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M60 Patton

Main battle tank

M60 Patton MBT

The M60 Patton is the first main battle tank, built in the United States

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1960
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 52.6 t
Length (gun forward) 9.44 m
Hull length 6.95 m
Width 3.63 m
Height 3.27 m
Armament
Main gun 105 mm rifled
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm, 1 x 12.7 mm
Elevation range - 10 to + 20 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 60 rounds
Machine guns 6 000 x 7.62 mm, 900 x 12.7 mm
Mobility
Engine Continental AVDS-1970-2 diesel
Engine power 750 hp
Maximum road speed 48 km/h
Range 480 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.91 m
Trench 2.59 m
Fording 1.22 m
Fording (with preparation) 2.4 m

 

   Development of the M60 Patton began in 1957. It was designed to counter the threat posed by the Soviet T-54 and T-55 medium tanks, that were superior in all aspects to the US M48 medium tanks. First prototypes were built in 1958-1959. The M60 was the first Main Battle Tank (MBT), built in the United States. It was designed around a new concept of general-purpose medium tank, that had the firepower of a heavy tank and a weight and mobility of a medium tank. At that time anti-tank weapons outpaced armor development. By the 1960s anti-tank rounds could easily penetrate up to a meter of steel, so importance of heavy tanks was diminishing. The new US main battle tank was well armed and well armored, highly mobile, yet it was cheap enough to be built in large numbers. Production contract was awarded to Chrysler for a first batch of 180 MBTs. Production of the M60 commenced in 1960 at the Detroit Tank Plant. However the initial version was produced only for 2 years. In 1962 it was replaced in production by improved M60A1 MBT. Introduction of the M60 Patton soon made the heavy US tanks obsolete. The definitive version was the M60A3. It was adopted by the US Army in 1978. Production of the M60 series ceased in 1987. More than 15 000 of M60 series tanks and variants were produced for the US Army and export customers. A number of these tanks were exported to US allies and remain operational to this day. Foreign operators include Israel (1 400 MBTs of various models), Egypt (700 M60A1 and 1 016 M60A3), Iran (approximately 200 M60A1), Italy (300 M60A1), Saudi Arabia (450 M60A1 and M60A3), Australia (170 M60A3), Turkey, Taiwan, and a number of other countries.

   In terms of design the M60 is a further development of the M48 medium tank. It has similar outlines as the M48. A number of components were carried over from the M48A2. However the M60 featured significantly improved armored protection, more powerful armament and engine. Also this tank had many advanced equipment.

   The Patton tank has a cast homogenous steel armor hull and turret. The M60 was better protected than the previous M48. New commander's cupola with heavy machine gun was added.

   The early model (sometimes referred as M60A0) had the M48 turret. However it was fitted with a more powerful M68 105 mm rifled gun. It was a British L7 tank gun, license-produced in the the United States. At the time the L7 was a standard NATO tank gun. It was used on contemporary tanks, such as French AMX-30 and German Leopard 1. The gun of the M60 could be replaced in field conditions. The M60 could penetrate 120 mm of rolled homogenous armor at a range of 2 000 meters. A total of 60 rounds of 5 types were carried for the main gun. These include APFSDS, APDS, HEAT, HESH and smoke rounds.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. There is also a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, mounted in the commanders cupola. It is fired under full armor protection.

   Some M60 tanks were fitted with a searchlight over the main gun.

   The M60 was the first US tank, fitted a with diesel engine. Previous US tanks were powered by petrol engines. The M60 was fitted with a Continental AVDS-1790-2 diesel engine, developing 750 horsepower. This engine can be replaced in field conditions within 4 hours. The M60 tank has a torsion bar-type suspension, which is made up of six road wheels with the idler at the rear, with three track return rollers.

   The M60 Patton and its variants could accept a variety of combat engineer equipment, including mine rollers, mine plows, and dozer blades. These allow the tank to proof, breach, or clear minefields while in contact with the enemy. Dozer blades also allow for many other capabilities, such as clearing debris, cutting roads in contested terrain, digging entrenchments and other earthworks.

   Some export operators of the M60 Patton MBT locally applied a number of improvements to their tanks in order to increase their survivability.

 

Variants

 

   M60A0 is an initial production version of the M60. It was produced only for 2 years between 1960 and 1962, when production switched to the improved M60A1 version.

   M60A1 is an improved version, produced since 1962. It was fitted with a new turret, which was better protected. Ammunition load was increased by 3 rounds to 63 rounds. An explosive reactive armor kit was developed for the US army tanks, however it was not fielded by the US Army. Though this kit was used by the US Marines during operations in the Middle East in 1991.

   M60A1 AOS variant introduced gun stabilization to the series (AOS stand for Add-On Stabilization). It appeared in 1972.

   M60A1 RISE is a further improved version, fitted with a Continental AVDS-1790-2G RISE diesel engine. This was a more capable engine with longer service life. This version appeared in 1975.

   M60A2 fitted with gun/missile armament. This tank was nicknamed Starship due to its sophisticated technology. It was developed as a force multiplier for units, operating the Patton MBTs. It had a new turret with an M162 152 mm gun/missile launcher. A similar gun was previously used on an M551 Sheridan light tank. This gun could fire both ordinary munitions and MGM-51 Shillelagh anti-tank guided missiles. The M60A2 entered service with the US Army in 1972. A total of 526 (other sources mention 540) of these tanks were built. However the M60A2 proved to be a failure and was soon withdrawn from active service, but were still operated by reserve units for some time. Later most of M60A2 tanks were rebuilt to the M60A3. Some hulls were converted to AVLB bridgelayers and armored engineer vehicles.

   M60A3 is a further improved version of the M60A1. It was adopted by the US Army in 1978. Several improvements were incorporated into the M60A3 beginning in 1980, including the Tank Thermal Sight (TTS) and steel roadwheels, which were gradually back-fitted into most of the preceding M60A3s, along with many M60A1s as well. This tank featured new fire control system and had significantly improved fire accuracy. Its hit probability for a stationary tank-size target, located 2 000 m away was 70%, while the M60A1 had hit probability for the same target of only 23%. Unreliable coaxial M219 7.62 mm machine gun was replaced by a much newer M240 machine gun. Main gun was fitted a thermal sleeve. Protection of the M60A3 was slightly improved by adding Kevlar spall liner to the turret. The tank was also fitted with smoke grenade dischargers. The M60A3's appearance is almost indistinguishable from the M60A1. Key indicators are a crosswind sensor mounted atop the turret bustle, a cluster of smoke grenade dischargers on either side of the glacis plate, and a thermal sleeve wrapped around the gun tube in front of the fume extractor. Some M60A1s were back-fitted these as well, but no M60A3s are ever without them. A total of 7 948 M60A3 tanks were newly-built and over 5 400 older M60A1 tanks were upgraded to the M60A3 standard. Production of the M60A3 finally ended in 1987. The US Marines never operated M60A3s, although some of its systems (notably the RISE powerpack and TTS sights) were back-fitted into the US Marine Corps M60A1s. By 2016, the largest users of the M60A3 were Egypt (1 016, plus 700 older M60A1 tanks), Turkey (658, plus 104 M60A1 RISE and 170 M60T), Taiwan (450), Saudi Arabia (450), Morocco (427), Bahrain (180) and Thailand (125).

   M728 CEV armored engineer vehicle (312 built). It is based on a modified M60A1 chassis. The main gun was replaced with a 165 mm demolition gun.

   M60 AVLB armored bridgelayer (400 built). It is based on a modified M60A1 chassis.

   M60 Panther remotely-controlled mine clearing vehicle.

 

 

 
M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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M60 Patton MBT

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