When a combat vehicle goes over an embankment, sinks into the mud or winds up disabled in battle, the U.S. Army calls on the M88. That’s why it’s known as the workhorse of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). For decades it has rescued all types of Army vehicles. And it’s the only vehicle capable of recovering the ABCT’s heaviest vehicles, such as the main battle tank, without assistance from another vehicle.
The tracked M88 can lift, winch and tow vehicles in the toughest terrains and most difficult circumstances, to get them back to operations or, if necessary, in for repair. The latest iteration of the vehicle is called HERCULES for a reason.
As the vehicles in the ABCT were adapted to address emerging threats, like IEDs, they grew heavier, so the M88 required upgrades to meet the needs of the Army. Today, the M88A1 fleet is being converted to the more capable M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation Systems (HERCULES) configuration in a partnership with the Anniston Army Depot (ANAD). The Army recently awarded our company a contract modification worth $114 million to convert 36 additional vehicles as part of ongoing conversion to HERCULES.
“The M88 has a long and exemplary history as a recovery vehicle and we’re excited to be a part of its future,” said John Tile, director of Recovery Programs at BAE Systems. “Providing the Army’s recovery fleet is important to getting disabled tanks and our troops out of harm’s way in the most expedient way possible. We’re already looking at ways to retain that capability as the vehicles in ABCT evolve or get even heavier.”
The evolution of the main battle tank is of particular interest to the M88 modernization team because it is one of the heaviest vehicles in the fleet. To keep pace with weight increases in the tank, further modernization of the M88 will be required to continue to rescue stuck or disabled vehicles with a single vehicle.
We are already working closely with the Army to understand future recovery needs, and is partnering with others in industry to find the best technologies and solutions available. When any vehicle is disabled, now and in the future, the M88 team wants to ensure the most capable workhorse in the fleet is prepared to respond.
“We are always looking to stay ahead of the curve to ensure the M88 leads the way when getting a vehicle and its crew out of a hazardous situation and to safety,” Tile said. “That’s the M88’s purpose.”