RISE Passive until they were withdrawn from combat use in 1991.
M60s for use in foreign military service were designated as the E60 series by the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS). These were essentially M60s with minor modifications requested by approved foreign purchasers. Some of the modifications included removal of the M19 cupola, different models of machine guns, electronics, fire control systems or radios, external armor plates, smoke launchers and power packs. Israel purchased many of these tanks forming the basis for the Magach 6 series.
This series included the following designations:
- E60: modified M60 variant for non-US service
- E60A: modified M60A1 variant for non-US service
- E60B: modified M60A3 variant for non-US service
The M60A2 was never approved for foreign sales.
Late in the M60's US military service, several prototype upgrades were evaluated. However these were passed over in favor of simply producing more M1 Abrams. The M60A3 was phased out of US service in the 1990s and as a training aid in 2005, but it has continued in use in a number of other countries. In 2005, M60 variants were in service with Bahrain, Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Thailand, ROC (Taiwan), Iran, and some other nations to varying degrees. Most of these are highly upgraded and modified, notable examples are the Magach, Sabra and Phoenix variants.
A US Congressional Report in November 1993 stated that there were 5,522 serviceable M60A1 and M60A3 tanks in the US Army's inventory available for sale or transfer to US allies or foreign nations. Of these 111 were in Korea, 1,435 were in Europe, and 3,976 located in the continental US (CONUS). The average age of these tanks was 16 years and an expected peacetime service life of 20 years. The average price was US$212,898 per tank without radios or machine guns and they were not overhauled. Tanks located in Korea were inspected and sold to Bahrain and Taiwan. Of the 1,435 tanks in Europe, 1,311 have been cascaded to other NATO countries under the terms of the Conventional Forces Europe Agreement (CFE), 18 reserved for non-combat use and 106 returned to CONUS. Egypt inspected 411 tanks at Fort Hood and 91 at Fort Knox and tentatively selected 299 of those. An additional inventory of tanks from the CONUS M60A3 fleet were available at the same unit price for other approved purchasers.
The Super M60/AX, also called Super 60, was a comprehensive update package for the M60 Patton series tanks, first offered in 1985 by General Dynamics. The weapons of the Super M60 are similar to those of the M60A3 Patton, but different models were used. The main gun is the rifled 105 mm/L55 M68A1E2 with a longer XM24 tube and a thermal sleeve, the same weapon used on the M1 version of the M1 Abrams MBT with 63 rounds. The prototype built did not have an optical range finder but one could have been easily installed. The 7.62 mm M73 coaxial machine gun used on the M60A3 is replaced with a 7.62 mm M240C, with the same number of rounds. The turreted 12.7 mm M85 machine gun were removed. It was replaced with a manually-fired 12.7 mm M2HB machine gun on a pintle mount with 600 rounds. Survivability was enhanced with a layer of Chobham spaced applique armor built around the M60A1 turret, that noticeably changed its appearance. A layer of laminated steel armor covers the frontal arc, and possibly the sides and/or rear as well. A pair of steel track skirts were added and spall liners for the fighting compartment. The electronics package of the Super M60 was largely the same as that of the M60A3, with an AN/VVG-2 laser rangefinder, an AN/VVS-2 thermal imaging system, and an M21 solid state ballistic computer. Maneuverability was improved by a Teledyne Continental Motors CR-1790-2B, a 980 hp V12 diesel engine, mated to an Allison-Renk RK 304 automatic transmission with 4 forward and 4 reverse gears. The suspension of the Super M60 was enhanced over the original torsion bars of the M60A3 Patton via hydropneumatic struts. The new struts not only smoothen the off-road ride, but also allowed the Super M60 to handle well in spite of its considerable weight increase over the original M60A1 Patton. Even though this update package offered M60 users an opportunity to dramatically increase the combat capabilities of their tank fleets, no country ever bought the update, and the program effectively ceased by the end of the Cold War. Only one prototype was built. The failure of the Super M60 program was likely due to the lack of immediate necessity for such a vehicle.
General Dynamics offered the M60-2000 Main Battle Tank in 2001. This vehicle also failed to garner any production requests and the offering was dropped from marketing literature in 2009. The prototype was disassembled and the hull and turret returned to the US Army.
