Author Topic: M60A4 Avenger  (Read 1648 times)

Offline Claymore

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M60A4 Avenger
« on: February 12, 2017, 10:03:20 PM »
Wasn't sure that I was going to be able to hit the deadline so haven't posted anything till now.

Here we go...

M60A4 Avenger

The M60A2 with its narrow profile turret and M48 152-mm gun/launcher entered service with the US Army in 1972. The large calibre gun capable of firing high explosive for infantry support and the MGM-51 Shillelagh guided missile for long-range anti-tank engagements mounted on the standard M60 hull seemed like a winning combination. However, the Shillelagh missile never lived up to expectation and to make matters worse, when the 152mm gun was fired, the excessive blast and recoil tended to throw the sensitive missile tracking optics and electronics out of alignment. No solution could be found to the conundrum and by 1981 the M60A2 had been withdrawn from frontline service.

In the late 1970s, when it was becoming obvious that the writing was on the wall for the M60A2, plans were drawn up to have the majority of the redundant vehicles stripped of their turrets and converted into the US Army’s now standard M60A3 Main Battle Tank (MBT).  However, at the same time a number of unique projects were considered to take advantage of the impending surplus of vehicles. One such project was the M60A4 Avenger.

Having witnessed the Israeli Defence Force’s (IDF) Magach 5 Avenger, itself a combination of M48 hull, M60A2 turret and the 7-barrelled, 30mm, GAU-8 rotary-cannon, in the escort role, there was interest in certain quarters for the US Army to have a similar capability.  The M60A2’s narrow profile ‘Starship’ turret was duly converted to accept the impressive bulk of the GAU-8 and its ammunition feed system.  It is worthy of note that the US Army decided to follow the IDF’s lead in mounting the GAU-8 in the same linear configuration as was intended for its installation into the A-10 Thunderbolt II; fortuitously, the M60A2 turret lent itself to this design.

The end result was an elegant, yet brutal looking vehicle that promised much. 

Whilst the initial trials conducted at Fort Knox confirmed the hopes of many and inspired all who saw it in action, particularly the infantry, they also highlighted some noticeable shortcomings and doctrinal failings.  With each 1 second burst capable of firing 35 x 30mm rounds down range, the M60A4 Avenger was extremely adept at chewing up soft-skin and light armoured vehicles, not to mention buildings and infantry defensive positions.  Not entirely surprisingly, its ability against any heavily armoured vehicle was less assured and whilst capable of inflicting mobility or sensor kills, just did not have the punch in its 30mm rounds to defeat the frontal armour of most modern MBTs.  With no long-range anti-tank capability the Avenger was at a disadvantage.  It also became apparent that in its escort role, and the urban escort role in particular, the GAU-8 was just too big for the job.  Smaller weapon systems, such as the 20mm M61 Vulcan rotary-cannon, were just as capable, were more easily mounted and could carry more ammunition.  It was further argued that a vehicle mounting the small cannon would allow for a complimentary long-range missile system to be added. 

There have been very few armoured vehicles produced that have been quite so impressive when firing on the range as the M60A4 Avenger and yet so perplexing as to how it might be employed.  Of the 20 vehicles produced, all remained with the school of armour at Fort Knox waiting for a doctrinal or tactical evolution that never came to pass before eventually being retired form service in 1988.  The last 2 surviving vehicles can be found at Fort Benning and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Museum.

The model depicts M60A4 Avenger, callsign 41, as it appeared at the end of the initial trials at Fort Knox in the summer of 1979 and is constructed from an Academy M60A2 and various scratch built parts.











I've been working on this on and off for a few months now and really had to finish it off (someone is after it).  Here are a few shots of it in development...








« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 04:31:52 AM by Claymore »
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2017, 02:11:27 AM »
 :)  Impressive.

What's the gun source/scale?
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Offline Claymore

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 02:33:11 AM »
The GAU-8 is mostly scratch built from piano wire as close as I could get it to the actual diameter of the barrels in 1/35 scale.  The baked bean can affair on the end is courtesy of some small machine shop in Poland.  The actual scale is debateable - it sells as 1/32 but in actuality is not that far off for use as 1/35.  Given that it is a super-nice piece of engineering and would be almost impossible to scratch build, I am happy accepting a very minor scale variation.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 03:05:28 AM by Claymore »
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 02:58:57 AM »
Works for me.
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Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 08:07:28 AM »
What a beast! :)
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Offline kerick

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 08:18:35 AM »
Impressive skills and a great concept! All around winner!

Offline Crbad

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 08:36:37 AM »
Great work as always Claymore! Before joining this forum, I hadn't built a tank model since I was a kid. Modelers like you, Old Wombat and Ysi Maniac have given me a lot of inspiration. Thanks!
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Offline Crbad

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 09:08:10 AM »
This also gives me an idea for an M60a2. Yank the 152 and replace it with a 120mm. Add reactive armour for the USMC in Desert Storm...
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 10:03:42 AM »
The very definition of killer!

Outstanding!

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Offline Claymore

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2017, 03:20:36 PM »
Thank you all. The build wasn't without its problems, particularly when I spilled a pot of thinners over the top of the paint job and then snapped the barrel off in my haste to move it!
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Kelmola

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2017, 05:17:31 PM »
This certainly does justice to the BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT. :-*

Offline Volkodav

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2017, 05:58:09 PM »
How am I possibly going to decide who to vote for?  :icon_crap:

Offline Claymore

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2017, 04:39:24 AM »
Nobody ever said life was going to be easy!  ;)
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2017, 05:08:43 PM »
Top-notch work once more, Claymore! :) :)
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Offline Claymore

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2017, 07:02:04 AM »
Thank you my good man.  :)
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline ysi_maniac

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2017, 11:46:39 AM »
A total beauty !!!  :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

Offline japsubshunter

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2017, 09:26:19 AM »
Stunning creative idea...................Maybe some Military R&D group will design a real one.................definitely something that is sorely needed on the battlefield.

Can already imagine the Gatling gun with a much larger transporter with loads of ammo - enough to do some serious street clearing.

Offline Crbad

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2017, 10:17:27 PM »
I read an article recently that this was actually tried! It was part of the DIVAD program which was eventually won by the disastrous M247 Sergeant York. I'll see if I can find the article and link.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: M60A4 Avenger
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2017, 04:28:05 AM »
Is this the one you are thinking of:



I believe it is/was a M48A5 chassis.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!