M60 Patton

M60 Patton

Infobox Weapon

type=Main battle tank
origin=United States
service= 1960 - early 1990s (USA)
wars= Yom Kippur, Vietnam, Iran-Iraq, Gulf, Iraq
manufacturer=Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Chrysler
variants= Many, see the variants section
weight=M60: 50.7 tons (46 tonnes)
M60A1 52 to 54 tons depending on turret design.
length=M60: 22.79' (6.94 m)
width=M60: 11.92' (3.6 m)
height=M60: 10.54' (3.2 m)
armour=150 mm (6.12")
primary_armament=105 mm (4.1") M68 gun (M60/A1/A3)
152mm (6 in) M162 Gun/Launcher (M60A2)
secondary_armament= .50 (12.7 mm) M85
7.62 mm machine gun
engine=Continental AVDS-1790-2 V12 air cooled, twin turbocharged diesel
engine_power=750 hp
pw_ratio=14.5 hp/ton
suspension=Torsion bars
clearance=15.3" (389 mm)
vehicle_range=300 miles (480 km)
speed=30 mph (48 km/h)

The M60 Patton was the fourth and last of the Patton series medium tanks of the U.S Army. A further development of the M48 Patton, it was the U.S. Army's main battle tank during the Cold War. In service 1960 through the 1990s, it was widely used by U.S. Cold War allies, especially those in NATO.

Though superseded by the M1 Abrams, the M60 remains in service in militaries throughout the globe. Currently, Egypt is the largest operator with 1,700 upgraded M60A3s, Turkey second with more than 900 upgraded units in service, and Israel third with over 700 upgraded variants.


In 1957, plans were laid in the US for a tank with a 105 mm main gun and a redesigned hull offering better armor protection.

While the M60 Patton which resulted largely resembled the M48 it was based on, there were significant differences: the M60 mounted a bore evacuated 105 mm main gun to the M48's 90mm, had a hull with a straight front slope where the M48's was rounded, three support rollers per side to the M48's five, and aluminum road wheels instead of steel.

The improved design incorporated a Continental V-12 750 hp air-cooled, twin-turbocharged diesel engine, extending operational range to over 300 miles while reducing both refueling and servicing. Power was transmitted to a final drive through a cross drive transmission, a combined transmission, differential, steering, and braking unit.

The hull of the M60 was a single piece steel casting divided into two compartments, with the crew in front and engine behind. Initially, the M60 had essentially the same turret as the M48, subsequently replaced with a distinctive "needlenose" design that minimized frontal cross-section to enemy fire.

The M60 was the last U.S. tank to mount a version of the M60 machine gun, be protected with simple steel armor, and have sufficient ground clearance to feature an escape hatch under the hull clearance.

Originally designated the M68, the new vehicle was put into production in 1959, reclassified as the M60, and entered service in 1960. Over 15,000 M60s (all variants) were constructed.


In 1963, the M60 was upgraded to the M60A1. This new variant, which stayed in production until 1980, featured a larger, better-shaped turret and improvements to the armor protection and shock absorbers. The M60A1 was also equipped with a stabilization system for the main gun. However, the M60A1 was still not able to fire on the move, as the system only kept the gun pointed in the same general direction while the tank was traveling cross country. It did however enable the coaxial machine gun to be brought to bear while moving with some accuracy.

M60A2 'Starship'

(AVLB) vehicles. [ [http://www.patton-mania.com/M60_Patton/m60_patton.html Patton Mania M60] ]

M60A3 Patton

In 1978, work began on the M60A3 variant. It featured a number of technological enhancements, including smoke dischargers, a new rangefinder and ballistic computer, and a turret stabilization system. All active American M60s eventually underwent the conversion to the A3 model.

The M60A3 was phased out of US service in the early 1990s, but it remained a front-line MBT into the 21st century for a number of other countries.