Raytheon introduced its own service life extension program (SLEP) package for the M60A3 in 2016. Lethality upgrades offered in this package include a fully stabilized M68 120 mm/L44 smoothbore gun fitted with a load assisting system allowing a maximum rate of fire of 6-10 rounds per minute. It is fitted with Raytheon's Integrated Digital Fire Control System (IFCS) consisting of a modular sighting system including a Day TV camera, an Infra Red (IR) camera for night vision and an eye-safe Laser range finder and data bus to improve first round hit probability. Raytheon also fitted it with a laser warning receiver and smoke grenade dischargers. The cupola and M85 machine gun have been replaced with the Hitrole remotely controlled weapon system, that enables 360° panoramic surveillance from a secure position inside the tank armed with a M2HB .50cal Heavy Machine Gun as well as replacing the M73 coaxial machine gun with a M240C. The hydraulic turret stabilization system has been replaced with the fully electro-mechanical Curtiss-Wright's Electric Gun Turret Drive Upgrade Kit. This allows the tank turret to rotate faster and accurately fire while the tank is on the move and is also lighter and safer, as a result of the removal of flammable hydraulic fluids in the turret. Its mobility has been improved with an upgraded AVDS-1790-2C engine producing 950 hp increasing available power by 20%, thus achieving improved power-to-weight ratio despite the weight increases. The suspension system includes an improved hydropneumatic system. The installation of an Automatic Fire and Explosion Sensing and Suppressing system (AFSS) that improves soldier survivability and protects the engine compartment as standard. Upgraded armor protection with STANAG 4569 Level 6 protection plates to the frontal arc and side skirts and slat armor added to the bustle, protecting the rear of the turret from RPG attack. These changes increased the vehicle weight to 62-63 tons.
Raytheon has been working with Jordan's King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) for the past three years on its Phoenix Level 1 IFCS upgrade and Level 2 Lethality upgrade efforts for the M60 main battle tank. A $46.6M contract with the Jordan Armed Forces was authorized to upgrade one battalion of their Phoenix main battle tanks with Raytheon's Integrated Fire Control System (IFCS).
The Jordanian M60 Phoenix is a modular upgrade of the M60A3 with significant improvements in firepower and lethality. It has a true shoot-on-the-move capability, day/night targeting capabilities and a high first round hit provided by Raytheon's Integrated Fire Control System (IFCS). The M68 105 mm main gun is replaced with a RUAG Land Systems L50 120 mm smoothbore Compact Tank Gun (CTG) with a firing rate of 6-10 rounds per minute. Turret upgrades include an electro-mechanical (EM) turret drive unit, EM traverse assembly, and ammunition containment unit, and 20 round rack ready storage. The electronics included an eye safe laser rangefinder, second generation night sight, digital ballistic computer, cant sensors and a MIL-STD 1553 data bus. The maneuverability of the Phoenix is improved with the use of the General Dynamics AVDS-1790-2C engine producing 950 hp increasing available power by 20%, an upgraded CD-850-6A transmission, new air cleaner and air induction systems, improved suspension and new and improved final drives. Survivability is improved through the addition of the armor protection scheme for both the M60's turret and hull. The protection scheme can be reconfigured to changing threat conditions. It also has a 12 tube High Speed Directed Launcher (HSDL) smoke screen system using a multi-spectral smoke hardxill providing protection against thermal detection.
The Leonardo M60A3 is an upgraded variant of the M60A3 offered by Italian defense company Leonardo. The upgrade is intended to offer nations already operating the M60 an upgrade to their vehicles to offer capabilities more in line with third-generation main battle tanks. It was unveiled 17 October 2017 at the Bahrain International Defense Exhibition and Conference (BIDEC).
