M88 Recovery Vehicle
Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide

TM 9-2350-256-10: M88A1
  M88 M88A1 M88A2
Alternative Designations MRV (Medium Recovery Vehicle) HRV (Heavy Recovery Vehicle), Improved Recovery Vehicle, Hercules
Country of OriginUSA
RoleBattlefield recovery of combat vehicles
Date Of Introduction 1961 1978 1997
Crew3-4: commander, driver, mechanic, and rigger
Combat Weight 56 tons (50.8 mt) 56 tons (50.8 mt) 70 tons (63.5 mt)
Ground Pressure 10.6 psi (0.75 kg/cm²) 10.9 psi (0.77 kg/cm²) 13.4 psi (0.94 kg/cm²)
Length, Overall 27.125 ft (8.27 m) 28.33 ft (8.64 m)
Width, Overall 11.25 ft (3.43 m) 12.0 ft (3.66 m)
Height, Overall 10.58 ft (3.23 m) 10.25 ft (3.12 m)
Height, Boom Lift,
8 ft (2.4 m) reach
22.54 ft (6.87 m)
Height, Boom Lift,
4 ft (1.2 m) reach
25.125 ft (7.66 m)
Ground Clearance17 in (432 mm)
  M88 M88A1 M88A2
Engine gasoline Continental AVDS-1790-2DR 750 hp (559 kw), air-cooled, 12-cylinder, 4-cycle, diesel AVDS 1790-8CR 1050 hp (783 kw)
Transmission ? Allison (GM) XT-1410-4 cross-drive. 3 speed forward, 1 speed reverse XT-1410-5A cross-drive. 3 speed forward, 1 speed reverse
Range ? 300 miles (483 km) 200 miles (322 km)
Fuel Capacity 400 gal (1,514 l) 413 gal (1,563 l)
Road Speed ? 26 mph (42 km/h) 25 mph (40 km/h)
Cross Country Speed ? ? ?
Swim SpeedN/A
Fording DepthWithout kit: 4.7 ft (1.4 m). With kit: 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Side Slope30%
Trench Crossing8.6 ft (2.6 m)
Vertical Wall Climb3.5 ft (1.1 m)
  M88 M88A1 M88A2
Armor Hull and cab armor protect against small-arms fire and shell fragments Hull and cab armor protect against 30mm projectiles
Applique Armor N/A Track skirts
Explosive Reactive ArmorN/A
Active Protective SystemN/A
NBC Protection System ? 12 CFM (cubic feet per minute) M8A3 gas particulate filter unit
Smoke Equipment ? Engine smoke generator. M239 smoke grenade system with one 6-barrel smoke grenade launcher (66mm L8A1 smoke grenades) on each side of hull
M88, M88A1, M88A2
Type Mount Typical Ammo Load
.50 Cal M2HB machine gun (some vehicles mount a MK19 Mod3 40mm grenade machine gun) Commander's cupola; flex-mount; belt feed 1,300
Additional armament, M88A1: 2 M16 or M14 rifles, 2 M3A1 submachine guns, 10 LAW rockets, hand grenades.
Additional armament, M88A2: 2 M16 rifles, hand grenades.
 M88, M88A1, M88A2
Fire Control SystemN/A
Main Gun StabilizationN/A
Infrared SearchlightN/A
  M88 M88A1 M88A2
Boom Capacity ? 25 tons (22.7 mt) 35 tons (31.8 mt)
Hoist Winch Capacity ?
25 tons at 9 fpm; 200 ft cable (22.7 mt at 2.7 mpm; 61 m cable)
35 tons; 225 ft cable (31.8 mt; 68.6 m cable)
Main Winch Capacity ?
45 tons at 20 fpm; 200 ft cable (40.8 mt at 6.1 mpm; 61 m cable)
70 tons at 20 fpm; 320 ft cable (63.5 mt at 6.1 mpm; 97.5 m cable)
Draw Bar Pull ? 45 tons (40.8 mt) 70 tons (63.5 mt)


The M88 is an armored, full track-laying vehicle, that performs hoisting, winching, and towing operations in the rescue and recovery of combat vehicles. It also supports medium and light tank units (M88, M88A1) or main battle tanks (M88A2) to effect battle field recovery, and is equipped to assist in repairs of supported vehicles under typical field conditions.

The vehicle is divided into three sections: crew compartment, hydraulics compartment, and engine compartment.

