General Motors probably wouldn't be the first company that came to mind if you were building a new military vehicle. Drag strip heroes, yes, not so much squaddie-mobiles. However, there's a subsidiary of GM called GM Defense LLC, and they very much are about keeping soldiers mobile. In fact, they're so good at it that the US Army has awarded the firm a $214.3m contract to build, field and sustain this new Infantry Squad Vehicle, or ISV.
Looks cool, doesn't it? Which is very far from the point - because the point is "rapid ground mobility" - though the rugged, pared back functionality must have helped the ISV's cause. It can transport a nine-soldier infantry squad and is powered by 2.8-litre, 190hp diesel; despite that vast "occupant and cargo superstructure", GM says the ISV is light enough to be sling loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk and small enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook. Wherever the troops will go, the ISV will (almost) always follow.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ISV, however, is its relationship to more ordinary off-roaders. It's based on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 architecture, and 90 per cent of its parts are said to be regular off-the-shelf items - the result being a well-established supply of parts globally, should anything need replacing. It even uses suspension from the Chevy Performance catalogue, the same stuff that's been kickin ass in the 'Best in the Desert' race series underneath a Colorado. So it ought to do the job.
Initially, the Army Procurement Objective for these new ISVs is 649 units; the approved Army Acquisition Objective is 2,065. So this is a pretty big deal for GM Defense (alongside Ricardo Defense, who will deal with logistics and fielding requirements.) President of GM Defense, David Albritton, said of the news: "It's indeed an honor [sic] to leverage our parent company's experience as one of the world's largest automotive manufacturers to design, build and deliver the best technologies available to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and our allies."
When the ISV might be ready is unconfirmed, though future updates are due on the GM Defense website. And that has some good videos of the "ground-pounding" ISV, as well as the hydrogen fuel cell powered ZH2 and the armoured Suburban, amongst other things. Which might be as interesting as another Corvette. Might be...
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