Skip to comments.Raytheon Can Turn Old American-Made M60A3 Tanks Into Killing Machines
Posted on 05/11/2016 4:43:53 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Raytheon is pitching a new upgrade for the venerable M60A3 Patton main battle tank that would turn the elderly design into a competitive force on the modern battlefieldall at a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle.
Named the Raytheon M60A3 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), the upgrade is being offered for export to nations that need the performance to take on threats like a Russian-built T-90S, but cant afford a top-of-the-line machine like the M1A2 SEP(v)3 Abrams or Leopard 2A7.
At the core of the upgrade is a new 950-horsepower diesel enginewhich replaces the original 750-horsepower unit. As part of the deal, the engine would be reconditioned to a zero hour condition. Meanwhile, the old turret hydraulic controls would be replaced with new electrical systems, which are faster, more responsive and quieter than their predecessors.
Offensive firepower is exponentially improved by swapping out the old 105mm M68 rifled gun in favor of the Abrams German-made L44 120mm smoothbore cannon.
The addition of the new weapon would give the M60A3 the ability to engage enemy tanks as advanced as the T-90MS on a near equal footing. In fact, with the upgrade, the M60 probably outperforms older M1A1 variants.
Thats because in addition to the new cannon, the M60 would receive completely new digital fire-control and targeting systemsincluding day and thermal sights.
The system is comparable to the U.S. Armys M1A1D standard. Indeed, the fire-control software was developed for the U.S. Army. While Raytheon does not specifically mention networkingits reasonable to assume the modernized tank would be compatible with the U.S. Armys networks.
Raytheon says that the U.S. Army tested the M60A3 SLEP at the Aberdeen proving grounds, but the company does not provide any details about any survivability improvements that are being incorporated into the tank. However, a Raytheon video does imply some improvements to the armor package.
Indeed, there are a few visible improvementssuch as the addition of side skirts. The configuration shown in the video does not seem to feature reactive armorbut it is fitted with slat armor. Nonetheless, reactive armor could likely be added as needed. In the future, it is possible that more even more advanced features like an active protection systemwhich are starting to proliferate around the worldcould be incorporated into the M60A3.
In addition to much improved performance, Raytheon claims that one major side benefit of the SLEP is that training and maintenance cost would be lower than for new tank because crews are already familiar with the basic M60. That means that Raytheon is targeting the existing base of M60 users around the worldwhich is still a substantial market.
However, while the modernized M60A3 is cheap, it remains to be seen if it would be truly effective against modern enemy tanks like the T-90Aand especially the extremely formidable T-14 Armata. It is likely that the M60A3 SLEP would fair well against most T-72 variants that are found around the world.
The real test for Raytheon and the M60 will be to convince potential buyers to forego a new machine in favor of a reconditioned one.
Older Israeli M60 upgrade
I kind of liked the old M60. Its get-up-and-go surprised me. It was pretty cramped in the turret; and, it was a long step for me getting inside.
No mention is made of a suspension upgrade to go with added armor and bigger engine. By comparison to the M1 series tank, the M60s are bone crushing rough riding and can break torsion bars pretty easily. Not sure how the ruigh ride affects fire control components.
The upgrade should also concentrate on making them networked, and unmanned. RPTs are the future, manned tanks are the past.
Isn’t a M60A2 already a killing machine? If Raytheon could turn a homemade biscuit into a killing machine, that might be news worthy, no?
Basic design dates to the Korean War. It was an upgrade of the M-48, so this would be an upgrade to an upgraded upgrade.
Wow, I can tell from your words that you come from a civilized, Western country that puts a high value on human life.
Other countries, more primitive than ours, do not have that handicap. Their soldier are expendable.
That is a remarkably durable tank. I wonder how many we have in inventory.
At one time, we had citizen soldiers, and, while considered somewhat expendable, they were highly valued. Today we have a “soldier class” that is considered (by their political masters) to be assets to use and discard as needed.
An all volunteer force is quickly treated as a mercenary force by their CIC, as we are seeing today.
BTW, the Airforce has wanted to get the “man out of the cockpit” since the 60s. Our adversaries are developing drone fighting vehicles, we need to quit fighting the last war and do the same.
“At one time, we had citizen soldiers, and, while considered somewhat expendable, they were highly valued. Today we have a soldier class that is considered (by their political masters) to be assets to use and discard as needed.”
I think it’s just the opposite; when there was the military draft, the Army didn’t bear the full cost of its manpower and thus treated it as inexpensive and expendable. With the volunteer service, the military sees the full cost of each recruit, and views him or her as a valuable asset that would be costly to replace.
M60A2? You mean the missile firer (Shillelagh) tank?
I’d send you some of my wife’s biscuits but it would get me on the terror watch list... Army Cooks - Death From Within
M60a2's only saving grace was the Shilleleigh missile.....the only warhead big enough to take the turret off an M1A1...but it was too big, too slow, and too expensive. All M60a2s are in museums now.
BS! I was a tanker. M6o ride was NOT bone crushing.
LOL! That was my first thought as well.
Hey, look Ma, I turned a killing machine into a killing machine. I be smart.
Old War horses make me Smile!
Uh... that is not an M60 of any variant and none of them fired Missiles of any type.
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