Taiwan is not getting rid of its M60 main battle tanks even after 2030 – Technology Org

The M60 main battle tank is definitely not the latest word in military tech. It is a second-generation main battle tank, while such machines as the Leopard 2, Challenger 2, M1 Abrams, T-72, Leclerc, C1 Ariete are categorized as the third generation MBTs. The M60 has been in service since 1959. The last tanks of this type were made in 1983. And yet Taiwan is not thinking about restoring its M60 fleet.

M60A3 main battle tank in Taiwanese service.

M60A3 main battle tank in Taiwanese service. Image credit: 玄史生 via Wikimedia

The M60 became the first real main battle tank in American military doctrine – it was the backbone of American armored vehicles for most of the Cold War. It was loosely based on the M48 Patton. The M60 was a dominant force on the battlefield for a long time and the US exported these tanks to a huge list of countries.

The last M60s from the US National Guard service were only retired in 1997, but many other forces around the world are still using them.

The current operators of the M60 main battle tank include Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, and Taiwan, among many others. A lot of machines based on the M60 platform are still in use and have been upgraded to fit modern needs.

Of course, many countries have retired the M60 tanks in favor of more advanced machines like the Leopard 2. But Taiwan is looking to keep its M60 forces active and strong even after 2030.

Taiwan is currently operating around a couple of hundred M60A3 tanks. Taiwan also has hundreds of older CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks, which have M60 chassis with the turret from the older M48 Patton and the fire control system of the M1 Abrams.

Defense Express reports that Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reached an agreement of 241 million dollars to buy new AVDS engines for its M60A3 tanks. They should be delivered by 2028. Those are standard engines, although they can be upgraded to have more power. Most importantly, this shows that Taiwan is committed to keeping its M60A3 fleet going right into the next decade. But why?

Taiwan still has hundreds of the M60 main battle tanks.

Taiwan still has hundreds of the M60 main battle tanks. Image credit: 玄史生 via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

First of all, M60A3 tanks are not THAT old – they were produced from 1978 to 1983. 105 mm gun is not the latest word in tech, but in the 1991 Gulf War, it taught some T-72s to show some respect. And while the top speed of 48 km/h is certainly not impressing anyone, for a small island country it is quite enough. Especially after the engine upgrade.

Most importantly, M60s are reliable and tested. They are not as heavy as more modern main battle tanks, which helps them operate in sandy terrain. And maintaining them is cheaper than buying a huge number of new tanks.

Taiwan needs to be well-armed because the risk of invasion from China is always there. But replacing all of those tanks at once would be pretty much impossible, because the Western defense factories don’t work that quick at all. So Taiwan is just going to maintain what it has and upgrade its forces as the need and opportunities come.

Sources: Defense-ua.com , Wikipedia

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