By Eric Micheletti
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Additional resources for After the Storm: Iraqi Wrecks and Fortifications
The laser rangefinder of the AN/WG-2 greatly enhanced the system and was connected to the new M21 ballistic computer, which was of solid-state electronics instead of the old gear and cam ballistic computer of the M60Al. With the upgrade of the fire control system this made the old stereoscopic rangefinder obsolete and meant that the periscope heads on the loader's side of the turret had to be ballistically covered. The commander's side periscope head of the M17 was replaced with the new Optic Electronics' AN/WG-2 ruby laser rangefinder sight.
A total of 526 M60A1 tanks were eventually pulled aside from the normal production line and placed in the M60A2 (formerly the M60A1E1) production line and converted to the new configuration. The M60A2 production ran side by side with the M60A1 tanks from 1973 to 1975 when production of the M60A2 ceased. Deployment of the new A2s to army units in both the US and Europe continued to be beset with problems and they were never very popular with the troops or their commanders, being finally withdrawn from service in 1980.
Due to the cost of designing and fielding a new tank many defense companies have developed upgrade programs for the M60 tank that are more suitable to the budget and limited resources of some foreign governments. For example, the Israeli M60s have seen the most adaptations over the years with everything from 120mm smoothbore main guns to commander and loader external machine gun mounts, mine-clearing and even modified dozer blades added. General Dynamics Land Systems, who purchased the Chrysler Defense Division in the early 1980s, developed the 120S in response to a Turkish request.
After the Storm: Iraqi Wrecks and Fortifications by Eric Micheletti