A post over on the Book of Face got me to reminiscing about shooting, and I started thinking about my time on the A3 tank. It was a tremendous upgrade from the A1 tank. It had better suspension, better turret electronics, better radios, and better automotive pack. The M80A3 was the ne plus ultra of the old tanks, and it was a joy to operate.
The M60A3 was the very first fully night-capable tank in the inventory, with a great thermal imaging system, and a laser rangefinder. It often out-shot the M1 Abrams on night tables because the A3 had better thermals, and was capable of degraded gunnery. If the M1 glitched out, it couldn't be fired, but if the A3 had a problem, a knowledgable gunner could work around the problem, with three different sighing systems. (Main sight, thermals, and telescope) and could operate when one system was down.
The guys in the M1 called themselves Star Wars tankers. We in the older M60A3 were Jedi tankers. The force was strong with us. I finally cross-trained into the M1, but the old M60A3 was my love.
|M60A3 firing night tables|
But, it was a great tank, and I'm glad I got to command one.
UPDATE** Commenter John links to an article that says Raytheon is befinning a service life improvement program for the old warhorse. Interesting video, with some notable upgrades. Most noticeable from a profile perspective is the stand-off protection designed to defeat shaped charges.