M60A3 SLEP

Would you like to see the M60A3 SLEP in-game?
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Welcome to the suggestion for the M60A3 SLEP! This is an upgraded M60 offered by RTX Corporation, formerly Raytheon, for users of the M60 main battle tank. Arguably the two most attractive features for this tank is its 120mm M256 main gun, and an upgraded 950 hp engine. In War Thunder, the M60A3 SLEP could be a slightly inferior version of the M60 AMBT, but hopefully one offered to all War Thunder American tank commanders without paying an arm and a leg for its Turkish predecessor.

History

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A Turkish M60A3 in Kosovo, July 22nd, 1999.

Throughout the Cold War, one of the staples of Western armored forces was the M60. Entering service in its namesake year of 1960 with American units stationed in Europe, it would be exported to 26 other countries over the next few decades. Turkey was one such operator of it, and continues to use them to this day. In the early 2010s, a Turkish company, StandartBio, worked with the American L3Harris company to produce a modernization package for the M60. This resulted in the M60 AMBT, Affordable Main Battle Tank, also known early on as the L3 Destroyer, or just Destroyer. It was intended to be, as the name suggests, an affordable upgrade to the M60. The idea was for for countries operating M60 fleets to upgrade their old tanks with the package offered by StandartBio to create a fleet of vehicles more suited for the modern day, but at much less of a cost than buying a modern tank.

The AMBT offered improved firepower in the form of a 120mm smoothbore gun, a more powerful 1,200 hp engine, and on the roof, an Alliant Techsystems LW25 25mm chain gun was added, with the commander’s 12.7mm M85 replaced by a faster firing FN M3P machine gun. A full list of changes and the brochure for this vehicle is still available, however nothing appears to have come out of this program, and StandartBio appear to have dropped the vehicle altogether, removing mentions of the vehicle from their website.


StandartBio’s upgraded M60 AMBT, a tank that ultimately never saw any interest.

This would have been the end for the design, but in 2016, the American Raytheon company revealed its upgrade offer for the M60A3, under the name Raytheon SLEP, SLEP standing for Service Life Extension Program. Designed to “redesign and re-equip current M60A3 tanks”, the SLEP is marketed as increasing the lethality range and improving the performance of the M60A3 at 1/3rd of the cost of buying a new tank.

In general, the vehicle was similar in appearance to the M60 AMBT, and it has been suggested that the design was purchased from StandartBio, however there are some differences, mostly internal. For one, the SLEP does not have a 25mm chain gun or the FN M3P machine gun, appearing to retain the 12.7mm M85. It also has a less powerful 950 hp engine, which is said to have a better service life in comparison. The somewhat infamous hydraulic turret drives have been replaced with electric ones, which not only make less noise, but also are much faster. Finally, the AMBT’s Fire Control System has been replaced by a Curtiss Wright one, notably used on upgraded Jordanian M60s.

The M60A3 SLEP underwent testing and live fire drills at Aberdeen Proving Ground in the mid-2010s, with footage being used for Raytheon’s promotional video. As of 2024, it has been 8 years since the reveal of the SLEP, and no known customers are known to have bought the vehicle, with most search results dating back to 2016 when the vehicle was first revealed. It is unlikely that Raytheon’s SLEP will see any customers, but the M60 itself continues to live on, and will for some time.


The Raytheon M60A3 SLEP.

Specifications

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Crew: 4
Mass: Estimated 56 - 57 tons
Length: 6.9 m
Height: 3.27 m
Width: 3.6 m
Main armament: 120mm M256
Secondary armament: 7.62mm M240C & 12.7mm M85
Engine: 950 hp diesel engine

Sources

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wwUTEkRano

https://defence-blog.com/raytheon-has-developed-a-upgrade-package-for-the-m60a3-patton-main-battle-tank/
Below The Turret Ring: SLEP: Raytheon's new M60 upgrade
Raytheon Wants to Hot-Rod Old "Patton" Tanks

Gallery

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7 Likes

+1 as a tech tree alternative to the AMBT.

Fun fact: The “AMBT” might actually not be real. The vehicle we have in-game is actually called the L3 Destroyer developed by L3 Communications in cooperation with Raytheon. It didn’t sell well under L3’s marketing so Raytheon took it off their hands, made some modifications, and marketed it as the SLEP.

One of the main reasons many believe the AMBT to not be real is because at the end of L3’s promotional video of the L3 Destroyer a list of those who assisted in its development are listed and StandartBio is very curiously missing entirely, however, Raytheon is present. L3’s video also displays what may be a mockup of the LW25 cannon as it is very different from the final weapon, is never fired, and isn’t even hooked up to an ammo supply. Another reason is that, prior to the AMBT, StandartBio’s only other military vehicle development were riot vehicles.

Of course, it is also just possible that StandartBio sold the project off to L3 and Raytheon, however, StandartBio not being credited in L3’s video is still very strange.

Edit:

Spoiler

After doing some cross-referencing between StandartBio’s brochure and L3’s promotional video the man seen popping out of the commander cupola in the brochure and the man playing the part of the commander in the promotional video are the same guy. So, at the very least, the AMBT/Destroyer/SLEP may have never actually left US soil unless that guy specifically went with it.

1 Like

Would make a nice TT alternative to the AMBT. As someone who owns the AMBT, I can say that it is a fun vehicle to play, so another version of it would be great. +1

It wouldn’t surprise me, the background of this thing is very convoluted and speculative. Thank you.

You can say that again. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter too much, especially for the SLEP. Hell, if it turns out that the AMBT was real thing, it may just open up the L3 Destroyer for a potential future tech tree addition since it was tested by the US.

1 Like

It looks like a derpy Abrams or maybe if the abrams was a 60’s tank I like.

Would be perfect to put with the M60 120S.