Turkish defence company Roketsan has delivered the first M60A3 upgraded with the new Modular Armored Tower to the Turkish Land Forces.
The M60A3 is a main battle tank (MBT) that was developed by the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. It is an upgraded version of the M60 Patton tank, which was widely used by the US and its allies during the Cold War. The M60A3 has a 105 mm rifled gun, a new fire control system, improved armour protection, and a smoke grenade launcher. However, compared to modern tanks, the M60A3 is outdated and vulnerable to advanced threats.
To extend the service life and enhance the capabilities of the M60A3, the Turkish Ministry of Defense has initiated a project to modernize the tank with a new turret system. The project is carried out by Roketsan. Roketsan has developed a new turret called MZK (Modular Armored Tower), which can be integrated into the chassis of the M60A3 and other tanks such as the T-72.
The MZK turret has a flat design with sharp lines and a low profile. It weighs 13 tons, which is lighter than the original dome-shaped turret of the M60A3 which weighs 14.5 tons. The lighter weight reduces the stress on the engine and suspension and improves the mobility and agility of the tank. The MZK turret also has a 105 mm gun with an automatic loading system, which increases the rate of fire and reduces the crew size.
One of the main features of the MZK turret is its enhanced armour protection. The turret is equipped with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) modules on the front, sides, and top. ERA is a type of armour that consists of explosive plates that detonate when hit by a projectile or a shaped charge, creating a counter-shock wave that disrupts the penetration. ERA provides increased protection against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank missiles, armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds, and automatic cannon munitions up to 30 mm.
Another feature of the MZK turret is its advanced sensor and weapon systems. The turret has a driver visualization system that provides a 360-degree view of the surroundings through cameras mounted on the hull. It also has an auxiliary power unit that allows the turret to operate independently from the engine. Moreover, the turret has laser warning receivers that alert the crew of incoming laser-guided threats, fog mortars that create smoke screens to conceal the tank’s position and remote-controlled weapon systems (RCWS) that can mount machine guns or grenade launchers for self-defence.
The MZK turret is a modular system that can be easily installed on different tank platforms. It is designed to increase the survivability, firepower, and situational awareness of the M60A3 and other tanks. Roketsan has successfully integrated the MZK turret into an M60A3 tank and conducted test firings in 2023. The Turkish Army plans to upgrade more than 600 M60A3 tanks with the new turret system in the near future.