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The US M60 Main Battle Tank began development in 1957 to counter the Soviet rumours of a new main battle tank armed with a 115mm smoothbore main gun. With this gun, the Soviets would be capable of outgunning the latest M48 Patton series, then the staple of the US Army. The Soviet design turned out to be the T-62 MBT. While not a perfect combat tank, the M60 certainly was a stout and ready performer for the 50 or so years it has been in operational service.
Various sub-variants existed during the operational run of the M60 and these denoted subtle additions and changes to the base design. For example, the M60A1 production run also produced the M60A1 "AOS" and M60A1 "RISE" forms which denoted "Add-On Stabilisation" and "Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment" respectively. There was also an M60A1 "RISE Passive" designation which detailed its use of Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) blocks for improved armour protection. The M60 chassis also formed a handful of specialised serviceable army vehicles including a mine clearer, bull dozer, a bridge layer (AVLB) and a dedicated combat engineering vehicle in the M728.
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