Development and History of the M-60 tank
The lineage of the M-60 began with the introduction of the Pershing T26-E3 prototype just at the end of WWII. The M-26 Pershing
was a test bed for a new configuration; the use of well sloped armor and torsion bar suspension. These formed the basis for the M-46, which used the same basic hull layout with improvements and finally the
M-47, which included better ballistic protection fire control and layout. Some of the holdovers from the Sherman family were the 5-member crew and inclusion of a bow machine gun.
fully new tank design after WWII was the M-48, with a 90mm gun, which provided a bridge between the Pershing and the M-60. The M-48 was the primary US battle tank from 1953 until the introduction of the M-60
in the late 50â€™s. The design, however, like many introductions of new weapons, was not without its problems. With the introduction of the T-55 by the Russians it became obvious that the M-48 was not
adequate. The M-48 continued in service until the introduction of the M-60 in the later 50â€™s, but also continues today in many other countries. For more about the M-48 see our M-48 page.
used in Desert Storm, the M60 proved itself to be a dependable vehicle in all areas of operation. The M60 was not used actively in the Vietnam conflict. A few USMC M60A1 were used in support of the US Marines in
Grenada and Lebanon.
M60 M60A1 M60A2 M60A3 M60-2000
M60 AVLM M60 Panther M728 CEV
The M60 series tank succeeded the M47 and M48 Series. The improved design provided an increased operational range and mobility, required less refuelling and servicing, and incorporated an improved main armament. A
Continental AV1790-2 V-12 750 hp. air cooled diesel engine powered the vehicle. Power is transmitted to a final drive through a CD-850-6 cross drive transmission, a combined transmission, differential, steering, and
It had a maximum speed of 30 mph and maximum range of 350 miles. The hull of this vehicle is a one piece steel casting and is divided into two compartments, the crew in the front, and the engine at the rear with an internal fuel capacity of 1420ltr or 357US gallons.
The M60 Patton main battle tank is now even phased out of US Reserve and National Guard units, the last to leave in 1997. It served as the primary US main battle tank for three decades prior to the introduction of
the M1. Derived from the M48 Patton series, the M60 was fitted with a M 68 105mm main gun and manned by a four-man crew. Criticized for its high profile and limited cross-country mobility, this durable tank proved
reliable and underwent many updates over its service life. Rarely has one vehicle type served as the main battle tank for as long as the venerable M60. The interior layout, based on the design of the M26/46/47/M48,
provided ample room for updates and improvements, extending the vehicle's service life for over four decades.
In the early 1950s, reports from British intelligence indicated the Soviets had developed a new heavily armored medium tank, the T-54. This new tank was armed with a 100mm gun, superior to the American M48 medium
tank, which used an old 90mm main weapon developed in WWII. In response, the US developed a strategy to bring the M48 up a level to compete with the new Soviet tank -- the M60. Initially produced in 1959 and planned
as a stop gap solution, over 15,000 M60s were built by Chrysler and first saw service in 1961. Production of new vehicles ended in 1983, older models were converted to the M60A3 variant ending production finally in
1990. The M60 and M60A1 tanks saw action with the Israeli forces during the Yom Kippur War in both the Sinai and the Golan Heights.
Besides its main gun, the M60 series tanks are equipped with a 7.62mm M73 (or later M219) coaxial machine gun and 12.7mm M85 gun enclosed in the commanderâ€™s M19 turret. The first M-60s retained a turret similar
to the M-48, but had a revised hull with better ballistic protection. The M60 tank hull was designed with a unique rounded boat shape bottom but a pointed nose section. It was made from five cast pieces that combine
to provide excellent ballistic protection for the four crew and equipment packed inside.
The army ordered the M60 into production in 1959 and the first M60s entered service with U.S. Army units during the fall of 1960. Most of the initial production vehicles were sent to Europe to offset the Russian
T-54, then coming into widespread service with Warsaw pact armies. The first 300 vehicles were not even equipped with the M85 machine gun inside the CWS but had a cradle mount welded to the right side of the CWS
with an external .50 cal M2 mounted. These were later retrofitted once the M85 became available. The first upgrades included the replacement of the Commandersâ€™ periscope with the M36E1 periscopic sight with IR
night vision capabilities. While it was an improvement over the M48, especially in armament (having a 105 mm gun, a much roomier M19 Commander Cupola and a diesel engine), the M60 was regarded as somewhat of a stop
gap measure and quickly followed by the next version A1.
