Xenon Searchlight cover

Looking for photos or info on the cover for the Xenon searchlight used on the M60s. Was only the glass covered or the entire assembly? How was it secured? Didn’t have much luck with the interweb search but I’m not all that good at it. Hoping one of you guys will come through. Thanks.

Your right, it’s very hard to find good photos of them, most photos seem to be of M60A3s. But I have collected a few over the years:

There was a hard, rigid piece, I think it was plywood, sewn inside the front of the cover to protect the glass. At least on mine.

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Thanks. was the back also covered except for the power cable or was it exposed. It looks like it just a slip on cover don’t really see any straps or fasteners.

Yes, the back was covered, and no, I don’t recall any kind of straps or tie-downs.

Thanks again. Easy enough to fabricate.

Yea, I made mine out of tissue paper soaked in diluted white glue, then painted. Old Shep Paine stuff!

Are those external fuel drums on the back in the third picture??

Could be. Looks like it is being used as an OPFOR training tank.

There were two types of searchlights used. The one that comes to mind for me is the larger version, which was first adopted after the Crouse-Hinds version used on M48 and first M60 vehicles. The cover appeared to be canvas that slipped over the front face/lens of the light, and extended back what looks to be about six-eight inches. Two straps extended from there, running to the back where they joined the matching ends running from the bottom of the cover. Regular spring-loaded clips held the strap ends together, just like any US vehicle stowage. That cover was intended to protect just the lens, not cover the entire unit.

As m75 mentions above, there were two types of Xenon searchlights used on the M60 tank series. The larger, square one was the AN/VSS-1 which was most common on early M60A1/A2s (and M48s). The later AN/VSS-3A was a smaller, more compact and lighter weight unit found on late M60A1s and early M60A3s. By the mid-late 1980s, M60A3s had the TTS (Tank Thermal Sight) system installed, which no longer required a searchlight.

M60A1 w/AN/VVS-1

AN/VVS-1 w/Cover

AN/VVS-3A on a HMMWV(?)

Shown on M60A1/A3s, covered, in above posts. I can’t seem to find any pics that show one mounted and uncovered.

Thanks Gino. Just what I was looking for.

You probably won’t, unless it is in use. The cover was not tied down, that I’m aware of, and just slipped off easily when needed, which was mostly at night. I remember one time at Graf, were were assigned as searchlight tank for night gunnery. We sat out there on an unused battle position, illuminating targets with either white light or IR, as directed by range control. since the light used so much power, I had to keep the engine running most of the time. Also kept the heater running, it was cold at night.


We actually volunteered for searchlight duty. I was the gunner, and would make out the range card, with Azimuth and elevation details.On the M60A2, the elevation of the searchlight was adjustable with a toggle switch, moving the arm a few degrees up or down. So I would watch the azimuth indicator swing to the location of the target, the TC would turn on the light , and I would reach over and fine tune the elevation of the light on target. Then I would go back to reading a book or something