BAE Systems yesterday said it received a $28.7 million contract to upgrade 11 M88A1 Medium Recovery vehicles to the M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation System (HERCULES) configuration.

“The M88A2 is able to hoist and tow twice the weight than that of an M88A1, including an M1 Abrams tank, and is an essential component in helping our Armed Forces to fulfill successful recovery missions,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager or Armored Combat Systems at BAE Systems. “This contract demonstrates the continued need to invest in the HERCULES and shows the Army’s commitment to the irreplaceable role it serves.”

The contract was awarded by Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command with deliveries to conclude in March 2014. The award lifts the total value of U.S. government contracts that BAE has been awarded on the HERCULES program to $2.1 billion.

To date, 575 HERCULES vehicles have been fielded against an overall U.S. Army requirement of 632 vehicles, and a total of 84 vehicles have been fielded to the U.S. Marine Corps.

The M88A2 HERCULES offers operational and logistics commonality with the existing M88A1 fleet, which provides simplified training and parts availability benefits to the end-user.

Key upgrades for the HERCULES include: improved power-assisted braking, steering, winching, hoisting, and increased horsepower.

HERCULES has the lowest acquisition, operational and maintenance cost of any 70-ton capable recovery system, answering the need for cost-effective, self-supporting heavy recovery performance, the company said in a statement.

The M88A2 recovers today’s 70-ton combat vehicles including the M1A1 main battle tank, M1A2, Leopard Main Battle Tank, bridging systems, and other medium weight vehicles. 

The upgrade work will be performed by the existing BAE Systems workforce in York, Pa.and Aiken, S.C.

The M88 plays a critical role the company’s campaign to maintain the Bradley Industrial Base by protecting the affordability of the Army’s combat vehicles.

BAE Systems’ York facility is responsible for four of the five U.S. Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) vehicles, including the Bradley and the M88. In addition to proposing that Congress provide base level investment in critical combat vehicle improvements, BAE Systems is working with the Army to secure increased funding for the M88 program to help carry the workload at the facility.