The M60A1 was the principal production model from 1963 to 1980. Other than the new roomier turret design with a new mount for the M68 105mm main gun, little was done to the basic M60 chassis excepting minor
changes in hull fittings. Most visible is the addition of a second shock absorber on the #2 roadwheel and a slight the relocation of the first return roller as a result. The M60 turret is organized in typical US
fashion, with the gunner on the right, the commander directly behind him, and the loader on the left and rear of the 105mm gun. The turret interior is roomy in comparison to most other main battle tanks of the
1960â€™s era. The heavier turret needed the addition of an additional pair of shock absorbers to the #2 road wheels. It was able to be placed in production relatively quickly and without serious problems.
was provided by a Continental AVDS-1790-2C 750 hp V-12 engine through an Allison CD-850-6/6A powershift crossdrive transmission. The first M60A1s were issued to regular army units during the spring of 1962, less
than 2 years after the first M60â€™s. Following introduction of the M60A1 into American service it was supplied to U.S. allies, including Austria, Iran, Israel, Jordan and Italy. Italy produced a licence run of 200
M60A1 at OTO MALERA site. The Austrian M60A1 were rebuild into A3 standard by STEYR DAIMLER PUCH in Austria.
Early M60A1 had no gun stabilization system fitted, but this system (AOS add-on-stabilizer) was retrofitted. The AOS provided for enhanced first hit killing rate by keeping the gun close to the aim while on the
move. With the experiences of the IDF in 1973 another step in the M60 development was the introduction of new add-on chin armour for the turret and the use of a new hydraulic fluid with a lower flash point to reduce
the risk of internal fires. In 1974/ 75 the RISE (reliability improvement of selected equipment) program featured a new engine configuration making among others, changing engines much easier. In 1977 the M60A1 was
again upgraded with passive IR sights for the driver, gunner and commander allowing for visibility during the night without the need for IR illumination. These M60 were designated M60A1 RISE/ PASSIVE. This
vehicle became the mainstay of the US Army's tank force into the early 80â€™s.
Weighing 58 tons (52,617 kg) and with a crew of four -- commander, gunner, loader, and driver -- the M60A1 has as its main armament a
105mm gun, a modified British L7 weapon, utilizing an American vertical sliding breech block. This same weapon was also used in the M1 Abrams tank, before it was swapped for a new 120mm gun in the M1A1/A2.
added were a battery of smoke dischargers on either side of the turret, much in the fashion of the M60A3 and T142 tracks with replaceable track pads. Some smoke dischargers were retrofitted locally and the control
cable ran up the side of the turret, protected by small strips of thin armor plate and then entered the turret near the searchlight mount. Those rebuilt at higher echelon depots had holes for the cables bored
directly through the armor on the side. These vehicles were quickly supplied to frontline units overseas such as in Germany, being deployed by early 1979. One batch of vehicles were shipped with a significant flaw
in the bolts holding the torsion bar housing to the hull. These vehicles went to 3rd AD and needed additional work afterwards to repair.
A late M60A1 RISE/ PASSIVE is hardly distinguished from the M60A3. The
major outer differences are the absence of the A3â€™s cross wind sensor, lack of the armoured flap of the TTS and thermal shroud for the main gun.
Going into Desert Shield, the Marines' main battle tank was the M6OA1 ERA (explosive reactive armor). Outfitted with ERA applique armor, it was considered roughly equal to, if lesser-gunned than the best tank in
the Iraqi inventory, the much-vaunted Soviet T-72. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force fielded 210 M60A1â€™s with ERA to support the Saudi-Marine effort into Kuwait City.
These were the first tanks to enter Kuwait during ODS.
The Marine Corps fielded the M1A1 Tank to replace the aging M60A1 RISE/ PASSIVE Tank. The M60 has reached the end of its US service life.
