M60A3 (TTS)

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M60A3 (TTS) Patton: Main battle tank

Render of the in-game M60A3(TTS) model

Statistics

Main gun: 105mm M68
Ammunition Stowage: 37 ready/26 stowed
Default Ammunition "A": 22/16 M735 APFSDS, 15/10 M456A2 HEAT

Other rounds include the M393A1 HEP-T, M416 White Phosphorus, M494 APERS-T, and M1040 Canister rounds which are equipped based on mission.


Coaxial machine gun: 7.62mm M240
Ammunition Stowage: 3200 ready/2750 stowed
Default Ammunition: 3200/2750 7.62mm NATO


AAMG: M85 caliber .50 HMG
Ammunition Stowage: 100 ready/900 stowed
Default Ammunition: 100/900 0.50 Cal US


Grenade Dischargers: Grenades
Ammunition Stowage: 2 ready/0 stowed
Default Ammunition: 2/0 Smoke


Armor protection:
Frontal Turret Armour: ~224-280mm
Side Turret Armour: ~146mm
Front Hull Armour: ~214mm
Side Hull Armour: ~66mm

M-60A3 (TTS) armor image, front-right

Combat Weight: 52 tonnes
Length: 6.94m (Hull)
Width: 3.63m
Height: 3.27m
Engine: 750hp Continental AVDS-1790-2 Diesel
Top speed: 48kph

General

The M60A3 was an upgrade performed to the M60A1 tanks of the US army around 1978. It replaced the M60A1's mechanical fire control computer and coincidence rangefinder with a laser rangefinder and solid-state fire control computer. In 1979 another upgrade was made which added the TTS (tank thermal sight) thermal imager, thus making it the M60A3(TTS). The first TTS equipped A3s began to deploy to Germany in mid-1979 in limited numbers. Production continued on the M60A3(TTS) variant until 1984, with a total of 1,052 produced between 1980 and 1984.

Originally the M60 was a stopgap tank designed to be phased out in the 1970s by the MBT-70. However, the failure of the MBT-70 program lead to the M60 series remaining in service longer than intended, until the fielding of the M1 Abrams.

The layout of the M60A3 is fairly standard: engine in the rear, turret in the middle, and driver at the front. There are 2 ammunition racks of 105mm rounds stored on either side of the driver. In the turret, there's a rack near the loaders legs, and a larger one in the rear left bustle. The fuel is stored in the engine compartment, on the left and right side of the engine. Unlike the Abrams, the ammunition is not compartmentalized, but instead stored fairly unprotected. Indirect hits usually won't set off the rounds, due to them being stored in steel racks, and the fact that 105mm cartridges are brass instead of flammable like the 120 or 125mm rounds, helping to reduce the chance of ammunition explosions from spall. However, a direct hit to the ammunition racks will still set off the ammunition, causing everyone inside the tank to be violently incinerated.

Compared to it's intended adversary, the Soviet era T-62, the M60 has both advantages, and drawbacks. The M60 series was created with crew comfort in mind, as such, the interior of the tank is gigantic. It is possible to stand fully upright, and even walk around inside of the turret of the M60. However, this leads to a very large increase in internal volume, and a significant weight increase, nearly 14 tonnes heavier than the T-62. Consequently, mobility suffered, and the M60 is slower than the T-62. Also, the M60 is taller, presenting a larger target that is more difficult to hide. However, the tall turret allows for a higher range of gun elevation and depression, making it possible to take up a hulldown battle position on steeper slopes than on the T-62. Armor wise it's fairly similar to the T-62, and ammunition-wise, both tanks are capable of penetrating each other frontally, although the M60 has a slight range advantage due to better rounds. The two most major advantages of the M60 over the T-62 however, is the higher rate of fire, and thermal imager. Due to it's smaller size and lack of turret bustle, the T-62 has only 3-4 ready rounds. Unfortunately, the M60A3 doesn't compare favorably against later T-tank versions due to its thin armor and poor mobility. When equipped with M735M or M774 APFSDS ammunition the M60A3 is capable against the T-72 Ural, T-72M, early T-64 tanks and to a lesser extent the T-72A/M1, but will struggle against later models. Fortunately, the M60A3's TTS gives the tank a definitive edge over its Soviet contemporaries, offering much greater detection and engagement ranges.

Phased out of US service in the early 1990's, the M60A3 continues to serve in the armies of at least a dozen North-African, Middle-Eastern, and Asian countries, particularly Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Thermal Signature

M-60 (TTS) TIS image, front-right M-60 (TTS) TIS image, rear-left

Crew Positions

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Tank Commander's Position F7

TC's unbuttoned view

In Steel Beasts Professional the tank commander's (TC) position on the M60A3 is fully crew-able. The TC's position is accessed by pressing F7.

From this position the user can raise and lower their perspective (and exposure level) by holding the Q key (to go up) and the Z key (to go down). The TC can also button or unbutton (close and open the TC's hatch) by pressing the B key (toggle). While unbuttoned, the TC may also wish to use binoculars to get a closer view on a distant area by pressing the N key (toggle).

