The M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) was developed from the existing M60 Patton Main Battle Tank (MBT) as a dedicated bridge-launching vehicle. The design retained the form-and-function of the M60 combat tank but lacked its powered turret system (and therefore standard armament). In place of this component was a "scissors-type" bridge assembly set atop a specialized mounting used to launch and retrieve the bridge unit. The bridge has a running length of 60 feet and measured 13 feet wide - allowing most any vehicle to use traverse it. The bridge component was made up of two sections, seated one over the other when at rest. When extended, the unit unfolded from its shared hinge.
The bridge component was then disconnected from the host vehicle, allowing other army elements to traverse ditches and bodies of water that, in the past, would have proved problematic to an advancing ground force. One the bridge was used, the host vehicle could then cross its own bridge and retrieved the bridge component for reuse elsewhere on the battlefield. The bridge-laying operation could be completed in just five minutes by the crew of two (made up of a driver and vehicle commander).
The original M60 AVLB debuted in 1967 while its upgraded form appeared in 1987 after the arrival of the M60A1 production model. Power was served through a Continental AVDS-1790-2C diesel-fueled engine of 750 horsepower used to drive a conventional track-and-wheel arrangement, allowing the vehicle a range out (operationally) to 290 miles while achieving road speeds near 30 miles-per-hour. The hull was suspended atop a torsion bar suspension system allowing for the necessary cross-country capability required of the modern American Army and Marine forces.
The M60 AVLB went on to prove its usefulness in both "Persian Gulf" wars (1991, 2003) and continues to serve in limited numbers today (2019), most with foreign parties. Beyond its service with the United States Army and Marine Corps, the M60 AVLB has found a home in the ground forces of Israel, Pakistan, Singapore, and Spain.
For the American Army, the M60 AVLB has been replaced by the M104 "Wolverine" (detailed elsewhere on this site) based on the chassis and running gear of the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (in its M1A2 SEP production guise).
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