Work on the contract will extend the M88 production line within the Combat Vehicle Industrial Base through 2016.
“This contract provides enhanced capabilities for America’s soldiers and will help preserve the defense industrial base by retaining critical employees and unique skill sets,” said Adam Zarfoss, director of Artillery and Recovery Systems at BAE Systems. “The HERCULES is a significant upgrade over its predecessor and is essential to fulfill successful recovery missions.”
The fleet of Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) vehicles is getting heavier, making it increasingly important that the recovery fleet is upgraded to support them. With its 70,000 pound boom, the HERCULES is able to hoist and tow twice the weight of its predecessor, the M88A1. 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 upgrade work will begin immediately and will be performed primarily by the existing workforce at BAE Systems in York, Pennsylvania, with additional work performed at Anniston Army Depot and BAE Systems’ Aiken, South Carolina, facility. The contract continues the U.S. Army’s program to pure-fleet its M88s to the HERCULES variant. To date, BAE Systems has converted nearly 650 U.S. Army M88 vehicles to the HERCULES configuration.
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. BAE Systems is responsible for four of the five U.S. Army ABCT vehicles, including the Bradley and the M88. The support of Congress and the Army to protect these vital capabilities through the M88 upgrades helps to sustain the workforce at BAE Systems’ facilities and ensures that they will be available for future programs.