The TC also has smoke grenades at his disposal. The TC can fire up to two smoke salvos by pressing TAB, at which point the grenade launches will need to be reloaded.

  • The usefulness of the smoke grenade launchers should not be underestimated, and it is one of the most useful tools at the disposal of the TC. Smoke grenade launchers are a vital tool for the security of the vehicle and should be used for a variety or reasons. These include, but are not limited to: attempting to break contact with the enemy, protection against non thermal sight equipped threats, and protecting the vehicle from enemy attempts to range you with an laser range finder. At the same time, care should be taken on when smoke is deployed since you are basically announcing your location to anyone else who might be unaware of it.

M19 Commander's Cupola

TC's interior view featuring the M36E1 periscope assembly

The M19 Commander's Cupola is an enclosed fully traversable cupola mounting the remote fired M85 caliber .50 and provides both daylight and passive night sights to aim and fire the M85 independently of the main gun. The M85 can only be fired from within the coupla; in other words the TC cannot fire the caliber .50 from the external, unbuttoned, view (on the real tank you would technically be able to depress the butterfly triggers and fire the weapon but you would not be able to aim; the practical is modeled, not the possible).

To aim the M85 the TC is provided with the M36E1 periscope assembly consisting of an 8x daysight, 8x infrared sight, and a 1x power unity window. The daysight is accessed by pressing F3, the nightsight with Alt+F3, and the unity window with F4.

Once the user is in any of the M36's sights, the user can traverse the cupola using either the mouse, joystick (both of which represent the cupola's powered traverse mode), or by tapping the LEFT ARROW and RIGHT ARROW keys (the cupola's manual traverse mode). While the real life cupola has a powered motor for traverse (with the option for the TC to spin the cupola manually), the cupola lacks a powered mechanism for elevation and must be elevated and depressed by the use of a small hand crank. With that in mind, the elevation of the caliber .50 can only be done by use of the UP ARROW and DOWN ARROW keys. In both cases where the arrow pad is used for elevation and traverse, quicker taps of the arrow keys will result in faster sight movement.

Daysight

The daysight on the M36 is a simple stadia type reticle similar to that of the M1 Abrams Commander's Weapon Station. The numbers on the right side of the scale represent the range in hundreds of meters. The horizontal dashed lines to the left and right of the center on the scale are used to assist with leading the target. Basically, if a stationary target is at 1200m then the TC puts the center cross on the target and taps the UP ARROW key until the target is even with the "12" horizontal line. The TC then presses and holds the SPACE BAR to fire and walks the rounds on to the target if necessary.

TC's caliber .50 daysight view, stadia scale reticle with BMP-2 at 1000m


Nightsight

The IR portion of the M36E1 is of fairly good quality, capable of detecting targets at 2000m, differentiating targets at 1500m, and positively identifying at 1000m under starlight conditions. To prevent it from being overloaded and burnt out the sight cannot be used in daylight (the sight will appear black if accessed during the day). Note that the reticle for the IR sight is of the non-ballistic type, meaning engagements will require “burst on target” gunnery techniques.

TC's caliber .50 nightsight view, BMP-2 at 500m under starlight conditions


Unity Sight

The M36E1 periscope assembly features a “powered unity window” providing a daylight 1:1 (un-magnified) optical periscope superimposed with a red ring showing the area covered by either 8x optic. This periscope is accessed by pressing F4 and takes the place of the cupola's direct vision blocks for the purposes of observing around the vehicle without having to spin the turret or having the TC expose himself to hostile fire.

TC's unity window view, BMP-2 at 500m


TC's Cupola Control Box

If all caliber .50 rounds are expended then you will need to reload the weapon. The easiest way to do this is by moving the mouse to the top of the screen and selecting the "Vehicle" menu. Scroll down to the "Reload" command which will open a sub menu, then select “M8 AP-I" (or whatever .50 cal ammo is currently being carried). Unlike other vehicles, the M85 is mounted within the cupola, therefore the TC need not expose himself to reload the weapon. Mounted just to the right of the M36 assembly on the cupola wall is the Commander's Control Panel with a single functional switch labeled “Last Round Override”. Normally this is set to “off”, leaving a short section of ammo (20 rounds) available to link fresh belts to and speed reloading. Appropriately, setting the override to "on" allows the TC to expend all ready ammo, and increases reload times.

  • One real world tip in using the M19 cupola is to do so from the turret down position. Pull forward just enough so that the gunner can see the target through the gunner's primary sight (GPS) over any forward obstruction but not forward enough so that the gunner's auxiliary sight (GAS) has a line of sight to the target. Since the LRF aperture (aka. dog ears) is mounted near the top of the turret, doing this will ensure that the gunner can lase a target and get the range without exposing the rest of the turret. Once the range is determined by the gunner (or by the TC's lasing from the AN/VVG-2 directly (see below)), then the TC can place accurate caliber .50 fire on the threat. In this manner you can engage light armored vehicles without exposing the tank to other unknown threats in the area and you can avoid wasting a valuable main gun round as well.