This tank was designed as a tank destroyer, much like the Hellcat and Wolverine tanks of WWII. They were deployed in tank battalions as part of the armored divisions in Europe by the mid 1970â€™s after a prolonged
and troublesome development. During testing numerous problems with the new turret arose, and production did not commence until 1973, and actually ceased in 1975 after only 540 vehicles were build. The M60A1E1
tank was developed in the 1960s, but was not contracted until 1971, when the Army agreed to purchase 526 rebuilt vehicles with the new turret/ gun system. It featured a 152mm Shillelagh gun/missile system (with 13
missiles and 33 rounds). The A2 was also equipped with one of the first laser rangefinders ever fielded. All M60A2 used the chevron type T97 tracks.
The gun-launcher could fire conventional ammunition with a fully combustible charge or the Shillelagh laser guided missile. Shillelagh was designed to be the main armament for armored combat vehicles, the M551
Sheridan, The M60A2 and the future MBT70. It was a direct fire missile which was launched from a combination gun-launcher and was effective against tanks and fortifications. The missile was about 45 inches long,
about six inches in diameter and weighed 60 pounds. After being fired the missile could be guided to the target by a command system mounted on the launch vehicle. The gunner had direct command over guiding the
missile to the target. The missile was equipped with an octal shaped charge. The "shaped charge" was introduced to warfare as an anti-tank device in World War II after its discovery in the late 1930â€™s.
The Ballistic Research Laboratory, an ARL predecessor organization, made several important contributions to the development of shaped-charge technology. BRL scientists delineated the penetration mechanics of the
stretching, high-velocity jet of metal that is formed by the warhead, thus making it possible to design relatively light, inexpensive weapons to defend against tanks.
Guided missiles, such as Shillelagh, TOW,
Dragon, and Hellfire, exploited the high penetration capability of such warheads with accurate fire at long range. Further contributions included the demonstration of tandem shaped-charge warheads and the
application of advanced liner material technology that increased jet velocity and ductility and provided enhanced lethality within existing weapon system envelopes.
The combustible case ammunition caused
severe problems including misfires. Remainders of an earlier round could be left smouldering inside the breech and ignite the subsequent round. Finally this was solved by the introduction of CBSS (closed breech
scavenger system). The CBSS can be understood as a system of high pressurized air used to clear the breech after each shot. M60A2 with CBSS did therefore not feature a bore evacuator. The CBSS pressure system
was fitted in a bulge at the rear of the engine compartment, the so-called CBSS bulge. All service M60A2 had CBSS installed, even those that already had the bore evacuators fitted.
Sarcastically referred to
as the "Starship" by its crews due to its complexity, the M60A2 was an overall disappointment due to many reasons ranging from lack of spare parts to bureaucracy and tactics. It was without a doubt the
most technically advanced tank in the world of its time. Eventually the new turrets were scrapped. Phase-out of the SHILLELAGH/M60A2 system from active Army units was completed in 1981. It was essentially a failure
but provided valuable technical research in preparation for the M-1â€™s. The hulls were mostly rebuild into AVLB.
The first batch of M60A3 entered service in 1978. It was an amalgamation of all updates to the M60A1 plus the addition of M239 smoke dischargers, a thermal shroud for the 105mm main gun and a new rangefinder and
ballistic computer with meteorological sensor on the turret roof. However soon after its introduction a new sub variant entered service. The M60A3 with Tank Thermal Sight (TTS). It incorporates hybrid solid-state
ballistic computer, laser rangefinder, and a turret stabilization system. It was a significantly improved version of its predecessor. All M60A3 have top loading air filters, a thermal shroud (to help prevent
"gun droop") for the 105mm gun and a laser range finder plus new T142 tracks with octagonal rubber blocks. Another visible feature is the armoured flap cover over the range finder housing near the CWS. The
M60A3 had the capability to engage the full spectrum of enemy ground targets with a variety of accurate, point and area fire weapons, incorporated with a shoot-on-the-move capability.
The M60A3 main battle
tank was used as the principal assault weapon of tank battalions during all types of combat operations, conducted under any conditions, from low-intensity conflict to general nuclear and non-nuclear situations as
part of an offensive combined arms team. The M60A3 was employed as the decisive element of army forces to defeat an enemy force. In the role of defense, it was used as a part of a combined arms team to prevent,
resist, repulse, or destroy an enemy attack. The M60A3 (TTS) replaced the M48 series of tanks and the M60A1 tank.
