M60 Tank (Firepower Pictorials Special 1027)
By Michael Green, Greg Stewart
Publisher: Concord Publications 1992 66 Pages
PDF 12 MB
The U.S. Army's Ml Abrams Main Baffle Tank has dominated the civilian press and the military trade journals since the first production model rolled off the assembly line in February. 1980, with untold numbers of stories about its development, fielding, and problems both real and imagined.
Unfortunately, forgotten by many is the fact that the M60 family of tanks will still make up over fifty percent of the U.S. Army's inventory of main battle tanks until the late 1990s.
With the recent thaw in cold war tensions and the announced defense cutbacks by the U.S. Army, use of the M60 tank could last Into the 21st Century both with the U.S. tank fleet and foreign armies.
The history of the M60 tank begins in 1959 when a modified version of the M48A2 Pafton was introduced with a new front hull, a diesel engine, and a 105mm gun. To highlight the improvement over the earlier vehicle, it was redesignated as the 105mm gun tank M60. The M60 series of tanks had, since the beginning of Its production run in early 1960, been considered to be only an interim vehicle intended to serve the U.S. Army until the ideal tank could be designed and built. But, 15,000 tanks later, the M60 tank is still in service around the world. Numerous development programs helped to extend the useful life of the tank and kept it viable as a combat vehicle. Fortunately, the basic design was sound and easily accommodated the many modifications added to it over the years.
The last production version of the M60 tank was the M60A3, which was first introduced into US Army service In 1978.
The external appearance of the M60A3 tank is not very different from the M60A1 tank model. Only the thermal shroud on the gun tube, the wind sensor on top of the turret bustle, and the laser safety shield on the right side rangefinder blister distinguish it as an A3 model.
Unique features of the A3 are its Ml tank type fire control system, which include a laser rangefinder. solid state electronic computer, and a tank thermal sight (TTS for short).
The (TTS) provides a large improvement over image intensification sights as tound on earlier models of the M60 tank. It employs thermal technology so that its detection range is not dependent on moon or starlight. It "sees" as well in total darkness as it does in daylight and can detect targets through smoke, fog, and dust. It can also penetrate camouflage because it senses the heat of objects hidden by natural or manmade materials.