TC's Vision Block View

TC's vision block view

On some occasions the TC may need to look around the vehicle without having to spin the turret and without having to expose himself to hostile fire. The vision block view allows the TC to remain safely inside the vehicle and quickly scan around for close threats. It is most useful when enemy infantry are in the immediate area. As modeled, the M19 cupola has eight direct vision vision blocks, but they are not accessible as with other vehicles. If the player needs to view around the vehicle from a protected position, they should use the M36E1 periscope assembly's Powered Unity Window instead (F4).

AN/VVG-2 Laser Range Finder (LRF)

The AN/VVG-2 LRF is the primary means for determining range on the M60A3 tank and serves as the primary daysight for the TC to fire the main gun and coaxial machine gun, with a choice 6x or 12x magnification. The LRF consists of receiver-transmitter unit (R/T) at the TC's station and the electronics unit (EU) located on the turret floor. The LRF can be activated by either the TC or gunner to determine ranges between 200 and 4,700 meters with an accuracy of +10 meters. Note that the LRF's optics do not provide lead calculations for use against moving targets. When engaging moving targets the TC must apply manual lead or use the Commander's Thermal Sight Display (see below). The LRF's optics are accessed by pressing Alt+F2

Once in the sight, the view will essentially be identical to the gunner's day channel view (which is explained in the gunner's section). The TC can change magnification levels with the N key, override the gunner by holding P, fire the laser (CTRL), and engage targets if necessary (SPACE BAR). By releasing the override key, you are giving control back to the gunner. Overriding the gunner onto an enemy target and then releasing the P key is known as designating a target. If the AI gunner identifies the target that you have put in view, it will begin tracking and wait for your order to fire (SPACE BAR).

Modes of Operation
LRF button panel with mode switch in AUTO position

The LRF can be operated in one of three modes: TEST, ON, or AUTO.

TEST mode is used for system self-test and acts as the LRF's safety. When the mode switch is in this position, the RANGE light (upper left on the R/T button panel) will remain on and the laser will not fire. Unless in actual use, the laser is normally kept in this mode. Within 4 seconds of switching out of TEST to another mode the red RANGE light should begin blinking, indicating sufficient power exists to fire the laser.

ON mode is used when the automatic transfer of range data to the M21 ballistic computer is not desired. After the gunner or TC has ranged a target, the LRF will store the first three returns and the yellow “select” light will be lit. Using the 1 (1), 2 (2), or LAST (3) buttons on the R/T button panel will display the corresponding returns on the R/T's digital display. If only one return is received by the R/T, it may be displayed with either the 1 or LAST return button. If no return is received, the digital range display will show 9995 regardless of which return button is pressed. Once the TC has evaluated and selected the appropriate return, he can send the data to the M21 computer using the FEED (5) button. At this point the green “go” light will come on indicating the range data was successfully transferred to the computer.

AUTO is the default mode for the LRF. In this mode the last received return is automatically transferred to the M21 computer as long as it is between 400 and 4,700 meters and no more than three range returns were received. If more than three returns are received the yellow “select” light will come on and the range data will not be transferred. At this point the TC can evaluate, select, and manually transfer the range data as described under the ON mode above or, if none of the ranges are correct, he can do one of the following:

  • Press the BATL RNG (4) then RESET (NUM 0) buttons and command the gunner to relase.
  • Press the RESET button and lase the target himself.
  • Have the gunner manually index a range using the Gunner's Control Unit (see the gunner's position below).
  • Initiate a battlesight engagement using either the M105D telescope (GAS) or manual range mode on GCU with a pre-indexed range.
Reset Button

Pressing the RESET button re-energizes the LRF's flash tube, clears any range data in the M21 ballistic computer, and cancels any induced lead. When lasing and engaging targets using the R/Ts optics the TC needs to press the RESET button to re-energize the laser after completing each engagement, if they have a bad range, or if they dump lead and need to relase the target.

Battlerange

Unlike the M1 series of tanks where the LRF and GPS reticle are in coincidence and share the same optical path, the LRF on the M60A3 is in coincidence with the TTS reticle but is located about .50m to the right and just below the TTS sight head. This leads to parallax between the TTS and laser optics. Battlerange serves to minimize this parallax allowing the gunner to use the primary sight to accurately range targets between 200 and 4,700 meters. Battlerange alignment must be performed before ranging to ensure the laser's beam will actually strike the desired target and occurs every time the LRF is turned on or the BATL RNG button is pressed. This means the TC must press the BATL RNG (4) and RESET (NUM 0) buttons before the gunner can fire the laser again! If the TC is lasing directly from the LRF optics he only needs to press the RESET button to fire the laser again, but must press both buttons if lasing from the Commander's Thermal Sight Display (see below). As this sequence can be confusing, below is a step-by-step breakdown of a standard engagement from the TC's point of view with the laser in AUTO mode:

