The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract worth $110.4 million to convert 36 M88A1 Recovery Vehicles to the M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation Systems (HERCULES) configuration.
«The HERCULES is an integral part of the U.S. Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) and essential to its recovery missions as the fleet becomes heavier», said John Tile, director of Recovery Programs at BAE Systems. «This award continues the Army’s stated objective to pure-fleet its M88s to the more capable HERCULES configuration».
The fleet of ABCT vehicles is getting heavier, making it increasingly important that the recovery fleet is upgraded to support it. The HERCULES, which provides recovery support to soldiers in the field, is the only vehicle able to recover the M1 Abrams tank and the heaviest Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) variants in a combat environment.
The M88 plays a critical role in the company’s efforts to maintain the Combat Vehicle Industrial Base by supporting a team of highly skilled professionals and protecting the affordability of the Army’s combat vehicles. The support of Congress and the Army to protect these vital capabilities through M88 upgrades helps sustain the workforce at BAE Systems’ facilities and ensures that they will be available for future programs.
Work on the contract is expected to begin immediately by the existing workforce and will take place primarily at the company’s York, Pennsylvania, and Aiken, South Carolina, facilities. Deliveries will begin in January 2017 and continue through October 2017.
The M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System (HERCULES) improved Recovery Vehicle is the recovery system of choice for today’s 70-ton combat vehicles. With the lowest acquisition, operational and maintenance cost of any 70-ton capable recovery system, HERCULES answers the need for cost-effective, self-supporting heavy recovery performance.
The HERCULES was the primary 70-ton recovery system during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And, U.S. troops found a few other creative uses for its capabilities when they used it to pull down the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad on April 9, 2003. HERCULES utilizes a hull designed for the recovery mission and thoroughly proven by U.S. Army testing. Stability and performance are unmatched by any alternate tank-based design.
HERCULES offers operational and logistics commonality with the existing M88A1 fleet, simplifying training and parts availability. Key upgrades include improved power-assisted braking, improved steering, improved electrical system and increased engine horsepower.
HERCULES features overlay armor protection, ballistic skirts, a longer 35-ton boom, a 140,000-pound/63,504-kg constant pull main winch with 280 feet/85 m of cable, and an auxiliary three-ton winch to aid main winch cable deployment. The M88A2 HERCULES is built and equipped to be the world’s recovery champion.