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Subject: M60 MBT
AThousandYoung    7/12/2010 10:09:27 PM
This bad boy is still in service. I think it's interesting to look at Cold War equipment now that it's been tested against equal and superior equipment in many cases. How solid is an M60 on the modern battlefield?
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JFKY    Totally non-expert opinion....   7/13/2010 10:00:14 AM
Globally, very well.  As over half the world's tank population is T-54/62's the M-60 compares very favourably.  It has decent armour, an excellent main gun, and a range of excellent ammunition for that main gun.  Even the M-60a1 is  solid performer against T-62's....the M60a3 would be a competitor against T-72's and most certainly over-match the T-62.
The M-60 is viewed as a "poor cousin" in comparison to the M-1 series...the M-60 is conventional tank, diesel powered, RHA Armour...if you don't replace the coaxial and commander's machine guns, the M-73 and M-85 respectively, you will be reduced to using the main gun, but if you can replace these weapons you clean up many of the problems the M-60 had.
Sure it's not got Chobham, sure it's only got 1,200 HP and it's not turbine powered, it's not as agile or lethal as an M-1, but overall it's a good solid design.  The worst variant is the M-60a2, which can't be found in service....that particular M-60 would be hard-pressed to deal with any significant armour threat.
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JFKY    I'm sorry   7/13/2010 10:03:41 AM
It has only 750 HP, at least according to Wiki...I thought there was a larger upgrade...any way it's certainly not as agile as the M-1.
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doggtag       7/13/2010 11:22:37 AM
If we're just basing things of the last stock models (right off the production lines, few if any further upgrades), then the last vehicles the US pulled from service,
they were at the twilight of their prime.
Keep in mind that, during Desert Storm,
there was concern of the latest Iraqi (Russian built) T72 types, so getting the 120mm-gunned M1s into theater prior to the ground war was seen as prioirity over any earlier Abrams still mounting the M68 series (L7-derived) 105mm gun.
But still, USMC M60s (A3s w/ TTS?) more than proved their worth, with DU APFSDS, against said Iraqi armor (the Iraqi T72s being principally Republican Guard top-of-the-line sh*t, while there were still a large number of regular Iraqi armor units with earlier-model types such as the -62s and -55 family....if Bradleys had success against these with 25mm DU APFSDS (M919), then 105mm is obviously a no-contest)....
Today however, with the addition of many types of applique armors (passive metal/ceramic plates and panels) and ERA types, it is suggested that the latest Russian types sporting such armors would be able to hold their own against NATO-standard 105mm ammunition (against tungsten certainly, but against DU with its unique armor-defeating properties?).
Back to the M60:
There have been a handful of defense-contractor-sponsored upgrade packages offered on the market (internationally by the big defense names, or locally by homegrown industry shops trying to make a name for themselves),
covering everything from applique & ERA add-on armor, new engines and transmissions, improved suspension and running gear (road wheels, shock absorbers, tracks), fire control electronics, optics, and certainly armament (both main gun and the troublesome original machine guns replaced with newer and better designs).
Certainly the armor package has much to do with the tank's survivability,
but a lot can be said for the old adage, "it's what's on the inside that counts".
M60s can certainly be upgraded with the latest optics (to include day/night/thermals), the latest ballistics/fire control hardware, and certainly 120mm guns with the most capable performances.
Upgrading AFVs has been a considerable profit-making market since the end of the 2nd World War, and certainly the M60 can prove it's got quite a bit of useful life left in it (provided, of course, your nation doesn't luck out and have access to something like post-Cold-War Leo 2s at fire-sale prices, which for a few nations were to be had at prices better than what it would've cost to upgrade their tanks left over from the era when the M60 was there at the forefront of America's defense).
Depends just how much you're willing to spend to upgrade those M60s, really.
A lot can be had, for a price.
But at what point are you just further off to buy newer MBTs?
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JFKY    Even on the Modern Battlefield   7/13/2010 11:36:05 AM
the M-60 holds up well.  Even without the upgrades.....MOST tanks in the world are un-upgraded T-54/62' M-60a3 will make mincemeat of them.  As long as the crew is well-trained.
It's only against T-72/64/80/90 that the M-68 main gun is suspect.
I think it depends on your definition of "modern" battlefield.  IF you mean the unlikely clash of arms of first rate Russian tanks and crews, THEN the M-60 is seriously wanting...If by modern battlefield you mean the usual run-of-the-mill poorly trained, poorly maintained, tanks and crews of the "real" world, then the M-60, with a crew that First World Training, will easily prevail.
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