  • LRF ready: Red RANGE light is flashing; Mode switch is set to AUTO; RESET, FEED, and LAST buttons are lit; and the BATL RNG button is unlit.
  1. TC or gunner acquires a target through the TTS (either channel) or the TC acquires a target using the R/Ts optics.
  2. TC or gunner lases target: The red RANGE light stops flashing and stays lit, the BATL RNG button comes on, and the last range return will be displayed on the R/Ts digital display.
  3. TC or gunner completes the engagement, has a bad range, or dumps lead and needs to relase the target.
  4. TC presses the BATL RNG button: The BATL RNG button goes out and the indexed range is cleared from the R/Ts digital display (but is retained in the ballistic computer until the RESET button is pushed). The TC then presses the RESET button and the red RANGE light begins to flash. The LRF is ready.
Pulse Rate

Compared to later designs, the pulse rate for the AN/VVG-2 is relatively low. The sustained pulse rate is three pulses per minute, or six pulses per minute for two minutes with a three minute cooldown before the next two minute interval. This means it's vital for the commander and gunner to monitor their rate of lasing carefully to avoid burning the laser out at an inopportune moment.

Commander's Thermal Sight Display (CTSD)

Commander's Thermal Sight Display and Ammunition Selection panel

The CTSD, as the name implies, is an extension of the gunner's AN/VGS-2 Tank Thermal Sight (TTS). Performing the same role as the Gunner's Primary Sight Extension (GPSE) found on other tanks, the TC is provided with a relaxed viewing scope (biocular sight) of the gunner's TTS view and has direct controls for polarity (- [num pad]), brightness, and contrast (non-functional). The TC can look through the display to see what the gunner is looking at and, like the LRF R/T sight above, can use the P key to override the gunner onto another target or even choose to engage the target himself. Press F2 to access the thermal display. Note that both field of view (magnification) and focus settings (rev. 4.000) for the TTS are controlled by the gunner, and if the gunner is incapacitated, neither of these may be adjusted by the TC.

Key listing for M60A3 TC's position


General Commands:

TAB: Pop smoke. Launches smoke grenades to deploy a smoke screen in the direction that the turret is facing. Useful for breaking up enemy LRF or completely obscuring your vehicle against a non thermal sight equipped threat.

P: Override. Hold to override the turret and use the joystick or mouse to move it.

Q: Raise position in hatch. Moves the TC's view and exposure level up in the hatch.

Z: Lower position in hatch. Moves the TC's view and exposure level down in the hatch.

B: Button and unbutton the hatch (toggle). This is used to close and open the hatch.

N: Multipurpose zoom (toggle). When the TC is unbuttoned, this will bring toggle the binocular view. When the TC is inside the turret this key will make the TC lean forward, essentially zooming in on that spot in the turret. When in the R/T optics this key will toggle between 6x and 12x magnification.

- (num pad): White hot / black hot (toggle). Toggles between the TTS thermal channel white hot and black hot polarity modes.

LEFT ARROW / RIGHT ARROW: Multipurpose. When in the TC's eye view F1, pressing these keys will cause the TC to face to the left or right of the main gun (turret). When in the TC's cupola sight view F3, tap to manually traverse the caliber .50 by turning the manual traverse crank. Tap the keys quicker to traverse the cupola faster. Manual traverse is useful for small azimuth adjustments to the sight.

  • The M19 cupola can also be traversed in powered mode by using the mouse or joystick.

UP ARROW / DOWN ARROW: Multipurpose. When in the TC's eye view F1, pressing these keys will cause the TC to face in the direction of or to the rear of the gun (turret). When in the TC's cupola sight view F3, tap to elevate the caliber .50 by turning the elevation hand crank. Tap the keys quicker to elevate the gun faster.

  • The M36E1 sights can only be elevated using these keys.

1: Select 1st laser return on LRF.

2: Select 2nd laser return on LRF.

3: Select last laser return on LRF.

4: Reset LRF.

5: FEED button. Feeds selected range return to the ballistic computer.

0 (num pad): Battlerange. Activates the BATL RNG button to align the LRF and TTS.


Driver related commands:

SHIFT + BACKSPACE: Shut down / start up engine (toggle). Orders the driver to shut off or start up the engine. If the TC is a platoon leader then it orders the platoon to execute a "short count" and simultaneously shut down or start up their engines.

SHIFT + TAB: Turn engine smoke generator on / off (toggle). Orders the driver to turn on or shut off the Vehicle Engine Exhaust Smoke System (VEESS).

W: Driver, move out. Instructs the driver to move forward (press again for increased speed.

S: Driver, stop. Instructs the driver to stop.

X: Driver, backup. Instructs the driver to reverse.

A: Driver, go left. Instructs the driver to go left (hold the key).

D: Driver, go right. Instructs the driver to go right (hold the key).


Gunner related commands:

SPACE BAR: Multipurpose. Orders the gunner to fire at a target he is looking at when not overriding the gunner and when not in the caliber .50 gun sight view. If the TC is overriding the turret, the this will fire the main gun. If the TC is in the caliber .50 gun sight view, this will fire the caliber .50.

H: Hold fire. Orders the gunner to hold fire. If the TC is a platoon leader then it will also order the platoon to hold fire.

F: Fire at will. Orders the gunner to fire at will. If the TC is a platoon leader then it will also order the platoon to fire at will.

