BAE Systems has been selected by the US Army to upgrade 53 M88A1 recovery vehicles to the M88A2 heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift evacuation system (Hercules) configuration.
Under the $153.6m contract, the company will also extend the M88 production line within the combat vehicle industrial base through to 2016.
BAE Systems Artillery and Recovery Systems director Adam Zarfoss said: "This contract provides enhanced capabilities for America's soldiers and will help preserve the defence industrial base by retaining critical employees and unique skill sets.
"The Hercules is a significant upgrade over its predecessor and is essential to fulfil successful recovery missions."
The enhancement of recovery fleet is necessary due to the heaviness of the army's armoured brigade combat team (ABCT) vehicle fleet.
The Hercules, with its 70,000lb boom, can lift and pull the weight of the M88A1 and is the only vehicle that can recover M1 Abrams tanks and the heaviest mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) variants in a combat environment.
The initial stage of the modernisation process, which will start soon, will be supported by the existing workforce at BAE in York, Pennsylvania, while the final works will take place at the Anniston Army Depot and the company's Aiken facility in South Carolina, US.
BAE has already upgraded nearly 650 US Army M88 vehicles to the Hercules configuration.
The M88 holds a significant role in the maintenance of the combat vehicle industrial base, supporting a team of professionals and protecting the affordability of the army's combat vehicles.
BAE is responsible for four US Army ABCT vehicles, including the Bradley and the M88.
Image: The Hercules was the primary 70t recovery system during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.