Video – Turkish M-60 Tank Survives Hit by Modern ATGM

Some of my old USMC tanker friends will probably enjoy this story. The Turkish military still operates some surplus American made M-60 tanks. They are upgraded to what is called the M-60T standard. The work was done by the…wait for it…Israelis! Who have lots of experience operating and upgrading surplus American tanks. The Turkish tank in question, was in Bashiqah, Iraq.  About 15 miles outside of Mosul. Their mission…wait for…training Kurds!

 

Standard Turkish M-60T Sabra tank based off the US M-60 Patton

Standard Turkish M-60T Sabra tank based off the US M-60 Patton

Confused yet? Good. I’ll get into this in a later article. Now back to the tank!

The M-60T is a compete upgrade package. The 105mm main gun is switched out to a modern 120mm with complete fire control and electronics suite. In addition, the tank is stacked with reactive armor to defeat modern shaped charged ATGMs. Which is what happened here.

The missile fired was a fairly modern Russian ATGM (Anti-Tank-Guided-Missile) known as the Kornet E (9K129). Russian ATGM’s have a decent track record of killing modern tanks. Including Abrams (Iraq) and Merkava (Israel) models.

The fact a M-60 survived a direct hit by a Kornet is quite the feat of engineering. In popular media, it is common to obsess on the latest and greatest tanks and theorize about a head-to-head matchup at some huge Kursk or Fulda Gap like battlefield.

But in 90% of the world’s conflicts, tanks provide critical support and protection for small-unit infantry operations. Which is why it is not unheard of to see WWII era tanks still creeping around some third-world hot spots.

If a tank is cheap enough, it will live forever. Or until someone actually kills it. Turks report this M-60T will live to fight another day.

 
Sincerely,
Marky
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Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at John1911.com
Writer for john1911.com. Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

Latest posts by Marky Mark (see all)

  • Brennen Munro

    I used to stop by and visit with some friends armor rework facility outside of Acco in northern Israel. Most of the stuff they had there was the old APC 103’s, the tracked cracker box for those unfamiliar with the model. Our guys in the late 60’s and 70’s could only dream of the upgrades that were given to these things! They would also come back from Lebanon all shot to shit, and would be put back in action, or scrapped out for parts, but nothing and I mean nothing went to waste They got so used to seeing me there that they tried to put me to work on more than one occasion, the whole “if you have time to talk, you have time to wrench” concept!

    That the tank crew survived and the tank suffered as little damage as it did is not surprising to me. I had the amazing experience of getting to see folks who were highly motivated and very, very skilled and clever in the design concepts of refitting worn out armor vehicles on a regular basis. For a while they were retro-fitting old Soviet gear, but I think now they just use the old Soviet stuff as scrap metal. Thanks for posting this, it reminded me of some great times!

    Munro

    • You mean the old M113’s?

      As for the Turkish Tank, in all fairness I don’t know 100% if it was even manned at the time.

      You would think it was. But then again, let’s be real. I give it 50/50 either way.

      Marky

      • Brennen Munro

        Um… Duh me. I did mean the old M113’s!

        Also, I just assumed it was manned because it was in a fighting position. So 50/50 are fair odds!

        Thanks Marky for keeping me on my toes!

        Munro

  • Mikial

    I served in M60A3’s back in the day during the transition to the Abrams. They were a solid tank and I liked them. Knowing that they have received upgrades that allow them to keep fighting makes me smile. People always talk about the supposed invincibility of modern ATGMs, especially against older tanks, but there are a lot of variables involved and reactive armor has an excellent record of defense against HEAT and shaped charge AT weapons.

    • I happen to know for a fact there is a US based M-60 upgrade program that is touted as being better than the Gen 1 Abrams and even able to fight with some parity against the T-90 series!

      Not kidding.

      Even the engine is like 33% more horse than the original M-60. It’s a bad ass little tank.

      Marky

      • Brennen Munro

        Are we doing this for our use, or is this going to be something given away to win “Hearts & Minds”?

        Munro

        • It’s an upgrade package a US based corporation sells to existing users of the M-60 world wide.

          They get paid.

          Marky

          • Brennen Munro

            Do you know if we still keep some of the M-60’s in our inventory? I remember that for the first gulf war we had a load of these propositioned in the region. It would be nice if we are putting these upgrade packages on the preposition stuff, just rotate the units back for the refurbishment, and then put them back in place. I guess the other thing to think about would be do any of our current Tanker types have the knowledge to even run the M-60? I have zero experience with armor myself, except for one kind of funny story I will share with you at another time! Thanks for putting out these post guys.

            Munro

          • I am not personally in a position to the know the answer to that question. But all the pre-positioned tanks that I know of are M1 Abrams. Be they in Europe, Middle East or Roll-on-roll-off ships.

            Now I am guessing. But I would assume the US government maintains leftover armor at the mothball facilities out west. We use some for targets and others for sold to foreign militaries. With the previously mentioned upgrade packages.

            –Marky

          • Brennen Munro

            Understood, thanks Marky.

            Munro

          • Mikial

            Agreed.

            The US military has completely transitioned to the M1 series. I suppose there may be . . and I say “may be” some M60 series in storage for emergency deployment but I seriously doubt it. The M1 has been around long enough that the only M60 series tanks left in the inventory are for exactly what you said . . target practice or sales to “allies.”

          • Off the top of my head, the last front line use of the M-60 by US forces was the Marine armor that went into Kuwait and southern Iraq in 1991.

            But I’m not an authority on the matter.

            Marky

    • P.S. You need to post some pics from your Dumb Ass Tanker days!

      😉

      Marky

      • Mikial

        I’ll see what I can dig up. 😉

        I did time at Fort Knox and then went to the National Training Center to be an OPFOR hero in the 32nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment, AKA 1/73rd Armor. We were the only Armor unit in the Army with an OPFOR and a TO&E mission. 250 days a year in the field. great fun, but hard on marriages.

  • Turkic
    • Yes. And almost all of the ATGM’s in theater were provided by the US Gov.

      Marky

      • FactNoFiction

        The Turks use their own fire-and-forget ATGM’s produced by ROKETSAN.

        • Obviously.

          I am referring to the ATGM’s the “rebels” use against the Turks.

          Marky

          • FactNoFiction

            Oh…my apologies- I thought you were referring to the Turks.

  • FactNoFiction

    M-60A3’s modernised by Turkey’s Roketsan/Aselsan with ERA armour.
    https://i.imgur.com/PS5bNAJ.jpg

    • Brasscase

      looks like a cheap T90MS 😀

      • FactNoFiction

        Does the job as a stop-gap measure until the first batch of Altay’s are commissioned. The modernized M60 AA3’s Maintain their lethality and increase their survivorbility.

        • Brasscase

          why dont they use it in Syria?

          • FactNoFiction

            The modernization program commenced after the Turkish Armed Forces conducted a detailed assessment of its needs from the lessons learned in Euphrates Shield. The tender was issued in January and awarded last month. http://www.defensenews.com/articles/turkey-launches-500-million-tank-upgrade-contest

            Turkey is aiming to have everything ready for Operation Tigris Shield which is a much larger operation than Euphrates Shield. It will use T-129’s, Hurkus-C COIN aircraft etc.