E: Engage. Orders the gunner to engage, and instructs the driver to take up a battle position. If the TC is a platoon leader then it orders the platoon to engage and take up a battle position in the direction of the user's view.

M: Coax / Main gun (toggle). Orders the gunner to toggle between the main gun and coax to engage targets.

SHIFT + LEFT ARROW: Gunner, scan left. Orders the gunner to put move the turret approximately 45 degrees to the left and scan for targets.

SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW: Gunner, scan right. Orders the gunner to put move the turret approximately 45 degrees to the right and scan for targets.

SHIFT + UP ARROW: Gunner, scan front. Orders the gunner to put the gun over the front and scan for targets.


Loader related commands:

INSERT: Fire, fire (ammo type 1, usually sabot/KE). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 1 after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load this round type (if one is not already loaded).

DELETE: Fire, fire (ammo type 2, usually HEAT). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 2 after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load this round type (if one is not already loaded).

HOME: Fire, fire (ammo type 3). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 3 (if there is any) after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load an ammo type 3 round (if one is not already loaded).

END: Fire, fire (ammo type 4). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 4 (if there is any) after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load an ammo type 4 round (if one is not already loaded).

SHIFT + PAGE DOWN: Reload all. Orders the tank crew to reload all weapons systems.

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Gunner's Position F6

Gunner's “F1” eye view

In Steel Beasts the gunner's position on the M60A3 is fully crew-able. The gunner's position is accessed by pressing F6.

Gunner's Primary Sight

The AN/VSG-2 Tank Thermal Sight (TTS) is an integrated day/night periscope used by the gunner as the primary sight to engage and destroy targets. The periscope provides a fixed 8x daylight channel, a 2.67x/8x thermal channel, and a unity window.

TTS Thermal Channel

The most useful aspect of the TTS is the thermal channel. The gunner is provided with a bi-ocular display on the right side of the periscope body with the sight itself accessed by pressing the F2 key. The TTS image may be focused using either the NUM DEL key or holding the ALT key and scrolling the mouse wheel. Pressing + on the num pad toggles the TTS between on and standby (off), while pressing - on the num pad toggles the sight's polarity.

In the low magnification Wide Field of View (WFOV), the sight will display a “framing reticle” that outlines the area that will be magnified in the 8x Narrow Field of View (NFOV). The WFOV is used to quickly scan the terrain, looking for any hot spots that stand out. Once a heat signature is spotted, press N to zoom in, switching the sight to the NFOV.

In NFOV you can track, lase, and engage a target. The TTS 8x view is excellent for engaging targets that may be behind woods or vegetation, behind thin clouds of dust, and behind non multi-spectral smoke screens. The TTS also offers an extreme advantage over non thermal equipped foes in low visibility conditions such as night, poor weather, or fog. The disadvantage of the TTS view is that target identification can be difficult, especially at long range or when the sight is degraded by extreme weather conditions. As a trigger puller, you need to be extremely certain that what you are observing is an enemy vehicle before you commit an act of fratricide. The best way to be certain of this (in good visibility) is to switch the daylight channel once a target is acquired. That said, gunners with experience will memorize the thermal signatures of all vehicles to the point that they can identify targets in the TTS as effectively as they can in daylight view.

Daylight Channel

The AN/VSG-2 features a separate daylight ocular on the left side of the periscope body accessed by pressing ALT + F2. The TTS daylight channel is mostly used when the thermal is damaged or, in good visibility conditions, to better identify targets.

Daylight channel 8x field of view
  • One real world technique that M60A3 gunners utilize is the method of placing the TTS thermal view in 3x magnification and once the target is acquired in 3x thermal, the gunner switches to the 8x daylight for a clear view of the target. Once the gunner destroys the threat (or determines it is not a valid target), he then switches back to the thermal view and scans for more targets and repeats.

The gunner can also change the color filter applied to the GPS daylight sight. To the left of the GPS ocular is a lever with several colored rings. These colored rings are color filters for the daylight sight. Click the lever to change the filter colors.

Sight Symbology

In both the thermal and daylight view, the TTS aiming reticle is located in the center of the appropriate sight and is used for aiming at the target. The center of the reticle is a circle with a dot in the middle of it. The center dot is the aiming point for lasing and firing. With the exception of field of view and polarity indicators in the thermal channel's view, no other symbology is displayed in either TTS channel.

Engaging Targets

Engaging targets with the TTS can be a complicated affair. Obviously the first thing you need to do to engage a target is to acquire it. The best way to do this is by using the wide thermal view.

Lasing

Once a target is acquired, the gunner should switch to 8x magnification by pressing N and place the dot in the center of the reticle on the target and lase by pressing CTRL or Joystick Button 2. Once you lase the target and get the range, lead (pronounced "leed") begins to be calculated.

Lead

It is important to understand that the FCS on the M60A3 automatically induces lead. Lead is the term used to refer to putting a gun in front of a target which is moving perpendicular to your vantage point. When you lead a target, you essentially need to fire in front of target at the point in which the round and target will meet. When the gunner uses the LRF, the M60A3's FCS will calculate lead and the reticle will move in the sight. When a moving target is lased, the turret will jump ahead of the target in order to apply the appropriate lead. This causes the TTS view to move ahead of the target and the reticle appears to lag behind. The ballistic computer calculates lead depending on the range entered into the computer from the lase and the last 1.5 seconds of the turret's horizontal traverse rate.