Upgrades offered in this package include a new 120/45 gun from the Centauro II that offers a weight saving of 500 kg over the older 120/44 gun due to a redesigned light alloy cradle and muzzle brake. The old commander's cupola is completely removed and replaced instead with an armored circular ballistic plate protected with slat armor. This also offers a weight reduction compared to the original M19 cupola as used on the M60A3 Patton. For close defense, the turret is also fitted with the HITROLE-L 12.7mm remotely operated weapons system. The turret has been refitted with a new set of hydraulic and servo control improving performance. The rest of the vehicle is completely overhauled including the torsion bars, brakes, fuel supply, electric system, wheels, seals, paint, and smoke grenades. The vehicle has also been retrofitted with the Automatic Fire and Explosion Sensing and Suppression System (AFSS). It is equipped with the LOTHAR gun sight, DNVS-4 Driver's Night Vision Sight and TURMS digital fire control system. a daytime TV camera, and an eye-safe Laser range finder. IED jamming systems and a laser warning receiver systems developed by Leonardo are optionally offered.
Armor improvements include a whole new passive protection suite fitted around the M60's existing cast armor turret and hull that is claimed to meet STANAG Level 6 standards. Protection for the turret is optimized for protection against kinetic energy (KE) weapons and artillery across the frontal arc. The hull to is upgraded to the same standard with the protection covering the hull sides extending to the third roadwheel. For the rear of the turret, slat armor is provided with an emphasis on protecting against the RPGs.
Mobility is improved via either a full refurbishment of the existing power packs or an upgrade. The new powertrain offered is stated to deliver up to 20% more power without high costs and avoiding the need for any modifications to the existing hull. This AVDS-1790-5T and CD-850-B1 908 hp engine replaces the 750 hp engine and is connected to an upgraded CD-850-6A transmission. It was unveiled at the Bahrain International Defense Exhibition and Conference (BIDEC) at Manama, Bahrain in 2017.
US service historyEdit
Fifteen of the early examples of the M60 produced had insufficient hull armor thickness, and were therefore used by the Armor School at Fort Knox to train tank crewmembers and maintenance personnel.
The M60 AVLB and M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle were the only variants of the M60 series deployed to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The M728 was used in fire support, base security, counter ambush fire, direct assault of fortified positions, and limited reconnaissance by fire. The AVLB provided gap crossing capabilities when required to support armored forces. M60s were deployed at this time to West Germany during the Cold War to support US Army operations and participated in annual REFORGER exercises as well as Allied Forces Day parades in West Berlin until 1991. The M60 was also deployed to Korea to support US Forces Korea and participated in bi-annual Exercise Team Spirit maneuvers with South Korea notably with the US 2nd Infantry Division until 1991.
On 21 August 1976, President Ford conferred with Henry Kissinger and green lighted Operation Paul Bunyan with a platoon of M60A1s reinforcing elements of the US 9th Infantry Regiment (Task Force VIERRA) at the south end of the Bridge of No Return in response to the Korean axe murder incident.
M60 tanks participated in Operation Urgent Fury in 1983. Marines from G Company of the US 22nd Marine Assault Unit equipped with Amphibious Assault Vehicles and four M60A1 Patton tanks landed at Grand Mal Bay on October 25 and relieved the Navy SEALs the following morning, allowing Governor Scoon, his wife, and nine aides to be safely evacuated. The Marine tank crews faced sporadic resistance, knocking out a BRDM-2 armored car. G Company subsequently overwhelmed the Grenadian defenders at Fort Frederick. The 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment deployed with M60A1s to Beirut and were present during the subsequent October 23 Beirut barracks bombing near the Beirut International Airport during the ongoing Lebanese Civil War.
M60s have been used in close air support trials with the F-16 in the 1980s. M60A1s have been used by the USAF as targets for the testing of radar equipment on new aircraft and also for ground force adversarial work during Exercise Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
During Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War of 1991, at least one US Air Force unit was equipped with M60s. The 401st TFW (P), deployed to Doha, Qatar had two M60s for use by explosives ordnance disposal personnel. It was planned that using the MBTs would allow the EOD crews to remove unexploded ordnance from tarmac runway and taxiway surfaces with increased safety.
