The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has taken delivery of six new M88A2 heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift and evacuation system (HERCULES) armoured recovery vehicles.
The HERCULES vehicles will support Australia’s current fleet of Abrams main battle tanks.
These vehicles, worth more than A$58m ($43.5m), will support armoured units based in Darwin and Townsville, and operator and maintenance training at Puckapunyal and Bandiana in Victoria.
Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “The HERCULES is a 64t tracked vehicle used primarily for the repair and recovery of tanks and other vehicles whilst under fire and will complement the seven currently in operation.
“Pleasingly the maintenance, servicing and engineering support for this equipment will be delivered regionally by Broadspectrum, with four new jobs to be created in Darwin.”
All six vehicles, painted in Australian camouflage, have been accepted into service and sent to their units.
Built by BAE Systems, HERCULES is said to feature overlay armour protection, ballistic skirts, a longer 35t boom, a 63,504kg constant pull main winch with 280ft of cable, and an auxiliary 3t winch to aid main winch cable deployment.
The self-supportive armoured recovery vehicle, which is used in battlefield rescue and recovery missions, offers improved power-assisted braking, steering, electrical system and increased engine horsepower.
It was used as the primary recovery system during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Image: The HERCULES is a 64t tracked vehicle used primarily for the repair and recovery of tanks and other vehicles. Photo: Courtesy of Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.