The M-60 Patton Battle Tank is an armored vehicle mainly in use by the United States military. It is a 4-man tank (commander, driver, gunner, loader) that was first manufactured by Chrysler in 1960, and was produced until 1983. In the late eighties, 5400 models were converted to the M60A3 variant. The M-60 weighs in at roughly 100,000 lbs, runs at a top speed of 30-35 mph and pulls an impressive 750 hp with its Continental 12-cylinder diesel engine. It is armed with a 105mm main gun (63 shells), one 7.62mm machine gun and one 12.7mm anti-aircraft guns.

The M-60 first entered United States Army service in 1961 (though phasing out began in the late 80's) and has been in use by the United States Marine Corps and the following countries:

Austria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Saudia Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen and the Arab Republic.

For two decades the M-60 was the US's main battle tank, though now it is found largely in Reserve and National Guard units. The tank saw action with Israeli forces in the Yom Kippur War in Sinai and the Golan Heights, and the US Marines sported 210 tanks to support the Saudi/Marine effort into Kuwait City.


M60A1 - Basic production model from 1963-1980.
M60A2 - Production 1973-1975. Added Shillelagh gun/missile system. Was nicknamed "Starship" by crews because of its complexity, a reason for the overall disappointment with the model. Numerous problems with the turret led to the phase-out of all active units by 1981.
M60A3 - Extras include Tank Thermal Sight (TTS), hybrid solid-state ballistic computer, laser rangefinder and turret stabilization system.

M60 Series Machine Gun

The M60 series general purpose machine gun is a light-weight, disintegrating-link belt fed, gas operated, air cooled weapon which fires 7.62 MM ammunition. The headspace and timing are fixed to support interchangeable barrels which allow for sustained rapid rates of fire. The M60 has an integral bipod to stabilize the weapon during firing, and can also be mounted on a tripod for increased stability and accuracy. While the M60 is light enough to be carried by one person, it is most often deployed as a crew-served weapon manned by a machine gunner and an assistant machine gunner who carries extra barrels, ammunition, and the optional tripod.

In addition to the standard M60 there are two variants: the M60 C/D, which is modified for use as a helicopter door gun, and the M60E3, which is modified to be lighter than the original for use by the Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Forces. Modifications used in the E3 model made the weapon too weak and unreliable for prolonged use and sustained rapid fire, which led to the adoption of the M240G, the E3's current replacement.

General Characterstics:

  • Length: 42.4 inches (107.70 centimeters)
  • Weight: 18.75 pounds (8.51 kilograms)
  • Bore Diameter: 7.62 MM (.308 inches)
  • Maximum Effective Range: 3609.1 feet (1,100 meters)
  • Maximum Range: 2.3 miles (3725 meters)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,800 feet (853 meters) per second
  • Unit Replacement Cost: $6,000 (U.S.)
  • Rates of Fire:
    • Cyclic: 550 rounds per minute
    • Rapid: 100 rounds per minute (w/ barrel changes at each 100 rounds)
    • Sustained: Same as rapid

Sources: (
FAS Military Analysis Network (

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