Thermal channel, 8x magnification, lead induced with a good track on target
  • As with the GPS head mirror on the M1 and M1A1, the mirror in M60A3's TTS is stabilized on a single axis (EL), which means that the mirror cannot move independent of the turret in the horizontal axis, and the reticle moves horizontally in the sight when lead is induced. Unlike the M1's digital FCS, lead on the M60A3 is not calculated “dynamically” but is based solely off of the rate of traverse in the 1.5 seconds before the laser is fired. This means that the amount of lead angle offset is fixed once lead is induced and any variance in the tracking rate may result in a miss.

A "good track" is when you can assume a steady track on the target with the reticle remaining on target as you follow it for at least 1.5 seconds. A "bad track" is when your tracking rate is either too fast or too slow in relation to the targets actual movement; track the target too fast and the reticle slowly moves in front of the target, track the target too slow and the reticle will fall behind. If you fire with a "bad track" then you are most likely going to shoot in front of or behind the target. M60A3 gunners use a variety of techniques to minimize a bad track, which are mentioned in the techniques section below.

  • If you and the target are stationary then you do not need to utilize lead. In this case it is advisable that you quickly "dump lead" (see below) by pressing P after you lase, then fire at the target. This ensures that there is a minimal chance of user induced error from a sudden movement of the sight before firing.
Firing

Once a target is lased and, if the target is moving, a steady track executed, the gun is ready to be fired. To fire the main gun press SPACEBAR or Joystick Button 1. The round will now be launched down range and the enemy will hopefully be rewarded with a quick and painless death.

Reengaging and Dumping Lead

If by some chance you miss the target, you should "dump lead" by pressing P or Joystick Button 3. Dumping lead essentially zeros out the calculated lead and resets the sight to zero. On the M60A3 dumping lead is necessary after each engagement due to the sight's lead angle offset being fixed once lead is induced. If you or the target is moving then once lead is dumped you need to put the reticle back on the target, track, lase, and fire again.

Indexing Ammo and Activating Cant Correction (if stationary)
Gunner's Ammunition Selection Unit, and Cant Correction indicator lights

If the TC changes the main gun ammo type (ie. from sabot to HEAT), you must select the new ammo type when the round is loaded by pressing INSERT (ammo type 1, typically sabot), DELETE ammo type 2, typically HEAT), HOME (ammo type 3) or END (ammo type 4). This is referred to as "indexing" the round type. Essentially the gunner pushes the corresponding ammunition button on the Ammunition Selection Unit thereby telling the ballistic computer what round trajectory to calculate.

If the gunner does not properly index the ammo type then the round will be wildly off target. If sabot is indexed and a HEAT round is fired then the round will impact short of the target. If HEAT is indexed and a sabot round is fired then you will launch a small unmanned sub-orbital mission.

  • The easiest way to tell when you need to index a new round type is by listening to the TC announce "fire, fire HEAT" or "fire, fire sabot" etc. Another sign of when to index a new ammo type is by listening to the loader. Every time a HEAT round is loaded into the gun the loader will announce "HEAT up". If a sabot round is loaded following a HEAT round then he will announce "sabot up". Every subsequent sabot round loaded will only be announced with "up".

Also on the Gunner's Ammunition Selection Unit (ASU) you will see two lights, a green "MOVING" and a red "STATIONARY" light. If the M60 is stationary and sitting on a lateral cant angle, then you should activate cant correction by either left clicking the switch located on the center bottom of the ASU, or by pressing SHIFT + C. Note that when you do this, the light will change to red "STATIONARY", and the cant correction is now active.

  • CAUTION: The cant correction system does not function properly while you are moving. When your tank is moving you should always deactivate cant correction (so that the green "MOVING" light is illuminated), otherwise you may have an FCS malfunction or get a bad firing solution.


Stabilization and Firing on the Move

The M60A3's stabilization system allows the tank to effectively engage point and area targets at speeds between 16 an 34 kilometers per hour (10 to 20 mph), and is controlled from three positions within the tank. The Control Selector Assembly allows the gunner to turn the stabilization system on, off, or on standby. At the commander's and loader's stations are located Emergency Shutoff Control units allowing either crewman to deactivate the stabilization system by placing it into standby.

When firing on the move, if the vehicle is traveling faster than 20 kph ["slow" speed on a route] then the loader will disable the stabilization system while loading the gun. Once the gun is loaded, the gunner can re-enable stabilization by pressing the V key (simulating flipping the STAB switch on the Control Selector Assembly to ON).

Manually Inputting Range
Gunner's control unit (GCU) with MANUAL/RANGEFINDER switch set to manual, and 1200 meters indexed on the range wheel

There may be instances when the gunner must manually index a range into the gunner's control unit (GCU). This may be necessary if a target cannot be lased through a smoke screen and another tank in the platoon has a good range on it, or the gunner wants to make an estimate, or for a variety of other reasons.

