M88 Recovery Vehicle

The M88 Recovery Vehicle is one of the largest armored recovery vehicles (ARV) currently in use by United States Armed Forces. There are currently three variants, the M88, M88A1 and M88A2 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lifting Extraction System). The M88 series has seen action most noticeably in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent during the Kosovo War, where they were deployed to help recover heavy armored vehicles of the Allied ground units. The current M88A2 replacement cost is around US$2,050,000.

M88 Recovery Vehicle
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer United Defense
Production Period 1994 - 2005
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1961
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Australia View
Austria View
China View
Egypt View
Germany View
Greece View
Iraq View
Israel View
Jordan View
Kuwait View
Lebanon View
Morocco View
Pakistan View
Portugal View
Saudi Arabia View
Spain View
Sudan View
Thailand (Siam) View
Tunisia View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United States of America 1961 View
Bahrain View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
United Defense 1994 2005 View
BAE Systems Land & Armaments 2005 View
BMY 1961 1994 View
Anniston Army Depot 1994 2005 View

The design of this vehicle was based on the chassis and parts of the automotive component of the M48 Patton and M60 Patton tanks. The original M88 was introduced in 1961, M88A1 in 1977, with the current M88A2 introduced in 1997.


Originally manufactured by Bowen McLaughlin York (later the BMY division of Harsco Corporation) in 1961, the company would later merge with FMC Corp. to form the United Defense Industries in 1994, which was in turn acquired by BAE Systems in 2005 to become BAE Systems Land and Armaments. In February 2008 the company was awarded a $185 million contract modification from the U.S. Army to manufacture 90 Army-configured M88A2s, four United States Marine Corps-configured M88A2s and authorized spares list parts.


The M88's primary role is to repair or replace damaged parts in fighting vehicles while under fire, as well as extricate vehicles that have become bogged down or entangled. The main winch on the M88A2 is capable of a 70 ton, single line recovery, and a 140 ton 2:1 recovery when used with the 140 ton pulley. The A-frame boom of the A2 can lift 35 tons when used in conjunction with the spade down. The spade can be used for light earth moving, and can be used to anchor the vehicle when using the main winch. The M88 employs an Auxiliary power unit (APU) to provide auxiliary electrical and hydraulic power when the main engine is not in operation. It can also be used to slave start other vehicles, provide power for the hydraulic impact wrench, as well as the means to refuel or de-fuel vehicles as required. The M88 series of vehicles can refuel M1 tanks from its own fuel tanks, but this is a last resort due to the possibility of clogging the AGT-1500's fuel filters. The fuel pump draws fuel from the bottom of the fuel cell, and with it, all of the sediment that has accumulated with time.

Type Armored recovery vehicle
Place of origin United States of America
Service history
In service 1961 – present
Used by See operators
Wars Arab-Israeli conflict, Vietnam War,Persian Gulf War, Kosovo War,Iraq War, Global War on Terrorism, War in Afghanistan
Production history
Designer Bowen McLaughlin York (BMY)
Designed 1959
Manufacturer BMY (1961–1994)
United Defense & Anniston Army Depot (1994-2005)
BAE Systems Land and Armaments (since 2005)
Unit cost US$2,050,000
Produced 1961 – present
Variants See variants
Weight M88/M88A1: 50.8 t (112,000 lb)
M88A2: 63.5 t (140,000 lb)
Length 27.13 ft (8.27 m)
Width 11.25 ft (3.43 m)
Height 10.25 ft (3.12 m)
Crew 3
Armor Hull and cab armored to protect against small-arms fire up to 30mm direct fire weapons
M2 .50 cal heavy MG with 1,300 rounds
Engine •M88/M88A1: Continental (nowGeneral Dynamics) AVDS-1790-2DR V12, air-cooled Twin-turbodiesel engine
•M88A2: Continental AVDS-1790-8CR, V12 air-cooled Twin-turbo diesel engine
M88/M88A1: 750 hp (560 kW)
M88A2: 1,050 hp (780 kW)
Transmission Twin Disc XT-1410-5A cross-drive (3 speed forward, 1 speed reverse)
Suspension Torsion bar suspension
Ground clearance 17 in (0.43 m)
M88/M88A1: 450 km (280 mi)
M88A2: 322 km (200 mi)
Speed M88/M88A1: 42 km/h (26 mph)
M88A2: 48 km/h (30 mph)

End notes