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M88 Hercules Armored Recovery Vehicle (1961)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/12/2008
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The M88A2 Hercules is approved for the towing of the M1 Abrams MBT, a task previously requiring two M88A1 systems to do.

The M88 Hercules series began in the 1960s and had since run through three major conversions. The Hercules is designed as an armored recovery vehicle and is therefore intended to be used under fire for the repair and replacement of damaged vehicles. Additionally, the Hercules is called upon to tow vehicles that have become stopped by the environment or put out of action permanently by enemy fire.

The Hercules series appeared as the M88 in 1961 with the classification of "medium recovery vehicle", seeing action in the Vietnam War. The M88 was followed by the improved M88A1 which was now classified as a "heavy recovery vehicle" and appeared in 1977, based on the M60 Patton chassis. The current (and much larger) Hercules model is the 1991 M88A2 which features a host of improvements - at a cost of decreased operational range - and brings the standard crew complement down to three from the original five. The M88A2 model is cleared to tow the M1 Abrams main battle tank, a task that originally required two M88A1 models to accomplish.

The Hercules crew are protected by small arms and shrapnel fire. Self-defense is afforded through a single 12.7mm (.50 caliber) heavy machine gun. 1,300 rounds of ammunition are carried aboard.

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Specifications for the
M88 Hercules
Armored Recovery Vehicle

Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: United Defense, Ground Systems Div. - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1961
Production: Not Available

Focus Model: M88A2 Hercules
Crew: 3

Overall Length: 27.23 ft (8.30 m)
Width: 11.15 ft (3.40 m)
Height: 10.50 ft (3.20 m)
Weight: 77.2 US Short Tons (70,000 kg; 154,324 lb)

Powerplant: 1 x General Dynamics 12-cylinder AVDS-1790-8CR air-cooled diesel engine generating 1,050hp.

Maximum Speed: 25 mph (40 km/h)
Maximum Range: 200 miles (322 km)

NBC Protection: None (though present on A1 and A2)
Nightvision: Not Available

1 x 12.7mm machine gun

1,300 x 12.7mm ammunition

Variants: [ SHOW / HIDE ]

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