Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System (HERCULES) Improved Recovery Vehicle — M88A2
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The M88A2 Improved Recovery Vehicle HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System) recovers tanks mired to different depths, removes and replaces tank turrets and power packs, and uprights overturned heavy combat vehicles. The main winch on the M88A2 is capable of a 70-ton, single-line recovery, allowing the HERCULES to provide recovery of the 70-ton M1A2 Abrams tank.

The A-frame boom and hoist winch of the M88A2 can lift 35 tons. The spade can be used to anchor the vehicle when using the main winch and can be used for light earth moving to prepare a recovery area. The M88A2 employs an auxiliary power unit to provide auxiliary electrical and hydraulic power when the main engine is not in operation. It can also be used to slave start other vehicles, as well as a means to refuel or defuel vehicles. The M88A2 can refuel Abrams tanks from its own fuel tanks.

The M88A2 HERCULES is the successor vehicle to the M88A1, which only had a recovery capability of 56 tons. The M88A1’s mission was focused on the M60 Series tank while the M88A2 is focused on the Abrams tank.


The HERCULES provides towing, winching and hoisting to support battlefield recovery operations and evacuation of heavy tanks and other tracked combat vehicles. As such, HERCULES is the recovery workhorse of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT).


  • Crew: Three, plus space for four passengers
  • Weight: 70 tons
  • Length: 338 inches
  • Width: 144 inches
  • Height: 127 inches
  • Speed (no load): 30 mph
  • Speed (with load): 26 mph with 70-ton load
  • Cruising Range: 300 miles, 413 gallons
  • Boom Lift Height: 25 feet
  • Engine: 1,050 horsepower
  • Armament: .50 Caliber M2



  • M88A2 production (converted from M88A1) continued at approximate rate of four vehicles per month at the BAE facility in York, Pennsylvania. Production for the Army through Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) is 809 vehicles toward an Army Acquisition Objective (AAO) of 933.
  • M88A2 HERCULES Fielding and New Equipment Training completed for Army units in the United States, Germany, Kuwait and Korea
  • Operational Modification for fielded vehicles continued and modification work order installations were completed on 652 M88A2s
  • Initiated an Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) to regain Single Vehicle Recovery (SVR) of the heaviest tracked vehicles with receipt of FY18 Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funding



  • M88A2 production expected to complete 90 percent in 2QFY20
  • M88A2 production toward the AAO of 933 planned for completion in FY23
  • M88A2 fielding will be conducted for the 16th ABCT and the European Deterrence Initiative Army Preposition Stock-2 ABCT
  • RDT&E SVR ECP development will continue
  • Combat Recovery Systems Product Management Office intends to award up to three prototype agreements via the Detroit Arsenal Automotive Other Transaction Agreement in late FY19. These prototype agreements seek to regain lost capability for the M88A2. By inserting new or modified M88A2 component hardware, contractors shall provide a concept demonstrator capable of SVR of the heaviest tracked combat vehicle (M1 Abrams with force protection kits applied).
  • Funding dependent, a competitive prototyping effort will conclude no later than FY22 with a government led “run-off” test event to select a winning contractor/concept. This effort will transition into further development of prototypes to support government test, logistics products development, and vehicle production in support of fielding this enhanced capability to the ABCTs.

Foreign Military Sales

Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon and Thailand


  • BAE Systems (York, PA)