BAE Systems to build additional armored recovery vehicles and vetronics to recover armored combat vehicles

July 14, 2022
The latest version of the M88 is the M88A2 HERCULES. Its primary role is to repair or replace damaged parts in fighting vehicles while under fire.

WARREN, Mich. – Armored combat vehicles experts at BAE Systems will provide the U.S. Army with M88 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation System (HERCULES) vehicles and related vetronics under terms of a $40.6 million contract announced on Tuesday.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., are awarding the contract to the BAE Systems Platforms & Services segment in York, Pa., to provide the battlefield armored recovery vehicles.

The latest version of the M88 is the M88A2 HERCULES. Its primary role is to repair or replace damaged parts in fighting vehicles while under fire, as well as to free combat vehicles that have become bogged down or entangled.

The HERCULES essentially is an armored tow truck for the battlefield. Its main winch is capable of a 70 ton, single line recovery, and a 140 ton 2:1 recovery when used with the 140 ton pulley.

Related: BAE Systems chooses Elbit for vetronics sensors and active protection for Swedish armored combat vehicle

The M88A2 recovery vehicle and its vetronics package is one of the largest all-weather armored recovery vehicles in the Army inventory. It's based on the M60 Patton tank chassis and weighs 63.5 tons. The vehicle is able to tow the 70-ton Abrams tank on slopes and in muddy conditions.

There are three variants, of which the M88A2 Hercules is the largest. The Hercules, a tracked vehicle, can move as fast as 25 miles per hour, with improved braking and steering.

The Hercules also has armored track skirts and applique armor panels, as well as nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) defenses and a smoke screen generator. The vehicle has a crew of three.

The A-frame boom can lift 35 tons when used with the spade down. The spade can do light earth moving and anchor the M88A2 when the vehicle uses its main winch.

Related: Army orders 98 new armored backhoe construction vehicles and vetronics in $36.3 million order

The M88 has an auxiliary power unit to provide auxiliary electrical and hydraulic power when the main engine is off, and also can slave start other vehicles, provide power for the hydraulic impact wrench, and refuel or de-fuel other combat vehicles.

The M88A2 includes a 1,050-horsepower engine; a 35-ton boom; overlay armor; a 140,000-pound, single-line, constant-pull main winch; and a 3-ton auxiliary winch for deploying the main winch cable.

On this contract BAE Systems will do the work in York, Pa., and should be finished by April 2024. For more information contact BAE Systems Platforms & Services online at, or the Army Contracting Command-Detroit Arsenal at

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!