US Army to fit new Allison transmission on M88A3 HERCULES Recovery Vehicle prototype

Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional and electrified vehicle propulsion solutions for tactical wheeled and tracked defense vehicles, and medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles will provide the X1100-5B propulsion solution for the U.S. Army’s new M88A3 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System) prototype vehicle.
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U.S. Army M88A3 HERCULES ARV Armored Recovery Vehicle (Picture source: BAE Systems)

This initiative is consistent with the Army’s continued investments in combat readiness and fleet modernization and represents more than $37 million in engineering design, development, fabrication, testing, and demonstration funds for Allison’s X1100-5B for the M88A3 HERCULES prototype vehicles through 2023. A decision by the Army to transition to production is expected in early 2024. Currently, there are more than 900 M88 vehicles in the U.S. Army.

Today, the M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank requires two M88A2 heavy recovery vehicles to be towed. The U.S. Army modernization program’s goal is to regain single-vehicle recovery of the Army’s heaviest tracked vehicle providing more efficient use of resources.

At the heart of the planned prototype improvements is Allison’s X1100-5B automatic transmission. The X1100-5B is a reliable, durable propulsion system based on the proven Abrams Main Battle Tank drivetrain solution. In addition to the transmission, Allison will provide its new advanced electronic controls system as well as new final drive components to meet the needs of the recovery vehicle application.

“This program demonstrates Allison’s long-term strategic relationship with the Army is built on trust, partnership and a mutual commitment to excellence,” said Dana Pittard, Vice President for Defense Programs at Allison Transmission. “Our support for the Army’s armored formations spans over 75 years and enhancements and upgrades to this battle-tested X1100 transmission design will further support the Army’s needs for decades to come.”

Since 1946, Allison has partnered with the Department of Defense to develop propulsion solutions that deliver in the toughest conditions. For fleets that are developing new wheeled or tracked vehicles, Allison can tailor a transmission, electric hybrid, or electric propulsion solution specifically for that application. Allison engineers and manufactures reliable and fully customizable propulsion solutions, so customers experience reduced downtime and increased ability to accomplish mission objectives.

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U.S. Army will modernize its M88A3 Hercules Recovery Vehicle with a new Allison-equipped propulsion solution (Picture source: Allison)

BAE Systems’ M88 family of recovery vehicles has provided the Army with unprecedented capability for recovering stranded or disabled combat vehicles since the 1960s. Due to incremental weight increases of the Army’s Main Battle Tank over the years, the M88A3’s predecessor, the M88A2, is currently unable to safely perform single-vehicle recovery of the Abrams.

The M88A3 HERCULES is the next iteration to the M88 HERCULES Family of Vehicles. It enhances the performance, survivability and responsiveness of the combat-proven M88A2 and it restores single-vehicle recovery on tanks weighing up to 80 tons. The M88A3 performs hoisting, winching, and towing operations for today’s heaviest combat systems, like the M1 main battle tank.

The M88A3 is upgraded with a liquid-cooled powerpack that provides improvements to mobility, reliability, diagnostic/ prognostic capability, and vehicle weight. The addition of a seventh road wheel also increases stability during recovery operations and improves ground pressure distribution. It can run at a maximum road speed of 56 km with a maximum cruising range of 405 km

The M88A3 HERCULES also features improved armor protection. It has a combat weight of 78 tons.