M60A1s of the 1st Marine Division Task Force Ripper led the drive to the Kuwait International Airport on 27 February 1991, Task Force Ripper's M60A1 tanks destroyed about 100 Iraqi tanks and armored personnel carriers, including about 50 top-of-the-line Soviet T-72 tanks. The division commander Maj. Gen. J.M. Myatt said, "During the first day of combat operations 1st Platoon, D Company, 3rd Tank Battalion destroyed 15 Iraqi tanks". The Marines also destroyed 25 APCs and took 300 POWs. The 1st Marine Division lost 1 M60A1 tank clearing a path through a minefield. The 1st Marine Division encountered more Iraqi opposition as it proceeded north the next day coming into contact with the Iraqi 15th Mechanized Brigade, 3rd Armored Division. During this engagement the Marines destroyed an additional 46 enemy vehicles and took approximately 929 POWs. Once the 1st Marine Division reached Kuwait International Airport they found what remained of the Iraqi 12th Armored Brigade, 3rd Armored Division defending it. The Marines destroyed 30 to 40 Iraqi T-72 tanks which had taken up defensive positions around the airport. The Marines also encountered T-62 tanks in dispersed and understrength platoon and company units. They were knocked out by TOWs at long range. By the end of the day the Iraqi 3rd Armored Division was totally destroyed. The Iraqi 3rd Armored Division losses included more than 250 T-55/62s and 70 T-72 tanks. The US Marine Corps' M60A1s were fitted with add-on explosive reactive armor (ERA) packages.
Following the end of both the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm, the M60 was rapidly withdrawn from combat use and superseded by the M1A1 Abrams by both the Army and Marine Corps and was relegated to the Army National Guard through most of the 1990s. In May 1997, at Fort Riley, 1st Battalion, 635th Armor, Kansas Army National Guard, retired the last M60 series tanks in the US military. The 58 M60A3 tanks of the Kansas Guard's only armor battalion were unceremoniously parked in a holding pen at the Camp Funston Mobilization and Training Equipment Site (MATES), in the Kansas River Valley, down the hill from Fort Riley's main post. They were later transferred to the Jordanian Army. They were replaced in National Guard service by the M1 version of the Abrams MBT.
Due to the end of the Cold War, surplus US Army M1A1s were absorbed by the US Marines replacing their M60A1s on a one for one basis, allowing the Marine Corps to quickly become an all-M1 tank force at reduced cost. Except for a small number in service for training, most M60s were placed in reserve, some 1,400 were transferred to NATO allies from 1991 to 1993 under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and some were sold, mainly to Middle Eastern countries. They were finally declared as excess to US needs in 1994. They were given to a few nations under governmental grants.
After being retired from combat use in 1991, 18 M60A3s, with the M19 cupola removed, continued in active Army service to provide tactical combat training to US and NATO forces in Europe. They were fitted with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), given the mission to provide tactical engagement simulation for direct fire force-on-force training and were maintained at the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) near Hohenfels, Germany. They were used in the OPFOR Surrogate (OPFOR(S)) role by D Company 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (Team Dragon) until May 2005. After their service as training aids, these examples were demilitarized and placed as target hulks on various firing ranges at the Grafenwoehr Training Area. They were replaced in this role by the TONKA tank (unofficial name) – an M113 with a mock turret.
The large number of M60 series tanks still in the Army's CONUS inventory in 1994 were declared as excess to requirements and disposal of them began through grant programs or demilitarization at additional costs to the US government. The US Army and Air Force continue to use M60s on a limited basis as targets for the testing of radar and weapons systems. They are also salvaged for parts to maintain other vehicles still in service. One M60A1 hull was leased to General Dynamics for development of the M60-2000/120S during 2000–2001. The M68 105 mm Gun has been used for the M1128 Stryker MGS. Many are on public display in parks and museums or veteran service organizations as well as gate guards at military bases. Some 100 M60s are to be placed as artificial reefs off New Jersey and the Gulf coasts of Florida and Alabama accessible to scuba divers. In February 2017, the United States Army awarded a contract to BAE Systems and Land Armaments to convert several former M60 tanks to M88A2 recovery vehicles. The US Army Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) has directed that the M728, M60AVLB and M60-series target vehicles are to be withdrawn from use by 2024 and any units remaining are to be demilitarized and sold for scrapping by the DLA Disposition Services.
- XM60: Developmental prototype for testing the of the T254E2 main gun using British X15 barrels and the T95E5 turret mated to modified M48A2/XM68 hulls.
- M60: Featured the M68 105mm main gun and several component improvements as well as the AVDS-1790-2A diesel engine and upgraded hull. Some early production units did not have the commander's cupola.