While overall a less effective tank than the M1 Abrams, the M60A3 did have some advantages over M1 models:

*The M60A3 had a notably better thermal imaging system than that of M1 up into the 21st century, until many M1s had newer ones installed. It was, however considerably noisier, emitting a loud clicking sound audible several meters outside the vehicle.
*The M60A3 had an exterior phone for infantry to talk directly to the crew inside. This feature was also installed on some USMC M1A1s in Iraq and is now being incorporated into all active Abrams.
*The diesel had lower performance, but also had lower cost, maintenance and better fuel efficiency.
*The exhaust temperature of an M1's turbine is very high, which makes it dangerous for infantry to take cover behind it, rather than the diesel engine on an M60A3.
*The escape hatch located under the hull of the M60A3 is not present in the M1 Abrams, making it more difficult for the crew to bail out of a battle-damaged Abrams than a M60A3.
*The M60 series' L68A1 105mm main gun fires a much wider variety of ammunition than the currently used 120mm smoothbore on the M1 series, including a dedicated HE (High Explosive) round, a flechette round (commonly known as 'beehive') and a White Phosphorus smoke round, among others.
*The M60 series includes instrumentation enabling indirect fire as ad-hoc artillery if needed.

Service history

Though not used as a main battle tank in the Vietnam War, two variants of the M60 had limited deployment, the AVLB and the CEV. The Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge, commonly referred to as the "Bridge tank" was mounted on an M60 Patton tank hull, and the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle was an M60 Patton mounting a short-tubed 165mm main gun that fired a shaped charge. [http://www.patton-mania.com/M60_Patton/m60_patton.html]

M60s and M60A1s saw action with Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in both the Sinai and the Golan Heights. The United States sent additional M60s to Israel just before and during hostilities. Following the war, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) received many more M48s, M60s and M60A1s from the U.S. Israel further upgraded their inventory of M60s prior to their use in the invasion of Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon War. The Israeli modifications included new tracks and Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA). This variant was known as the Magach. Further work in Israel has been done on the upgraded Magach models, adding new armor, new fire control system, a thermal sleeve and smoke dischargers. The latest versions, the Magach 7 (with variants A through C), are still in use with the IDF.

The M60A1 RISE (Passive) of the U.S. Marines saw limited action in the Gulf War in opposition to Iraqi tanks that included the T-54, T-55, T-62, Type 69, and the T-72. The M60A1s were fitted with reactive add-on armor packages and supported the drive into Kuwait City where they were involved in a two day tank battle at the Kuwait airport with the loss of only one vehicle and no crew. They saw service with the United States Marine Corps, and the Saudi Arabian Army.

As of 2005, M60 variants are in service with Austria, Bahrain, Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Israel, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Taiwan, Thailand and some other nations to varying degrees Fact|date=April 2008. Also, the US continues to have significant stockpiles of them waiting to be scrapped, sold-off, converted, or used as targets in weapons testing, although some vehicles that use the chassis are still in use. Most of those still used are much upgraded models. Pattons formed the basis for many 'new' tank designs, some using the chassis but with all-new turrets others using various upgrade packages.

Overall, the M60A1/A3s outperformed opposing tanks such as T-55s, T-62s, T-72s and Type 69s in various conflicts including the Yom Kippur war and the battle for the Kuwait airport that involved hundreds of tanks in a 2-day, all out battle with only one vehicle lost on the US side. The Marine Corps M60A1s had ERA that helped protect them, and the Iraqi tank crews were not well trained and using poorly maintained equipment. During the Yom Kippur War, the M60 tank proved effective versus T-54/55 and T-62 tanks. However, many Israeli M60s were destroyed by Egyptian troops armed with AT-3 Sagger anti-tank missiles. Most of these casualties were in the first few days following the Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. Once the Egyptian armor left the cover of the infantry and the Sagger, they were defeated in head to head combatFact|date=April 2008 with Israeli armor using a variety of armored vehicles including the M48 and M60.

