Turkish Army displayed it’s newly upgraded M-60T main battle tanks for the first time at the 88th ‘Victory Day’ parade in August 2010. The M-60T is an upgraded M-60A1, modernized by Israel Military Industries (IMI) under a $687.5 million turnkey project. considered to be one of the world’s largest tank upgrade programs, bringing the M60A1 tank to level of the world’s leading main battle tanks. IMI delivered the last of 170 upgraded M-60A1 tank to the Turkish Army on April 7, 2010.
The program was launched in 2002 as a multi-year program that included establishment of production facilities, training and logistic support infrastructure in Turkey, and transfer the technology to local industries enabling local production of part of the systems. The modernization of the 1960 vintage M-60A1 transformed the tank into a modern weapon system, integrating modern and combat proven protection, firepower, propulsion and vectronic systems. The design implemented in the Turkish program utilized systems already proven in modern armored vehicles in service with the Israel Defense Forces, such as Israel’s Merkava 4 main battle tank.
Through the upgrade program the tank’s original 105mm rifled gun was replaced with a new 120mm smooth bore gun, all-electric turret drive, sophisticated optronic and fire control systems. The armor suite was enhanced with advanced hybrid armor system protecting the crew. A modern power-train was also introduced, including a more powerful 1000 hp MTU diesel engine with matching transmission, a final drive and advanced suspension system derived from the Merkava design, provided by IMI.
The M-60T represents a significant potential for the upgrading of a large number of M-60s class tanks that remain in operational service worldwide. Turkey itself has over 1,000 such tanks awaiting further improvements. Other M-60 operators are also considering such upgrades, extending the life span of this proven tank for decades to come.