- M60E1: Developmental prototype for the M60A1 mating a modified M60 hull to the T95E7 turret.
- M60A1: First variant to feature the distinctive "needle-nose" long nosed turret, along with better armor protection, improved hydraulics and AVDS-1790-2A TLAC engine.
- M60A1 AOS: Add-On Stabilization, introduced in 1972 for the M68 gun.
- M60A1 AOS+: M60A1 fitted with TLAC, AOS and T142 track
- M60A1 RISE: Reliability Improvement Selected Equipment, hull upgrade featuring AVDS-1790-2C RISE engine and electrical allowing easier access, servicing and removal, several component upgrades, TLAC, AOS as well as the T142 track.
- M60A1 RISE+: Passive night sights for gunner and commander
- M60A1 RISE Passive: upgrade to M240C coax gun, turret spall liners, AVDS-1790-2D RISE engine and VEESS smoke system, deep water fording kit and the ability to mount ERA. US Marines outfitted with explosive reactive armor (ERA) in the late 1980s.
- M60A1 AOS: Add-On Stabilization, introduced in 1972 for the M68 gun.
- M60A1E1: Developmental test vehicles fitted with the 152 mm gun-missile launchers.
- M60A1E2: Prototype M60A1 hull mated to a compact turret design and accepted as M60A2
- M60A1E3: prototype, M60A1E2 fitted with 105 mm gun.
- M60A1E4: Experimental type with remote control weapons.
- M60A2: mounted M162 gun/launcher. First variant to use a laser range finder.
- M60A3: turret upgrade fitted with a laser range finder, M21 solid state ballistic computer, a crosswind sensor and increased turret armor.
- M60A3 TTS: Tank Thermal Sight; M60A3s fitted with the AN/VSG-2 thermal sight.
- M60A3 SLEP: Raytheon upgrade package for the M60A3
- M60 Super/AX: General Dynamics upgrade package for the M60A3. One prototype built.
- M60-2000/120S: M60/Abrams hybrid vehicle developed by General Dynamics Land Division. One prototype built.
- Leonardo M60A3: M60A3 upgrade package offered by Leonardo DRS
- M60 AVLB: armored vehicle-launched bridge with 60-foot (18 m) scissors bridge mated to the M60 hull.
- XM1060 ROBAT (Robotic Obstacle Breaching Assault Tank): A turretless, remote controllable M60 prototype with a mine roller and 2 M147 MICLIC Line Charge Firing Kits. Developed in the early 1980s.
- M60 Panther MDCV (Mine Detection and Clearing Vehicle): M60 without a turret fitted with countermine systems used by US forces during operations JOINT ENDEDEAVOR and Joint Task Force EAGLE. The Panther can have a 2-man crew or be used as a remotely controlled vehicle. It is used to proof lanes and assembly areas. The system consists of a turretless M60 tank, Israeli Pearson mine rollers, an antimagnetic actuating device, and a Standardized TeleOPeration System (STOPS) that is mounted in a separate vehicle. Additionally, a remote video camera allows the operator to see the road ahead. Only 6 built from former M60A3s, withdrawn from use by 2003 and superseded in role by M1IP Panther 2.
- M88 Recovery Vehicle: Armored recovery vehicle based on M60 chassis.
- M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle: Combat Engineer Vehicle fitted with a folding A-frame crane and winch attached to the front of the turret, and an M135 165mm demolition gun mated to the M60 hull.
- M9 Bulldozer Kit for the M60 series (SNL G306): The M9 bulldozer installed on the M60-series tank will increase the vehicle weight by 4.45 tons (4.04 metric tons). It is controlled by the driver.
- M60T or Sabra: highly upgraded variant of the M60A1 which is designed for the MBT modernization program of the Turkish Army. It features a new 120 mm smoothbore gun, electric stabilization system, new fire control system, and new armor package. M60T is also known as Sabra Mk. II.
- E60 Series: Foreign Military Sales designation for the M60 series
- E60: modified M60 variant for non-US service.
- E60A: modified M60A1 variant for non-US service.
- E60B: modified M60A3 variant for non-US service. Late production E60Bs for foreign military sales to Israel omitted the commander's cupola.
