The M60 Patton is the first main battle tank, built in the USA. Development of the M60 began in 1957.
It was designed to counter the threat posed by Soviet T-54 and T-55 medium tanks, that were superior in all aspects to the US M48 medium tanks.
First vehicles were built in 1959 and contract was awarded to Chrysler for a batch of 180 MBTs.
Production commenced in 1960 and ended in 1987.
In terms of design, the M60 is a further development of the M26, M46, M47 and M48 tanks.
A number of components were carried over from the M48A2 medium tank. However, the M60 featured significantly improved armored protection, more powerful armament and engine.
The M60 Patton main battle tank is armed with British L7 105-mm rifled gun, which was license-produced in the USA as the M68.
This tank gun could be replaced in field conditions if necessary.
The M60 could penetrate 120-mm armor at a range of 2 000 meters. A total of 60 rounds for the main gun of five types were carried.
Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and remotely controlled 12.7-mm machine gun, mounted in the commander’s cupola.
The Patton has a cast homogenous steel armor hull and turret.
The M60 was fitted with the Continental AVDS-1790-2 diesel engine, developing 750 horsepower.
The engine can be replaced in field conditions in 4 hours. It is worth mentioning that it was the first US tank, fitted with a diesel powerplant.
Previous vehicles were powered by petrol engines. The Patton 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.
Production of the M60 lasted only two years, as in 1962 it was replaced by improved M60A1 MBT.
The M60 Patton MBT was widely exported. Foreign operators include Israel (1400 MBTs of various models), Egypt (700 M60A1 and 735 M60A3), Iran (approximately 200 M60A1), Italy (300 M60A1), Saudi Arabia (approximately 250 M60A3), Australia (170 M60A3), and a number of other countries. Some operators of the M60 Patton MBT locally applied a number of improvements to increase its protection.
M60A1 was fitted with a new turret, which offered better protection.
The main gun was fitted with improved stabilization equipment and ammunition load was increased by 3 rounds.
In 1975 the M60A1 was fitted with the Continental AVDS-1790-2G RISE diesel engine, developing more power.
This engine also had longer service life;
M60A2 Starship, fitted with gun/missile armament. It was developed as a force multiplier for units, operating the Patton MBTs;
M60A3, developed in 1980. The M60A3 main battle tank features new fire control system and has improved fire accuracy.
It’s hit probability for a stationary tank-size target, located 2 000 m away is 70%, while the M60A1 had hit probability for the same target of only 23%.
The unreliable M219 coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun was replaced by the M240.
The main gun received a thermal sleeve.
Protection of the M60A3 was slightly improved by Kevlar spall liner, fitted to the turret.
It was also fitted with smoke grenade dischargers. Approximately 1 700 M60A3 main battle tanks were produced by 1982 and 1 700 M60A1 were upgraded to the M60A3 standard.
*This article was originally published at www.military-today.com