To manually input a range into the gunner's control unit, look at the GCU in eye view. The best way to do this is to press F1, move the view to the right then press F1 again to disconnect the mouse from the view direction. While looking at the GCU, use the mouse to set the MANUAL/RANGEFINDER switch at the GCU's lower right corner to MANUAL. Use the mouse wheel to rotate the far right range scale to the desired range. The numbers on the scale represent the range to the target in hundreds of meters, from 400 to 4000 meters. The range will be entered into the FCS as the scale is rotated and the gun tube will elevate or depress as if you just lased a target.

  • Note that with the MANUAL/RANGEFINDER switch in the RANGEFINDER position, inputs from the GCU's range scale will be ignored by the FCS. This allows the gunner to “pre-index" a battlesight range on the range scale and instantly index that range by setting the switch to the MANUAL position.

Practice makes perfect when entering manual range into the GCU. At first the above process may seem cumbersome, but with practice you can enter range into the GCU in about three seconds.

  • The process of looking at and entering range into the gunner's control unit simulates the fact that on the real M60A3 you could not and would not enter the range into the GCU without also looking at it.
Techniques

There are many different gunner techniques (aka. "ancient Chinese secrets") when dealing with gunnery on the M60A3. The two most common techniques are lase and blaze and steady track, lase, steady track, fire.

Lase and blaze is a technique where the gunner picks up a good track on a target for a second and a half or more then rapidly lases and fires (in a lase, fire one-two movement) as quickly as possible. The theory behind this technique is that a rapid lase and fire minimizes gunner error on lead calculation. The general tendency for gunners is to over compensate or change their track speed after a target is lased if the gunner hesitates when firing the gun. The disadvantage of this technique is that depending on how fast the target is moving and its range, lase and blaze may cause firing to occur before the turret fully "jumps" in front of the target to its proper lead position, but this should be a rare occurrence, especially if you time the one-two lase-fire at about a half second interval.

Track, lase, track, fire is a technique where the gunner puts / tracks the reticle on target, gets a good lase, then performs or maintains a steady track of the target for a second and a half or more. The gunner then fires once a good track on the target is achieved. The theory behind this technique is that after the gunner lases, the gunner maintains the appropriate traverse speed to visually see that a good track is achieved on the target with the reticle. This method offers the greatest chance of a first round hit, but because the amount of lead is fixed once induced, the range may be incorrect or the target may have changed speed when he finally decides to fire. Of course, the gunner can always re-lase the target to update the lead calculation, at the cost of life saving seconds.

  • The successful gunner may use a mixture of the two techniques or perfect their own technique, but the most capable gunner recognizes when to dump lead, re-lase, and start the process over instead of firing and wasting a round, precious seconds, or blowing the element of surprise.

Gunner's Auxiliary Sight (GAS)

M105D sight, HEAT reticle

The M105D articulated telescope (GAS) is the gunner's secondary means to engage targets when the TTS is disabled or when the fire control system has a fault. The GAS is also the sight that the gunner should reference when determining whether the gun tube is clear of a forward obstruction (like a berm or ridge line). Press F3 to access the GAS.

The GAS sight has a fixed 8x magnification and is always aligned with the gun.

  • When the gun is elevated and depressed the GAS sight picture does not rotate like that of the later M1 series thanks to the addition of a Porro prism at the sight's hinged joint. Because this assembly is fairly bulky, it was omitted on the M1 series due to space constraints.
Sight Symbology
GAS HEP-T-APDS sight symbology

The GAS sight is fairly simple to understand. At the top of the sight is the name of the reticle that you currently have selected. Below this is the boresight cross and the aiming lines which are used to determine the elevation of the gun once you determine the range to the target. The numbers to the right or left of the aiming lines are the range in hundreds of meters and the horizontal dashes (offset from the center of the sight) are to assist the gunner with estimating lead on moving targets.

Engaging Targets

Engaging targets with the GAS is not an exact science. It can require several rounds, a good deal of estimation, and "Kentucky windage" before you hit a moving the target, but stationary targets should be relatively easy to hit if the process is done correctly. The basic process behind using the GAS to engage a target is to select the proper reticle, estimate the range to the target, engage the target, make adjustments and reengage if necessary.

Selecting the Proper Reticle

The first thing you must do is select the proper reticle of the round which is currently loaded by pressing R.

  • The sight marked "HEP-T-APDS" at the top is for High Explosive, Plastic (HEP), WP Smoke, and sabot (both APDS and APFSDS) rounds respectively.
Ranging

Unlike the GAS on the M1 series, the M105D telescope lacks any built in means for determining a targets range. This means the gunner must rely on a range provided by the TC or by using some form of range estimation technique. Refer to the Range Estimation page to review various range determination techniques applicable to Steel Beasts.

Firing
GAS view, aiming at the target (1600m)

Once the range is estimated to the target, elevate the GAS sight so that the appropriate range numbers to the right or left of the vertical scale are even with the target in the sight. Next, if the target is stationary, align the target with the center of the sight marked with the vertical lines above and below the middle circle. If the target is moving, use the dashed lines to the left and right of center to estimate lead depending on the target's speed.

