BAE Systems Land & Armaments has been awarded a $36.4m modification to an earlier awarded contract for M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System (HERCULES) vehicles, destined for the US Army.

Awarded by the US Department of Defense on 22 November, the contract has an estimated completion date of Q4 2025 and is a rare mention of the M88 platform, which performs a vital battlefield role in recovering damaged or disabled armour.

In 2019, BAE Systems was awarded a $148.3m contract by the US Army to upgrade 43 older M88A1 heavy-lift vehicles to the A2 HERCULES standard, part of a wider service acquisition objective to reach a total of 933 M88A2 variants. According to BAE Systems, the M88A2 is capable of towing, hoisting and winching 70-ton tracked vehicles used by the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team.

The M88A2 variant has increased horsepower and upgraded armour protection including armoured track skirts and applique armour panels. The 2019 contract would increase the total procured quantity of the M88A2 capability to 914. 

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By GlobalData

Ukraine war proving use of battlefield recovery vehicles

An often less well understood element of land warfare, the capability that a battlefield recovery vehicle can bring to a deployed ground force has been highlighted in the ongoing war in Ukraine, where thousands of Russian and Ukrainian tanks have been lost in combat.

Both the UK and US packages, which saw Challenger 2 and M1A1 Abrams tanks, respectively, provided to Kyiv, included battlefield recovery vehicles. With the value of complexity of such modern main battle tanks, the ability to recover those immobilised through accident or combat and returned them to working order is critical.