Oct. 9 (UPI) -- BAE Systems announced a $148.3 million contract with the U.S. Army on Wednesday to upgrade M88A1 heavy-lift vehicles.
A total of 43 vehicles will be rebuilt with increased power, maneuverability and survivability features to increase their configuration to M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift System, or HERCULES, status.
The Army intends to acquire 933 such vehicles -- with the upgraded M88A1s, it will have 914.
"The HERCULES is an invaluable vehicle for the Army's recovery missions," said Dennis Hancock of BAE Systems. "We are proud to support the Army's recovery needs and we will continue to work alongside the Army to provide upgraded solutions as their missions and requirements change."
Twenty-eight feet long and carrying a crew of three, the M88A2's specialty is the recovery of tanks mired to different depths, its capability in removing and installing tank turrets and power packs, and its ability to upright overturned heavy combat vehicles.
The main winch on the M88A2 can move 70 tons, compared to the M88A1's 56 tons, allowing it to recover a 70-ton M1A2 Abrams tank. The upgraded vehicle can also be anchored for earth-moving purposes to prepare a recovery area and can refuel Abrams tanks from its own fuel tanks.
Work on the program will be conducted at four BAE facilities in the United States, with deliveries scheduled to start in February 2021.