Published in MotorTrend
5 days ago by Alex Kierstein
When the Army’s prototype Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) showed up last year at SEMA, we were intimidated—in a good way. This thing is basically a military truggy, with all the unnecessary stuff—doors, a roof, a windshield—left off to save weight make it easier to stuff up to nine soldiers inside. And their gear, too.
By reusing all the functional bits of the 2021 Colorado ZR2—GM says 90 percent of the ISV is off-the-shelf, including the 2.8-liter turbodiesel and a six-speed automatic—the ISV should be a cost-effective solution for battlefield mobility. And mobility is the keyword here. This isn’t an ultra-protective MRAP-style truck, for protecting a squad against mines and IEDs. It’s a fast, capable, and, more importantly, air-transportable solution. It’ll fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, and can dangle by sling from a UH-60 Blackhawk. Once deployed, it trades the armor of an MRAP for survivability via mobility. In other words, rather than absorb the hit, the goal of the ISV is to avoid it in the first place.
GM Defense will partner with Ricardo Defense to produce the ISV. Last year, the company received three $1 million contracts to develop the ISV. The $214 million awarded on this Sunday will let GM build the first 649 ISVs, with a total of 2,065 intended to be built in the future.
Look past the minimalist front bodywork—there’s not even a grille—and you’ll see a beefy exoskeleton arching over the ISV. Two rows of conventional seats are in the places you’d expect, and several rear- and side-facing seats are where the bed used to be. The SEMA prototype showed rucksacks stowed on top of the exocage, and basic tools at the rear. Prototype ISVs from other companies, like Oshkosh and Polaris Industries, showed machine guns mounted over the front cabin, but we’re not clear if or where the ISV will mount weapons, or what weapons systems can be mounted.
The ZR2’s most acclaimed equipment, the Multimatic dual spool-valve shocks, will carry over to the ISV, which should give it the best of both worlds: pleasant ride characteristics but also the ability to absorb huge hits off-road. It’ll need all the help it can get, with the Army requiring the ability to carry those nine troops at up to 60 mph off-road.
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