The first A3â€™s were deployed to Germany in mid-1979. The laser rangefinder added significant
capability to the M-60 and many of these are still in active
foreign service or as US OPFOR vehicles. The Tank Thermal Sight was a significant advance and tankers who have operated A3â€™s and M1A1â€™s almost universally stated that the TTS on the M-60A3 was the best thermal imager ever fielded. It was not used on the M1 series due to its cost and large size. With the achievements in US ammunition technology the inferior calibre of the 105mm gun did not play a significant role. With depleted Uranium rounds the 105mm gun was a very effective weapon even compared against larger guns.
The M60A3 has been supplied in significant numbers to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Jordan. M60A3 upgrade kits were sold to other M60 users. The Jordanian M60A3 fleet has only recently (2004/ â€˜05) by Raytheon
with a new IFCS. The IDF has received some 300 M60A3, too.
General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) developed the new version of the M60, the M60-2000, for export. The M60-2000 MBT has been marketed for several years and a number of countries in NATO and the Middle East were
briefed on the vehicle. Following customer feedback, detailed engineering work was carried out and in December 2000 GDLS decided to build a functional prototype.
The General Dynamics 120S is an upgrade of
the M60 tank. The 120 in the designation represents the 120mm smoothbore gun and the S stands for speed and survivability. The earlier M60-2000 designation is no longer considered relevant as so much of the MBT is
The 120S is a unique product that integrates the M1A1 120-mm turret, equipped with a 240X4 Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), onto a fully modernized M60 chassis. The turret is protected with the latest
armor, which was successfully demonstrated to the Turkish Main Battle Tank Committee. The 120S chassis includes an M1A1 suspension system, giving the tank greatly improved cross-country mobility and a stable base
for fire-on-the-move accuracy similar to the Abrams tank. The new 120S is fully functional, ready to accept a powerpack of the customerâ€™s choice. To achieve mobility similar to an M1A2 Abrams tank, a
1200-horsepower AVDS-1790-9A engine is available. The upgraded AVDS-1790-9A 1200HP diesel is similar to that used on the M88A2 and Merkava vehicles. The engine is mated to M1 Allison X-1100-5 transmission and Abrams
final drives. However, other propulsion options are also possible.
The 120S makes existing M60 fleets relevant by increasing their capability to close to that of the M1A1 Abrams tankâ€™s performance at half
the price. Also of significance is the fact that the 120S upgrade components are in production with logistical and operational support readily available through the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. The 120S offers a
pragmatic approach to potential customers.
The first potential customer was Turkey. General Dynamics Land Systems has offered to build a prototype of its proposed M60-2000 upgrade of the M60A3 main battle
tank to be evaluated by Egypt.
On 27 September 2001, General Dynamics introduced its 120S Main Battle Tank during the opening ceremonies at IDEF 2001 in Ankara, Turkey. General Dynamics Land Systems rolled out a
fully functional prototype of its 120S main battle tank (MBT) at its Detroit facility in early August 2001.
General Dynamics engineering shop produced a first phase prototype vehicle. It had a M1A1 functional
turret and suspension system with the M1 gear box, hydraulic pump and M1A1 slip ring. The hull has adapters fitted so the M1A1 rotary shock absorbers, torsions bars and T-158 track can be used. Hull sides had
M1A1-like sponsons and ballistic side skirts.
AS LATEST UPDATE YOU WILL FIND AN ARTICLE TAKEN FROM JANEâ€™S DEFENCE, TAKEN FROM THEIR WEBSITE www.janes.com
During the early 1980â€™s Teledyne developed another M60 upgrade, the Super M60 based on the M60A3 with a new armor suite. Only one mockup was build and none sold.
The Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge was designed to launch and retrieve a class 60 bridge. One AVLB is allocated to each Armored Cavalry Squadron or Armored Battalion as well as to other formations requiring this
ability, including Combat Engineer Companies. The bridge and fittings are essentially the same as the M48 version. Most M60A2 hulls have been rebuild to AVLB tanks.
