BAE Systems will deliver prototypes of the most recent upgrade to the Army's armored recovery vehicle in 2022, after the company received a $79 million modification Nov. 23 to its existing other transaction agreement for the vehicle, the company announced Dec. 21.
“The first prototype vehicles are scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Army during 2022 to undergo test and evaluation activities, bringing this vital capability a step closer to entering service,” the announcement stated.
BAE will build eight prototypes of the M88A3 Hercules from existing M88A2 vehicles, a company spokeswoman told Inside Defense today. Work has already begun, and at least one prototype will be delivered to the Army in 2022.
Procurement of M88A2 vehicles ended in fiscal year 2020, but they are not able to tow the heaviest M1 Abrams tanks. The M88A2 has a maximum capacity of 70 tons, but the newest Abrams can weigh up to 80 tons with force protection kits.
The M88A3 upgrade should increase towing capacity to 80 tons, so that a single Hercules will be able to tow any Abrams tank.