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Updated: 2022


PEO Ground Combat Systems
Acquisition Category: ACAT I
Acquisition Lifecycle Phase: Production & Deployment



The M88A2 Improved Recovery Vehicle Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System (HERCULES) 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 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 and to refuel or defuel vehicles. The M88A2 can refuel Abrams tanks from its own fuel tanks.

The M88A2 HERCULES system is currently executing an Engineering Change Proposal to modernize the M88A2 to execute single vehicle recovery for the 80-ton heavy combat vehicle. The M88A3 is targeted for production in Fiscal Year (FY) 23.


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.


  • 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


  • 4QFY19:
    • Awarded the Other Transaction Authority for the Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) M88A2 to regain Single Vehicle Recovery (SVR) of the heaviest tracked vehicles
    • Executing prototype development activities to begin Assembly in FY21 supporting Testing in FY22
  • 2QFY20: M88A2 HERCULES completed Fielding and New Equipment Training for Army units in Germany
  • 4QFY20:
    • M88A2 Production (converted from M88A1) ramped up to three per month at the BAE facility in York, Pennsylvania
    • Awarded final M88A2 Production contract to achieve Army Acquisition Objective (AAO) of 933; as of November 2020, 862 M88A2 produced and 849 fielded


  • FY19-FY23: Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation SVR ECP development continues with prototype assembly in FY21 and M88A3 Single Vehicle Recovery Prototype testing initiating in FY22 through FY23
  • FY21-FY23: Engine Reliability Improvement Modification Kit Development with system level testing projected in FY23
  • FY22: Planning Field Modification execution for Automatic Fire Extinguishing System Update
  • FY23:
    • Expected completion of M88A2 Production at York, Pennsylvania, with AAO of 933
    • Follow-on Other Transaction Agreement M88A3 Production award expected


Australia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Thailand


BAE Systems (York, PA)