General Motors is planning a major return to the defense industry with GM Defense, the automaker’s new entity for associated work and projects. Automotive News reported on Saturday that the unit should be fully operational later this year.
GM Defense will step in after “Old GM” sold its General Dynamics Corp. for $1.1 billion in 2003. The old entity previously carried out contracts to support military programs. GM Defense will likely do the same.
The automaker rolled out two vehicles tied closely to GM Defense: the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 and SURUS, or Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. The SURUS announcement came alongside news GM had incorporated GM Defense for future military work.
SURUS is a flexible self-driving platform. With its announcement last year, GM envisioned SURUS for multiple duties. The platform could become a cargo carrier, ambulance and various military support vehicles. SURUS also uses the automaker’s Hydrotec fuel-cell powertrain and can go 400 miles before needing to refill.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 also employs a fuel-cell powertrain, and the modified pickup recently ended testing with the U.S. Army. The division walked away impressed with its easy and silent operation, and low heat signature.
GM Defense is already working with clients for new opportunities, but the division would not go into detail on what those may be.