GM Defense is officially back.
GM Defense is officially back, marking its very first delivery of the Infantry Squad Vehicle - or "ISV" - on Tuesday after being awarded a $214.3 million contract by the US Armed Forces in June. The ISV is based on the rugged, off-road-capable Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, and incredibly, it even makes use of 90 percent off-the-shelf parts available to the general public.
Know someone who's good at fabricating? You could probably make your own ISV, if you felt so inclined.
Those commercial parts are the key to the ISV's low cost; raiding the parts bin for components that will do the job saved GM the trouble of having to engineer all-new components for the ISV. They include a good number of Chevrolet Performance racing parts.
The delivery of the GM Defense ISV marks the division's first delivery since it was reestablished in 2017, but GM's history as a defense contractor goes back much farther than that. The original GM Defense was founded 70 years ago, and acquired by General Dynamics five decades later in 2003. That GM subsidiary was responsible for vehicles such as the MLVW logistical vehicle and a range of general-purpose armored vehicles.
The ISV, by contrast, has no integrated weaponry; it's built solely to provide ground mobility for up to nine soldiers and their gear, at speeds of up to 90 mph. At 5,000 pounds, it's light enough to be sling-loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and it's so compact that it can be loaded into a CH-47 helicopter for air transport. An advanced Rollover Protection System has been implemented to keep the vehicle upright in the field.
The ISV delivery comes just 120 days after GM Defense was awarded the contract by the US military in June - something that GM Defense President David Albritton calls "a significant milestone."
"I am very proud of the team for this accomplishment," he says. "We're leveraging General Motors' engineering prowess and immense manufacturing capabilities to bring transformative solutions to the military vehicle market. Our initial success with the ISV shows our commitment to our customer and highlights our unique right to win in the military mobility market."
A small initial batch of 27 GM Defense ISVs will be built in Michigan, with production then moving to Morrisville, North Carolina. The US Army's order is for a total of 649 vehicles, but even more production - up to 2,065 vehicles in all - could come with additional authorization.