There were also a number of prototype upgrades evaluated in the U.S., which were passed over in favor of simply producing more M1 Abrams. Due to the end of the Cold War, surplus US Army M1 tanks were absorbed into the remaining USMC units allowing the Marine Corps to transition to an all M1 tank force at reduced cost.

The M60A3 participated in CAS trials with the F-16 in the 1980s.

During the 1991 Gulf War / Desert Storm at least one US Air Force unit was equipped with M60s. The 401st TFW (P), deployed to Doha, Qatar had two M60s intended 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. [ [http://www.lucky-devils.net The Gulf War with the 401TFW/614TFS Lucky Devils] ]

Actual Patton tanks appeared in many U.S. films made after World War II, and became the stereotypical image of the Cold War U.S. tank. Ironically, in many American films Patton tanks are used to portray enemy tanks.

An M60A3 TTS was also involved in a police chase, when one was stolen by Shawn Nelson from an Army National Guard armory and taken on a rampage through San Diego, California. The driver was killed by police when he refused to surrender after the tank got stuck on concrete freeway dividers. News footage of this incident has been shown numerous times on World's Wildest Police Videos and other such programs.


*XM60/M60 - Bearing a strong familial resemblance to the M48, the M60 has a wedge shaped hull, three return rollers, and aluminum road wheels, features not found on previous M48s. Featured a turret with 105 mm M68 gun. Early versions did not have the commander's cupola.
*M60A1 - First variant to feature the distinctive "needle-nose" long nosed turret, along with better armor protection and improved hydraulics.
**M60A1 AOS - Add-On Stabilization, introduced in 1972 for the M68 gun.
**M60A1 RISE - Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment, featured improvements of almost all the basic systems including an upgraded engine design that allowed easier access to components to allow removing the engine pack in less time and a new track type, T142, that helped reduce wear and improve track life.
**M60A1 RISE Passive - RISE, but with a smaller infra-red/white light capable search-light and passive night vision equipment. USMC M60A1 RISE Passives were outfitted with explosive reactive armor (ERA) in the late 1980s.
*M60A1E1 - Developmental test vehicles fitted with the 152 mm M162 gun-missile launchers.
**M60A1E2/M60A2 - Turret design finalized, giving the distinctive "starship" look. A variant was tested with a remote controlled 20 mm cannon as well.
*M60A1E3 - prototype, M60A1E2 fitted with 105 mm gun.
*M60A1E4 - Experimental type with remote control weapons.
*M60A3 - M60A1 fitted with a laser rangefinder, solid state ballistic computer, and a crosswind sensor.
**M60A3 TTS - Tank Thermal Sight; M60A3s fitted with the AN/VSG-2 thermal sight.
*M60 Super/AX - Uparmored versions with minor improvements. Main version awas also featured no optical rangefinder.
*M60-2000/120S - M60/Abrams hybrid vehicle developed by General Dynamics Land Division. Not adopted by the United States military.

pecialized variants

*M60A1 AVLB - Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge, 60 foot scissors bridge on M60A1 chassis.
*M60 AVLM - Armored Vehicle Launched MICLIC (Mine-Clearing Line Charge), modified AVLB with up to 2 MICLIC on M60 chassis.
*M60 Panther - M60 modified into a remotely controlled mine clearing tank.
*M728 CEV - M60A1-based 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. Commonly fitted with the D7 bulldozer blade, or a mine-clearing equipment.
**M728A1 - Upgraded version of the M728 CEV.

"Additional equipment":
*M9 - Bulldozer and earthmoving equipment for the M60.

International variants

Egyptian Army in operation bright star.]