Continuing with the example, the target's range was estimated at 1600m and the target is stationary. The sight is elevated so that the target is even with the "16" on the right side of the HEAT scale, and the target is centered in the sight along the center vertical lines.

Once this is done, you are now ready to engage the target.

Target! Cease Fire!


Reengage

In the event that you miss the target, you should simply adjust the sight in relation to where the round hit and walk it into the target. You should not waste valuable time estimating the range to the target again unless the target is rapidly moving towards or away from you.

  • If you have sabot loaded and you need to quickly engage a target that is 1200m or less from your position, do not worry about the range: simply place the target in the center circle on the APDS reticle and fire!

Gunner's Unity Sight

Gunner's unity sight

The gunner's unity sight is simply a vision block that the gunner has that allows him to see a 1x view through the periscope housing (aka. "dog house"). This sight can be useful if you need to see immediately to the front of the turret in a relatively wide field of view and features a red projected infinity sight (red circle) used when firing the coaxial machine gun. Press F4 to enter the unity sight and use the joystick or mouse to move the turret around normally.

Key listing for M60A3 gunner's position


Weapon system commands:

P or Joystick Button 3: Disengage palm switches. Press to release the palm switches and disengage hydraulic power to the turret. This is done mainly to dump lead in the ballistic computer.

N: Zoom (toggle). Toggles between 3x and 10x in the TTS (the thermal and daylight channels can be at independent magnifications).

SPACE BAR: Fire. Fires the currently selected weapon system (main gun or coax).

SHIFT + SPACEBAR: Master blaster. Fires the main gun via the master blaster (the manual fire control handle which generates an electrical current when the handle is twisted). The master blaster is useful for fire control system malfunctions where the gun does not respond or when electrical power to the turret is lost.

SHIFT + C: Cant correction. Toggles cant correction on and off, which helps compensate for the cant tilt angle of your tank. Note that cant correction is only supposed to be used when your tank is stationary and not when it is on the move, otherwise you may get errors in your firing solution.

CTRL: Lase. Lases the target or area currently in the GPS reticle.

M: Main / Coax (toggle). Toggles between the main gun and coax.

R: GAS reticle (toggle). Toggles between the HEP-T-APDS and HEAT reticles in the GAS.

SHIFT + B: TTS ballistic shield (toggle). Toggles the TTS shield (dog house door) open and closed. This is useful to protect the sight from incoming high explosive artillery rounds.

+ (num pad): Thermal on/off (toggle). Toggles between the TTS thermal channel on or off.

- (num pad): White hot / black hot (toggle). Toggles between the TTS thermal channel white hot and black hot polarity modes.

. (num pad): Thermal auto-focus. Quickly focuses the thermal picture on the object underneath the reticle.

ALT + Mouse Wheel: Manual thermal focus. Allows the gunner to manually focus the thermal picture.

V: Stabilization switch (toggle). Toggles the stabilization system between STANDBY and ON.

INSERT: Sabot indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on sabot, indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.

DELETE: HEAT indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on HEAT, indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.

HOME: Ammo type 3 indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on ammo type 3 (if there is any), indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.

END: Ammo type 4 indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on ammo type 4 (if there is any), indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.

LEFT ARROW / RIGHT ARROW: Manual traverse. Tap to traverse the turret using the manual hand crank. Tap the keys quicker to traverse the turret faster. Manual traverse is vital when hydraulic pressure or electrical power is lost.

UP ARROW / DOWN ARROW: Manual elevation. Tap to elevate the main gun using the manual hand crank. Tap the keys quicker to elevate the main gun faster. Manual elevation is vital when hydraulic pressure or electrical power is lost.


Tank commander related commands:

T: Identified! Tells the TC that you have located a target and that you are going to engage it. Essentially it tells the AI TC to leave you alone while you engage and forbids the AI from overriding you to another target. Use at your own risk.

I: I can't see it! Tells the TC that you cannot see a target or the one he is commanding you to engage. Essentially it tells the AI TC to override you on to a target that it wants you to engage.


Driver related commands:

W: Driver, move out. Instructs the driver to move forward (press again for increased speed.

S: Driver, stop. Instructs the driver to stop.

X: Driver, backup. Instructs the driver to reverse.


Driver's Position F9

In Steel Beasts the driver's position on the M60A3 is fully modeled and crew-able. The driver's position is accessed by pressing F9.

Driver's vision blocks

When buttoned up, the driver views the world through 3 vision blocks set in the roof of his compartment. From this position the user can raise and lower their perspective (and exposure level) by holding the Q key (to go up) and the Z key (to go down). The driver can also button or unbutton (close and open the drivers's hatch) by pressing the B key (toggle).

Loader's Position

In Steel Beasts the loader's position on the M60A3 is currently not crew-able and is handled by the AI. The AI loader performs the main responsibility of loading the main gun and he also replenishes ammunition from the semi-ready rack when the TC orders a reload command.

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