Like the United States Marine Corps, the Spanish Marine Infantry currently does not have tanks.
In 1993 the Spanish Marine Infantry received 16 M-60A3 TTS Patton main battle tanks, equipped with a 105mm main gun, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a 12.7mm heavy machine gun in the commander's turret. These tanks were part of the Company of Cars of the Amphibious Mechanized Group, today called the Third Mechanized Landing Battalion (BDMZ-III), of the Tercio de Armada (TEAR), based in San Fernando (Cádiz).
The M-60 is the latest offshoot of a family of main battle tanks that began with the M-47 Patton in 1951 and continued with the M-48 (also nicknamed Patton) in 1953. M-60 appeared in 1960 as an evolution of the M-48. In the United States it was in service until 1997.
These tanks arrived in Spain in the 1990s. In addition to the aforementioned M-60A3 TTS from the Marine Infantry, the Army received 244 M-60A3s, as well as several dozen second-hand M-60A1s, which arrived in such poor condition that ET ended up giving up the rest of the batch (there were 110 in total) and converted the 50 received into sapper and bridge-launcher vehicles. The Army's M-60s were withdrawn from service after the arrival of the Leopard 2E.
The aforementioned Company of Cars of the Tercio de Armada was created in 1966 with M-48A1 tanks, which were updated to the M-48A3 version in 1976 and 1977. The Company ended up also integrating the British FV101 light tanks Scorpion received by the Marine Infantry in 1985, until its sale to the Chilean Navy in 2008. The M-60A3 TTS received in 1993, and which replaced the M-48A3, came from the US Army , specifically from a unit stationed in Germany.
The TEAR M-60A3 TTS were decommissioned between 2010 and 2020. Currently there are none left in service. Hence the surprise of information that has appeared on social networks. Twitter user Shackleton published today the links to two documents from the Contracting Platform of the State. One of them (see PDF), on the letterhead of the Navy Logistics Support Headquarters, is entitled "Technical specifications sheet (PPT). Maintenance service for chain combat vehicles of the Tercio de Armada (2023)."
Page 3 of the document reads the following: "For the execution of the maintenance contemplated in this document, the guidelines established in both the Maintenance Manuals of the M-109 A2 self-propelled howitzer will be followed , FAASV M992 ammunition vehicle, M-60 A3TTS Combat Tank and M-88 A1 recovery tank as in the Manuals and Technical Documentation related to main assemblies and subassemblies."
The mention of the M-60A3 TTS has caused surprise, since there is talk of the maintenance of some vehicles that have been withdrawn from service. It could be attributed to a possible error if it were not for the fact that the M-60A3 TTS is mentioned again on page 4 of the document, where the technical manuals of the tank itself and the manuals on the organic maintenance of the tower and the hull. The M-60a3 TTS manuals are referred to again on page 7 when reviewing the regulations applicable to the maintenance contract.
Likewise, on page 30 of the document there is a complete description of the vehicle, which you can see on these lines. Likewise, in Annex II of the document, on page 31, the maintenance tasks for these tanks are listed, which include cleaning and degreasing, a general inspection, the disassembly of elements, a detailed inspection and ua diagnosis and evaluation, with a total estimate of 28 hours for all these tasks.
Finally, on pages 53 and following the tasks that must be carried out to carry out these maintenance tasks of the M-60A3 TTS tanks and the M-88A1 recovery vehicles are precisely detailed. The description of those tasks covers a total of eight pages: the entire final part of the document, which consists of 60 pages.
It is worth wondering if the indicated tasks are intended to provide minimal maintenance to those tanks now in storage, in case they are needed one day, but such exhaustive tasks are striking for vehicles that are no longer in use .
Another possibility is that they are going to be delivered to Ukraine, but the government has not said anything about it and it is worth asking if obsolete tanks like the M-60 would be useful there (although better old tanks than none).
The third possibility is that they will be reactivated while waiting for new tanks. At the moment, the Spanish Navy has not indicated that it will put them back into service. I will keep you informed with what is known about it.
Photos: Armada Española.
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