*Israeli/ Turkish variants - The Sabra (AKA. M60T) has been designed by a team of Israeli and Turkish engineers in order to upgrade Turkey's M60A1's. The first prototype was shipped to Turkey in late 2005 for testing. Serial upgrades commenced in mid 2007. It has been stated that the Sabra modernization creates a whole new tank. The modernization program includes the Elbit Systems electric gun and turret drive stabilization mechanism with a new fire control system (built by Aselsan of Turkey) and a new 120mm MG253 smoothbore gun (built by MKEK of Turkey). In addition, the upgraded tank is equipped with thermal imaging system, an automatic fire and explosion suppression system, a threat warning system, smoke grenade launchers and a 60 mm mortar system (supplied by Soltam Ltd). The upgrade program also encompasses the Merkava Mk.IV add-on armour technology and explosive reactive armour (ERA), 1000 hp MTU Friedrichshafen diesel engine/transmission, full system modernization and integration capability, a new improved and improved version of Merkava Mk.IV tracks, RWR/IR warning system and NBC protection. [ [http://www2.ssm.gov.tr/katalog2007/eng/urunler.html TURKISH DEFENCE INDUSTRY PRODUCTS M60 T] ] [ [http://www.ssm.gov.tr/EN/Projeler/karaaraclari/prjgrptank/Pages/M60A1__K.aspx M60 Tank Modernization Project] ] [ [http://www.imi-israel.com/news.aspx?FolderID=13&docID=678 JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY - JUNE 06, 2007] ] M60T is also known as Sabra Mk. III.
**E-60 - basically unmodified main production M60
**E-60A - basically unmodified M60A1
***E-60A Dozer - version with M9 bulldozer kit installed
**E-60B - basically unmodified M60A3
*Egyptian variants - M60A3 tanks in Egyptian service are upgraded with better diesel engine of 1080 hp output, modern fire control & ballistics computers, infrared devices, modern laser range-finders, and added armor including reactive armor & better suspension . Not all conversions have been done, they are to be done by the end of 2008. A further conversion to the M60A3 is scheduled between 2009 and 2012 to about 1000 tanks out of the current fleet of 1700, to replace the current turret with the M1A1 turret with a major uparmoring of the chassis and replace the transmission and suspenssion systems with a better one to suit the added weight of the tank. Armor platting will be covering the front, back and the side skirts. A German 1500 HP diesel engine will be replacing the current one, and the main armament will be the 120 mm smooth bore found on the M1A1. This will eventually increase the weight of the tank to 65 tons.
*Mazin - Jordanian modified M60A3.
*VLPD 26/70E - Spanish Army bridgelayer based on the M60 with "Leguan bridge system".
*Israeli variants - Many of the Israeli M60's have been upgraded with additional reactive or passive armor, drastically improving their armor protection. These uparmored versions are called Magach 6 / Magach 7.


*BIH - 45 M60A3
*BRA - 91 M-60A3 [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/brazil/army-equip.htm Army Equipment - Brazil] ]
*EGY - 1700 M60A3
*GRE - 306 M-60A3TTS (to be retired)
*IRN - 950 M-60A3
*ISR - 711 Magach 6 Archuv and Magach 6 Archuv 2, 111 Magach 7 (to be increased by 74 before 2010). [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/army-equipment.htm Army Equipment - Israel] ]
*MAR - 560
*OMA - 73
*POR - 100 M60A3TTS
*SAU - 450 M60A1 and M60A3
*ESP - 260 M60A3TTS
*ROC-TW - 450 M60A3 [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/taiwan/army-inventory.htm Army Equipment - Taiwan] ]
*THA - 53
*TUN - 84
*TUR - 925 M60A3TTS/M60A1 RISE-Passive (170 M60A1 upgraded to Sabra Level)Fact|date=July 2008
*YEM - 240

Former Operators


ee also

*M46 Patton
*M47 Patton
*M48 Patton
*M88 Recovery Vehicle - An armored recovery variant based on the M48/M60 Patton tanks chassis and part of the automotive component.
*List of armoured fighting vehicles
*M103 heavy tank
*M1 Abrams

References and notes

External links

* [http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/m60.html AFV Database: M60 Patton]
* [http://www.patton-mania.com/ Patton-Mania]
* [http://www.militaryimages.net/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/12027/limit/recent: MilitaryImages.Net: M60 Patton]

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