- M60VLPD 26/70E: Spanish Army bridgelayer based on the M60 with "Leguan bridge system". 12 converted from M60A1 hulls.
- M60CZ-10/25E Alacran: Spanish Army combat engineer variant. 38 converted from M60A1.
- Israeli variants: Many of the Israeli M60s have been upgraded with additional reactive or passive armor, drastically improving their armor protection. These up-armored versions are called Magach 6 / Magach 7.
- M60 Phoenix: Jordanian upgrade, being carried out by the King Abdullah II Design And Development Bureau. Upgrade includes shoot-on-move capabilities, increased firepower (with a RUAG 120 mm smoothbore gun) and armor protection scheme upgrade.
- Iranian variants: All Iranian M60A1s were modified and given different names.
|Length||9.309 m (30.54 ft)||7.3 m (24 ft)||9.309 m (30.54 ft)|
|Width||3.631 m (11.91 ft)|
|Height||3.213 m (10.54 ft)||3.27 m (10.7 ft)||3.1 m (10 ft)||3.27 m (10.7 ft)|
|Top speed||30 mph (48 km/h) (road) |
12 mph (19 km/h) (cross country)
|Range||500 km (310 mi)|
|Power||750 bhp (560 kW)|
|Weight||46.0 tonnes (45.3 long tons; 50.7 short tons)||47.0 t (46.3 long tons; 51.8 short tons)||47.2 t (46.5 long tons; 52.0 short tons)||49.5 t (48.7 long tons; 54.6 short tons)|
|Main armament||105 mm M68 rifled gun
Ammunition: APDS, HEAT-FS, HESH/HEP, white phosphorus, Canister, APDS target practice and dummy rounds
|105 mm M68 rifled gun
Ammunition: APDS, APFSDS, HEAT-FS, HEP/HESH, Canister, APDS target practice and dummy rounds
|152 mm (6.0 in) M162 Gun/Launcher
Ammunition: MGM-51 Shillelagh missile, HEAT
|105 mm M68 rifled gun |
Ammunition: APDS, APFSDS, , HEP/HESH, Canister, APDS target practice and dummy rounds
|Crew||4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)|
|Protection||Hull: 93 mm (3.7 in) at 65°
Turret: 180 mm (7.1 in)
|Hull: 109 mm (4.3 in) at 65°
Turret: 250 mm (9.8 in)
Ability to mount ERA packages that cover the turret and front hull
|Hull: 109 mm (4.3 in) at 65°
Turret: 290 mm (11 in)
|Hull: 109 mm (4.3 in) at 65° |
Turret: 276 mm (10.9 in)
Ability to mount ERA packages that cover the turret and front hull
- Afghanistan: 63 M60A3TTS were donated in 2009 from Greece to replace the ANA's aging Soviet era tanks.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 45 M60A3s transferred from US in 1996 under Train and Equip Program with all in service as of 2008.
- Bahrain: 180 M60A3 TTS excess US Forces Korea stocks. Last 54 were delivered in 1992 and as of 2014 60 were in service and the rest in reserve.
- Brazil: 91 M60A3s purchased from United States. 28 still in service as of 2012, others have been scrapped.
- Egypt: Purchased 1,016 M60A3s and 700 M60A1RISE from 1986 to 2002 from the United States and other countries. About half are in storage.
- Iran: 460 M60A1s were transferred from the US through 1979 with 150 in service as of 2010.
- Israel: 111 Magach 7Cs in reserve storage. Some M60A1 (Tagesh) AVLBs still in service. All M60/E60 series and Magach 6 series tanks retired in 2014 and to be scrapped or sold. Superseded by the Merkava MBT.
- Jordan: 82 M60A1s in storage. Some have been converted into recovery vehicles. 240 M60A3TTS, former US Army National Guard, 182 were upgraded to M60 Phoenix.
- Lebanon: 56 M60A3s transferred from Jordan in 2008. First 10 tanks received in May 2009 were rejected for service by Lebanese government.
- Morocco: 108 M60A1s transferred from US in 1981. 300 former US Marine Corps M60A1s were purchased from 1991 to 1994, 120 M60A3TTS and 7 M60A1 in 1997. M60A1 tanks purchased in the 1990s were upgraded to A3s and 140 upgraded to M60A3TTS in 2009. As of 2015 they were still in service.
