The Ministry of National Defense (MND) of Taiwan announced on March 7 that it has signed a NT$7.245 billion (US$236 billion) deal with RENK America to outfit the military’s fleet of M60A3 Patton tanks with new engines. The main battle tanks are currently equipped with a 750-horsepower engine, but due to the aging vehicles and the long hours of use, its overall performance has declined. The new engines are said to have 1,000 horsepower. The Taiwan News reported that RENK America will provide the engine assembly lines to Taiwan’s Army Command, which will set them up at its ordnance development center in Nantou. The process is expected to be completed by 2028.
Additionally, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) will upgrade the tanks’ firing, gun control, and sighting system for NT$15.56 million. The M60A3 with Tank Thermal Sight (TTS), incorporates hybrid solid-state ballistic computer, laser rangefinder, and turret stabilization system. The tank combat full-tracked, 105mm gun (TTS), (M60A3), has the capability to engage the full spectrum of enemy ground targets with a variety of accurate, point and area fire weapons, incorporated with a shoot-on-the-move capability. The tank combat full-tracked, 105mm gun M60A3 (TTS) is an improved version of its predecessor, with the addition of an improved fire control system, thermal sight device, top loading air filters, and a laser range finder.
The M60 is an American second generation main battle tank (MBT). It was officially standardized as the Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 105-mm Gun, M60 in March 1959. Although developed from the M48 Patton, the M60 tank series was never officially christened as a Patton tank. The US Army considered it a “product-improved descendant” of the Patton tank’s design. The design similarities are evident comparing the original version of the M60 and the M48A2. It has been sometimes informally grouped as a member of the Patton tank family. The United States fully committed to the MBT doctrine in 1963 when the Marine Corps retired the last (M103) heavy tank battalion.
Taiwan purchased second-hand M60A3 tanks from the U.S. in 1994 and has a total of 460. The Republic of China Army operates 450 M60A3 TTS and 400 CM-11 Brave Tiger main battle tanks in service. The CM-11 is a hybrid M60 chassis fitted with the turret from the older M48 Patton and the fire control system of the M1 Abrams. In 2017, Taiwan’s MND started new tank upgrade program for which it allocated 6.5 million USD to NCSIST for research and development of upgrade package for 450 M60A3 TTS which begins in 2018, evaluation is expected to be complete in 2019 with upgrade program being launched in 2020 from which after completion CM-11 tanks are set to be upgraded next.