M60 Series - Main Battle Tank

M60 Main Battle Tank

M60 Series

Main Battle Tank

The M60 "Patton" Main Battle Tank with 105mm gun was introduced in 1960. With more than 15,000 units produced, it is still in service more than 50 years later. Superceded by the M1 Abrams Tank, it remains operational with over 20 countries and has many special-purpose variants.

M60 Series - Main Battle Tank

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DETAIL SPECIFICATION

ENGINE, DIESEL: 12 CYLINDER, 90° V-TYPE, 750HP, AVDS1790-2, AVDS1790-2A, AVDS1790-2C, AVDS1790-2D, AVDS1790-2DR, AVDS1790-2CA AND AVDS1790-2DA

Key Characteristics

Crew

  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Driver
  • Loader (Radio Operator)

Mobility

  • Engine Power: 750 hp
  • Speed Limit: 48 km/h
  • Traverse Speed: 52 deg/sec
  • Turret Traverse Speed: 42 deg/sec

Armor

  • Hull Armor
    • Front: 93mm
    • Sides: 73mm
    • Rear: 25mm
  • Turret Armor
    • Front: 177mm
    • Sides: 76mm
    • Rear: 50mm

Armament

  • Gun: 105mm M68
  • Ammunition: 57 pcs
  • Rate of Fire: 6.82 rounds/min

Biography of the M60

Initial production began in 1959, at the Chrysler Delaware Defense Plant. Production was moved to the Chrysler Detroit Tank Plant in Michigan and lasted until 1987, with over 15,000 units manufactured. The M60 is known for becoming the U.S. Army's first "Main Battle Tank”, as the Army began doing away with "Light", "Medium" and "Heavy" Tank classifications. Even though some specialized variants are still active the tank was retired from service in the U.S. in 1997, and is still used by many armies throughout the world. The M60 was an evolution of the M48 tank, and was also the last American tank to feature a floor-mounted escape hatch. It was crewed by four personnel made up of the driver, tank commander, gunner and loader.

The hull was revised with straighter contours and aluminum wheels that replaced the M48's steel wheels. The engine compartment bulged the hull roof at the rear, but was short enough to compensate for the turret overhang allowing for a full 360-degree navigation and engagement of enemy targets at any angle. The general turret shape of the M48 was more or less retained, though this changed in the M60A1 version to a more unique shape to reduce the front and rear profiles. The turret was centrally-located atop the hull roof and sported thick, well-sloped sides for basic ballistics protection. On top of the commander's cupola, (which clearly identified the M60 series from previous Patton’s) was a M85 12.7mm heavy machine gun designed to counter threats from low-flying aircraft. Primary armament revolved around the M68 (Ordnance L7) 105mm main gun. Additional armament came in the form of a 7.62mm M73 series machine gun coaxially-mounted in the turret next to the main gun and was operated by the gunner. This weapon allowed for engagement of "soft" targets beyond the scope of the main gun. The M60 could provide maximum firepower and its own defense in one complete package. Smoke grenade dischargers were later added to the turret sides while the engine could also produce its own smoke for both offensive and defensive tactical actions, as needed.

The steel armor protection measured 155mm (approximately 6in). Power was supplied by a single Continental AVDS-1790-2 V12 air-cooled Twin-Turbo diesel engine of 750hp. This was mated to a General Motors cross-drive single-stage transmission with two forward and one reverse speeds. The M60 weighed 50 short tons (100,000lbs / 45359.23kg) It was 30ft. long (9.1m), 12ft. wide (3.6m), 10ft. 6.5 in. (3.21m) in height, which is considerably tall for a combat tank and one of the key criticisms of the series for the life of the vehicle. It could travel up to 300 miles (482.8km) with a speed of approximately 30mph (48kph).

Over time, the M60s were gradually updated to keep up with new technology and threats on the battlefield. The first upgrade was produced in 1962, the M60A1. This upgrade included a redesigned turret that was internally more spacious, an improved suspension system and better armor. In 1970, the M60A2 was produced but it was more experimental, and did not last in service. This model gained the unofficial nickname “Starship” due to its look compared to other tanks at the time. The A2 had a much lower profile turret emplacement with a noticeable commander’s cupola, along with the implementation of the 152mm main gun, making the M60 compatible with the MGM-51 “Shillelagh” anti-tank missile. In 1980, the M60A3 was produced and had a considerable amount of changes, while for the most part keeping the turret and hull the same. It was given stabilization and a thermal sleeve for its M68 105mm main gun, a ballistics computer for accurate engagement, a thermal sight at the gunner's position, improved coaxial machine gun functionality, an air filtration system, revised searchlight function, an improved power plant, Raytheon laser rangefinder and external smoke dischargers along the turret sides as well as an internal smoke generation system supplied through the engine's operation. The A3s became the new M60 standard and many of the A2 were converted. The A2s that were not became specialist battlefield vehicles such as bridge layers.

M60 Series Variants

M60 Series

  • M60
  • M60A1 AOS (Add on Stabilization)
  • M60A1 RISE (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment).
  • M60A1 RISE Passive
  • M60A3 TTS (Tank Thermal Sight)
  • M60 super/AX
  • M60-2000 120S
  • M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge)
  • M60 AVLM (Armored Vehicle Launched MICLIC (Mine Clearing Line Charge))
  • M60 Panther
  • M728 CEV (Combat Engineering Vehicle)
  • M9

Experimental Variants

  • M60A1E1
  • M60A1E2
  • M60A1E3
  • M60A1E4

M60 Series

M60

M60

Main Battle Tank

NSN 2350-00-678-5773
The original production model was introduced in 1959. It had a wedge shaped hull, 3 return rollers and aluminum road wheels. It was powered by a Continental AVDS-1790-2; 12-cylinder diesel engine with a General Motors CD-850-6 transmission. It could travel up to 300 miles (482km) at a max speed up to 30mph (48km/h). It was armed with a 105mm M68 located in the M116 turret, a .50cal M85 on the M19 cupula and a 7.62mm M73.

