In 1978, work began on the M60A3 variant. It featured a number of technological enhancements, including smoke dischargers, a new flash-lamp pumped ruby-laser based rangefinder (AN/VVG-2) that could be used by both commander and gunner, and an M21 ballistic computer, and a turret stabilization system.
Late production M60A3s omitted the commander's cupola (Israel Defense Forces armor doctrine required tank commanders to fight commander-exposed, and it was discovered that non-penetrating hits on the vehicle could dislodge the cupola from its mount while the commander was in it). Compared to a conventional pintle mount, the remote-controlled M85 machine gun was relatively ineffective in the anti-aircraft role for which it was designed. Removing the cupola lowered the vehicle's relatively high silhouette. The cupola's hatch also opened toward the rear of the vehicle and was dangerous to close if under small-arms fire owing to an open-locking mechanism that required the user to apply leverage to unlock it prior to closing. U.S. Army A3 version all retained the cupola until the tank was phased out of service.
The M60A3 was phased out of US service in 2005, but it has remained a front-line MBT into the 21st century for a number of other countries.
1/285th scale (6mm) pewter wargaming miniatures
Assembly and painting required