The hull and cab are constructed of cast armor and armor plate welded into a single unit. Armor is distributed to protect the crew and equipment against small-arms fire, medium artillery shell fragments and 20 pound anti-tank mines. Hull bottom armor is equivalent to that of a medium tank. The hull is equipped with an armored, turret-type cupola that provides a mount for a .50 caliber machine gun. The cupola also provides full vision for commander using six prism blocks.

The vehicle is equipped with a main and an auxiliary hydraulic system used for recovery and maintenance operations. These systems power the spade, boom, main winch, hoist winch, refuel pump, and the hydraulic impact wrench. The primary purpose of the auxiliary system is to allow emergency retrieval of hydraulic systems in the event of main engine failure.

The main winch is located near the spade and is used to pull disabled vehicles during recovery operations.
TM 9-2350-256-10: M88A1 main winch TM 9-2350-256-10: M88A1 spade lowered
The spade is used during all winch operations and hoisting operations over 6 tons (5.4 mt) to help stabilize the vehicle. The spade may be used for light earth moving and leveling (dozing) for preparation of recovery only.

The hoisting boom works with the hoist winch which is used to lift disabled vehicles and heavy loads for recovery and maintenance operations. The hoisting boom is a modified A-frame located on the top of the vehicle.

The vehicle is also equipped with a main and auxiliary generating system. The primary purpose of the auxiliary system is to charge the vehicle batteries when they are too low to start the main engine.

The exhaust smoke generating system provides a self-screening smoke capability. The smoke generating system allows diesel fuel from the vehicle fuel tanks to be sprayed into the exhaust system. The fuel vaporizes and blends with engine exhaust gases. The fuel vapor cools on contact with the ambient air and condenses to form a homogeneous smoke screen. The system is ineffective when JP-8 fuel is used.


M88 (FSN 2320-678-5772)
1961. "Recovery Vehicle, Full-Tracked, Medium, M88". Original production model. See data above.
TM 55-2320-222-10-1: M88
TM 55-2320-222-10-1: M88
M88, left front
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M88A1 (NSN 2350-00-122-6826)
1978. "Recovery Vehicle, Full-Tracked, Medium, M88A1". See data above.
A modernization program was aimed at producing an improved M88A1 vehicle and upgrading the performance of existing M88 vehicles.

  • Replace the gasoline engine with a diesel engine.
  • Increase the operating range.
  • Improving the vehicle reliability, availability, and maintainability.
  • Increase spare parts commonality with the M60 main battle tank.
  • Add a two-cylinder diesel engine-driven generator set with power takeoff to provide no-load retrieval and pay-out of winch cables and boom and spade operation.

TM 9-2350-256-10: M88A1 front TM 9-2350-256-10: M88A1 top
TM 9-2350-256-34-2: M88A1
M88A1, left front
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TM 9-2350-256-34-2: M88A1
M88A1, left front
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TM 9-2350-256-10: M88A1
M88A1, right front
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TM 9-2350-256-34-2: M88A1
M88A1, right rear
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TM 9-2350-256-34-2: M88A1
M88A1, right side
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Army CMH: M88A1
2d Squadron, 4th Cavalry (24th Infantry Division)
M88A1, live fire exercise, Gulf War
U.S. Army Photo by SGT Randall M. Yackiel
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File photo, The Cannoneer, Fort Sill Public Affairs
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Defenselink website: M88A1
Exercise during Operation Desert Shield
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Defenselink website: M88A1
M88A1 Hercules
Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom
DoD Photo by LCPL Michael J. O'Brian
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M88A2 (M88A1E1) (NSN 2350-01-390-4683)
1997. "Recovery Vehicle, Full-Tracked, Heavy, M88A2". See data above.

The M88A2 (HERCULES - Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System) is an armored full tracked, diesel-powered, recovery vehicle based on the M88A1 chassis and configured with an A-frame boom, three winches and an upgraded spade. The boom has a 35-ton lift capacity and the main winch has a constant pull capacity of 70 tons. The hull is armored for protection against small arms fire, artillery fragments and anti-personnel mines. The vehicle mounts a .50 caliber machine gun for self-protection. The M88A2 HERCULES is capable of performing recovery, evacuation and limited repair of the main battle tank.
TB 9-2350-292-10: M88A2
M88A2 Hercules
U.S. Army Photo
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