M60A1

M60A1

Main Battle Tank

NSN 2350-00-756-8497
The A1 model was introduced in 1962. The major upgrade for this model was the turret, changing to a longer “needle-nosed” style. The brake and accelerator petals were improved by moving the location and changing from mechanical linkages to hydraulic. The inside seating was also updated. It was powered by a Continental AVDS-1790-2A; 12-cylinder diesel engine with a General Motors CD-850-6A transmission. The travel distance and speed stayed the same as the original M60, 300 miles (482km) up to 30mph (48km/h). It was armed with a 105mm M68, which was located in the redesigned M140 turret, a .50cal M85 on the M19 cupula and a 7.62mm M73. The A1 has had many improvements to the build.

M60A2

M60A2

Main Battle Tank

NSN 2350-00-930-3590
The A2 model was introduced in 1970, and was the result of two prototypes; the M60A1E1 and M60A1E2. Both versions tested a new compact turret and the Shillelagh missile system. The M60A1E2 became the M60A2 model. The new turret reduced the frontal exposure by 40%. It was powered by the same Continental AVDS-1790-2A; 12-cylinder diesel engine and General Motors CD-850-6A transmission, as the A1 model. The travel distance and speed approximately stayed the same as the original M60, 300 miles (482km) up to 30mph (48km/h). It was armed with a 152mm M162 Gun-launcher that had the ability to launch 13 MGM-51C Shillelagh missiles, a .50cal M85 and a 7.62mm M73, M73A1 or M219. This model did not prove worthy as there were too many technical difficulties, and they were phased out by the 1980s, by either converting the hulls to specialized battlefield vehicles like bridge layers or they were rebuilt to the later A3 model. Due to the advanced technology and the look of the A2, they were nicknamed “Starship”.

M60A3

M60A3

Main Battle Tank

NSN 2350-00-148-6548
The A3 model was introduced in 1980, and became the standard for the M60s. This model featured a laser rangefinder, solid state ballistic computer, crosswind sensor and the power of the turret motor was improved from 5hp to 10hp. Later produced A3s featured a muzzle reference system, a halon fire extinguishing system and an engine exhaust smoke system. Steel wheels were used again since they were more cost efficient. Later produced A3s also removed the commander’s cupola which lowered the profile and actually made the tank safer to use while under fire because it was realized that a non-penetrating hit on the turret roof could bury itself at the base of the cupola (acting as a shot trap), and if it dislodged it would instantly have killed the commander. It was powered by a Continental AVDS-1790-2C; 12-cylinder diesel engine with a General Motors CD-850-6A transmission. The travel distance and speed approximately stayed the same as the original M60, 300 miles (482km) up to 30mph (48km/h). It was armed with a 105mm M68, a .50cal M85 and a 7.62mm M73, M219 or M240. The A3s were slowly phased out of U.S. service as a training aid in 2005, but still has remained a front-line MBT for many other countries.

M60A1 RISE

M60A1 RISE

Main Battle Tank

NSN 2350-00-116-9765
The A1 RISE (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment) was introduced around 1975. The engine design now had an improved starter, fuel injection lines and nozzles, top-loading air cleaners; stronger cylinders and better turbo superchargers. It also allowed easier access to components in less time. A new track type, T142, that helped reduce wear and improve track life since the rubber pads were replaceable. Improvements were also made to the tank's electrical system.

M60A1 RISE/PASSIVE

M60A1 RISE/PASSIVE

Main Battle Tank

NSN 2350-01-059-1503
The A1 RISE/PASSIVE model was introduced in 1977. It was the same exact build as the A1 RISE, but with a smaller infra-red/white light capable search-light and passive night vision equipment. This version actually became the main tank for the U.S. Army into the 1980s, until the A3 model was introduced.

M60 AVLB

M60 AVLB

Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge

NSN 5420-00-889-2020
The AVLB is a specialized battlefield vehicle. Its main build is the M60 with the ability to launch and retrieve a 60ft (18m) scissor-type bridge. There are three major sections; the launcher, the vehicle hull and the bridge. It’s powered by an AVDS-1790-2DA 12-cylinder diesel engine and a CD-850-6A transmission. The bridge launcher is actually placed where the turret would be. They are able to deploy a bridge in two minutes and retrieve them in 10 minutes. These are still currently in use for the U.S. military.

M728 CEV

M728 CEV

Combat Engineering Vehicle

NSN 2350-00-795-1797
The M728 CEV was introduced in 1963. It is a full tracked armored vehicle from a M60 or M60A1 frame. Usually it is fitted with a D7 bulldozer blade or a mine-plow, for the clearing of land mines. It also can be fitted with a folding A-frame crane. It is armed with a M135 165mm gun with 30 rounds of HEP (High Explosive Plastic). The gun's primary purpose is for clearing defensive fixtures and obstacles, e.g., walls, fences, roadblocks, and bunkers. The vehicle and dozer blade are operated from the driver's compartment. There have been a total of 291 produced, with most of those located in the U.S. Army Reserves, Army National Guard and the ATF SWAT teams.