- Oman: 93 M60A3s Last 39 acquired in 1990 from inventories at Ft. Knox. As of 2015 they are still in service.
- Portugal: 96 M60A3 tanks from redundant US Army inventory in Europe in 1991 and 1992 as a result of the CFE Treaty. As of 2008, only 14 tanks were in the 1st Combat Squadron and the rest in reserve.
- Saudi Arabia: 910 M60A1RISE (250 transferred to North Yemen). Many of these were upgraded to M60A3s during the 1990s. 390 M60A3s purchased in 1990.
- Spain: 400 M60A3TTSs received in 1991 and 1992 from Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. As of 2009 there are 17 in service with the Infanteria de Marina. Some transferred to Greece, others scrapped. Superseded by the Leopard 2. 38 M60CZ-10/25E engineer vehicles, 12 M60VLPD-26/70E bridge layers in service with the Spanish Army.
- Sudan: 20 M60A1s received in 1979 from United States. They remain in service as of 2014.
- Taiwan: 400 M60A3TTS and 400 CM-11 Brave Tiger in service as of 2018.
- Thailand: 53 M60A1RISE Passive and 125 M60A3TTS from US Army. Still in service as of 2015.
- Tunisia: 59 M60A3 TTS and 30 M60A1 RISE Passive received from the US in 1985. As of 2012 they are still in service.
- Turkey: Received 104 M60A1 RISE Passive and 658 M60A3TTS. 170 were converted to M60T Sabra. As of 2018 170 M60T, 610 M60A3TTS and 752 M60A3 in service.
- United States: Currently in limited use as target vehicles for weapons and radar testing. The M60 series was retired from combat use in 1991, the Army National Guard in 1997, and as a training aid in 2005. The M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle was retired from combat use in 2000. 262 M728s in service with the US Army Reserve and Army National Guard as of 2007. Phased replacement with the M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle starting 2018. 37 M60 AVLB vehicles in service with US Marine Corps as of 2009. To be replaced with the M1074 Joint Assault Bridge starting in 2019.
- Yemen: approx. 250 M60A1 RISE Passive in 1990. As of 2015 only 50 were still in service
- Argentina: One M60A1 acquired in the early 1970s from United States. Never placed in service. As of March 2014 it is displayed as a gate guard in Buenos Aries.
- Austria: 170 M60A1s purchased from USAEUR excesses 1982. Later converted to A3 standard. They were replaced in 1997 by the Leopard 2 and sold to Egypt.
- Ethiopia: 180 M60A1s received from the US from 1974 to 1977. Replaced with the T-72 in 1978 and 1979.
- Greece: 357 M60A1RISE and 312 M60A3TTS were received under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in 1991 and 1992. 63 donated to Afghanistan in 2009. Retired from service 2015 and remaining M60s to be scrapped.
- Iraq: Limited ad hoc use of Iranian tanks during Iran–Iraq War. Six Iranian M60A1s were captured in 1980 and transferred to Jordan. Any remaining tanks were destroyed after the war. It was never officially in Iraqi service.
- Italy: 200 M60A1s produced in Italy and 100 from excess USAEUR stocks in the late 1970s. Phased out of service by 2008.
- G-numbers: (SNL G292)
- Gun data computer
- M16: mechanical gun data computer used on M60
- M19: mechanical gun data computer used on M60A1 and its variants
- M21 solid state gun data computer used on M60A3
- Magach 6 & 7: series of Israeli upgrades to the M60 platform
- Shawn Nelson: Went on a rampage in Clairemont, San Diego, in a stolen M60A3.
Tanks of comparable role, performance and eraEdit
- AMX-30: French main battle tank
- Chieftain: British main battle tank
- Leopard 1: German main battle tank
- Stridsvagn 103: Swedish turret-less main battle tank
- T-62: Soviet main battle tank
- T-72: Soviet main battle tank
- TR-85: Romanian main battle tank
- Type 69/79: Chinese main battle tank
- Type 74: Japanese main battle tank
- Vijayanta: Indian main battle tank
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