The M60A1 AVLB is an armored vehicle used
for launching and retrieving a 60-foot scissors-type bridge. The AVLB consists of three major sections: the launcher, the hull, and the bridge. The launcher is mounted as an integral part of the chassis. The bridge,
when emplaced, is capable of supporting tracked and wheeled vehicles with a military load bearing capacity up to Class 60. The bridge can be retrieved from either end. The roadway width of the AVLB is 12 feet, 6
inches. Bridge emplacement can be accomplished in 2 to 5 minutes, and retrieval can be accomplished in 10 minutes under armor protection. When unfolded, it can span up to 60 feet while supporting 70 tons of
equipment. The AVLB spans a 15m gap for Military Load Class (MLC) 70, and spans an 18m gap for MLC 60.
Used during combat, an AVLB is a folding portable bridge that is transported on the top of a tank
chassis. The AVLB vehicle carries a crew of two. It is powered by a 750 HP Diesel Engine. The bridge and vehicle total weight is 58 tons. Unfunded improvements are available in the areas of bridge, suspension,
hydraulics, final drives, electrical, and water rations heater. These improvements will allow the AVLB to keep up with current Abrams Assault Force. The Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) only supports Abrams
tank units using a caution crossing at reduced gap length (15 meters) and at a reduced crossing speed. The M60A1 Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge entered the Marine Corps inventory in the late 1980â€™s. Current plan
has the AVLB in use through 2015 and beyond. The M1 based WOLVERINE will replace the AVLB in the Engineer combat vehicle inventory.
The M60 Armored Vehicle Launched Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC or AVLM) is an M60 Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) with the bridge downloaded. Mounting up to 2 MICLICS, it is more survivable and
manoeuvrable than the M58 MICLIC towed trailer. The modification of the AVLB into an AVLM is a temporary expedient. The decision to operate as an AVLM in no way eliminates the responsibility of maintaining a fully
Engineers use it to clear a path through obstacles without having to dismount. The MICLIC must be prepared for firing before it is moved forward for deployment. This preparation time will
minimize soldiers' exposure to enemy contact.
One of the most dangerous tasks an engineer squad can face is dismounting and breaching a minefield under fire. Each lane reduction elements is built around an
engineer platoon that has been reinforced with a plow/roller tank, an AVLM, and a Bradley Squad. An engineer platoon may use a pair of MICLICâ€™s as the primary technique to breach a minefield. The AVLMs take up a
position 15-20 meters behind or to the side of the lead tank and fires one of its two MICLICâ€™s. As soon as the engineer platoon fires the second MICLIC, the engineer squads employ manual explosive techniques to
push additional lanes through the minefield. The lanes are spaced at least 100 meters apart to reduce artillery effects. The MICLIC firings will attract enemy artillery fires to the lane location, minimizing risk to
the dismounted breach squads. If plow tanks are available they would be plowing lanes either alongside or in place of the dismounted engineer squads. The infantry squads provide local security throughout the
operation. Roller/plow tanks move up and detect the forward edge of the mine fields and back off 50 meters providing near side security. Engineer squads towards the rear of the formation place far recognition
signals to guide follow-on units into lanes. Each lane is individually designated either by color or number to control movement through the breach.
Conducting the breach with a MICLIC towed by a squad M113 not
only exposes the squad to fires in a lightly armored vehicle but also presents the possibility of losing two breaching assets at the enemy minefield. The loss of two breaching assets can also occur if the AVLM is
used. Commanders and engineers must consider the risk of losing sappers and other breach assets when planning for breaching operations.
The MICLIC system suffered from several serious shortcomings during the
Gulf War. Engineer after-action reports from Desert Storm concluded that units placed an over-reliance on the MICLIC as the answer to all their breaching problems. This was due to the ignorance of threat mine
capabilities, poor MICLIC training at home station, and the general lack of an effective training device or training strategy. During test firings the system suffered a 50-percent failure rate.
The Mine-Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC) is a critical mobility asset-even with its limitations:
The MICLIC line charges sink due to settling, which may cause them to deploy erratically and/or misfire.
Some rockets come unlocked due to excessive stress on the launcher rail, while
travelling across rough terrain with the rocket attached to the MICLIC launcher.
Excessive speed may require that the MICLIC
spend more time at the assault position rather than moving quickly forward to fire.
