In a press release, General Motors Defense announced the delivery of the first Infantry Squad Vehicle to the U.S. Army. The delivery is the first of an initial 649-vehicle contract worth $214.3 million that could ultimately number 2,065 vehicles in total. It is the first major contract award for GM Defense.
GM delivered their Infantry Squad Vehicle to the Army in record time—just three months from when the manufacturer won the government contract to delivery. Why the extreme manufacturing rapidity? Because the ISV is essentially a one of GM’s commercial vehicles, modified for military use.
“The ISV is based off the award-winning 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck architecture and leverages 90 percent proven commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts, including Chevrolet Performance race components,” GM Defense explained. Sharing so many parts with an off-the-shelf design keeps costs low and speeds up production time.
Though the ISV’s exact specifications are not publicly available, the ZR2 on which it is based comes with a number of engine configurations. The most capable of these boasts over 300 horsepower and nearly 1,400 pounds of payload capacity, and up to 5,000 pounds of towing capability. During the design and testing phase, extensive feedback from soldier-users was taken into account and incorporated into the design.
The Infantry Squad Vehicle can ferry nine fully-equipped soldiers around and although company photos do not show the ISV with any onboard weaponry, the vehicle will no doubt be equipped with pindle-style mounts for medium or heavy machine guns.
The light-weight truck is intended to be both highly mobile and very transportable. Design requirements specified that one ISV was to be transportable by CH-47 Chinook internally or UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in a sling. Though the ISV weighs a mere 5,000 pounds, it comes at a cost: it has zero armor protection.
This is not so unusual however. The Marine Corps has also moved in recent years to field a highly-mobile troop carrier. Their Utility Task Vehicle is based on a Polaris RZR, a side-by-side vehicle. The USMC’s UTV can carry four seated Marines and has a small rear cargo area. And, like its larger Army ISV relative, it too is unarmored.
GM Defense President David Albritton highlighted the swiftness with which the ISV was delivered to the Army, stating that “one hundred and twenty days from contract award to delivery is a significant milestone, and I am very proud of the team for this accomplishment.”
The Army decision to follow in Marine Corps footsteps when it comes to light-weight transport is a good move and should speed up mobility at the tactical level.
Caleb Larson is a defense writer with the National Interest. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.
Image: GM Defense.