Turkey has deployed upgraded M60T main battle tanks (MBTs) for its Operation ‘Olive Branch’ against Kurdish fighters in the Afrin region of northwest Syria.
Images taken on the Turkish side of the border near Afrin in mid-February show a number of M60Ts equipped with laser warning receivers (LWRs), situational awareness systems, and remotely operated weapon stations (ROWS) that form part of an indigenous upgrade package.
The upgraded version of the M60T was seen when Turkish forces participated in an exercise with Iraqis on the border between their two countries in September 2017, but this is the first time it is known to have been involved in a combat operation.
Not all the Turkish M60s being used in Operation ‘Olive Branch’ have had the upgrade, with several older variants such as M60A3s and baseline M60Ts also being photographed.
The M60T upgrade was unveiled in May 2017 at the IDEF defence exhibition in Istanbul and is the result of a partnership between Aselsan and the General Directorate of Military Factories (AFGM). The LWR, situational awareness systems, and SARP ROWS are all manufactured by Aselsan, with AFGM believed to be responsible for integrating them onto the platform.
Four sets of the LWR and situational awareness systems are mounted on the turret of the tank: two on either side of the arrow-shaped frontal appliqué armour and two on the slat armour at the rear. The LWS is mounted in a rectangular box and the situational awareness system with three apertures directly above it.
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