Even when the MICLIC fires successfully it can only clear a 100-meter-long path in an obstacle. This is excellent for small
obstacles but not for the deep obstacles found in many breaching operations. The MICLIC has a "skip zone" where mines are left untouched. Also, deeply buried mines, non-pressure-fuse mines, and
overpressure-resistant mines are very resilient against the MICLIC.
The M60 Panther is an M60 Patton tank specially modified for mine clearing missions. Modifications include the removal the turret, and installation of mine rollers on the front of the vehicle and Omnitech's
Standardized Teleoperation System (STS). STS-equipped M60â€™s have cleared antipersonnel and antitank mines in Bosnia and Kosovo. Omnitech's STS kit allows these vehicles to be operated from a safe distance,
preventing injury to military personnel involved in this extremely hazardous mission.
The M728 entered service in 1966 and saw limited service in Vietnam. It served to build positions, provide engineer support as well as firepower. The CEV is used by combat engineers to attack obstacles, build
fighting positions and provide crane capabilities. It has a 165mm short-barreled modified British L9A1 cannon and carried 30 rounds of high explosive ammunition. The demolition gun may be elevated or
depressed for use at various ranges up to 925 meters and is coaxial mounted with a 7.62mm machine gun. A .50 calibre machine gun is cupola mounted. This was used to destroy bunkers or obstacles. The crane is an
A-frame configuration operable from inside the turret and capable of lifting 9 tons, more than adequate for most breaching and engineering operations. It is also able to aid in recovery and repair of armored
The M9 dozer blade mounted to the front of the chassis is used to move earth, from building fighting positions to filling in tank ditches and destroying roadblocks. Later versions of the
vehicle include a 25,000-pound winch to pull out mired armored vehicles. During Desert Storm â€˜91 a modified verson of the M728 CEV with a newly designed mine clearing rake was fielded. This provides a wider
cleared path for the M1 to follow through minefields.The full width rake allows the CEV to clear minefields in non-cohesive, granular soils. The Mine Clearing Rake is a V-shaped tined plough that performs
countermine activities by lifting buried mines with its tines and pushing them to the side as it moves. Attached to a M728 CEV or M60 tank via a Dozer Kit, the Mine Clearing Rake also utilizes an aluminium skid
shoe, which protrudes from the front of the tines and allows the rake to maintain a consistent plowing. It clears a path measuring 180 inches wide, accommodating heavy tanks and other armored vehicles. The devices
operations are limited to soft sandy soil. Additional features are that it weighs 4000 pounds, and is easily assembled and installed.
The CEV is issued two per Engineer Company in the Heavy Division, two per
Engineer Company in Corps (Mechanized), three per Engineer Company in Armor/Infantry Separate Brigades and three per Engineer Company in the Armored Cavalry Regiment.
During Operation Desert Storm the CEV
proved unable to manoeuvre with the heavy force due to the inability of the M60 chassis and power train to keep pace with the M1A1. Many manoeuvre units simply left the CEV behind rather than slow their manoeuvre.
Such was the case with the Mine Rake mounted on the CEV. Commanders planned for their use as a part of the deliberate breaching operation but left them behind once they began the pursuit and exploitation phase of
the operation. Commanders were unanimous in their opinion that the engineer force needs M1 chassis' for heavy breaching and gap crossing equipment. The M728 still serves today in the National Guard and Reserve.
The M-60 has also been fitted with a variety of other attachments, from mine plows to mine flails. It has been sold around the world and still serves with the Israeli, ROK and many other
armies, as well as the National Guard. The Israelis have been especially effective in the use of the M-60 and its variants. Despite the introduction of the Merkava and its variants, the Magâ€™ach serve with
front-line Israeli units. These include heavily modified with spaced and/or reactive armor, additional machine guns, smoke units as well as tracks, but the hulls are the same old M60 hulls.
purchased M-60 hulls and mounted surplus M-48 turrets on it, equipped with the 105MM gun and advanced systems, making it equivalent to the M-48A5 above the turret line while possessing the advantages of the M-60
below. It is called the Brave Tiger, CM-11. The Koreans also field an M60-A3 with some of their own variations.
M60 Patton in Action, by Jim Mesko, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1986
Warmachines No. 3, M60A3, Francois Verlinden, Verlinden Publications
M60 by Michael Green Greg Stewart, Concord Publications, 1992