We’ve covered the GM truck-based Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) before, and now we’ve recently learned that the General Motors bid was selected as one of three finalists for a contract with the U.S. Army.
The other two finalists include the Oshkosh Defense unit of Oshkosh, and Polaris Industries. Oshkosh Defense is paired with Flyer Defense to develop one of the competing ISVs, whereas Polaris is paired with Science Applications International. Meanwhile, General Motors will compete for the contract solo through its GM Defense division, which was resurrected in 2017 after the automaker sold off its previous defense unit to General Dynamics in 2003.
Both GM rivals have plenty of experience in building military-spec vehicles. For example, Oshkosh currently provides the Army with mine-resistant armored transports known as Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, or JLTVs, as stipulated under a series of contracts worth $20 billion. Oshkosh is scheduled to build tens of thousands of JLTVs over the next few decades.
Meanwhile, Oshkosh partner Flyer Defense has previously joined ranks with General Dynamics to deliver lightweight ground mobility vehicles (GMVs) for the Army. Likewise, Polaris builds souped-up versions of the civilian RZR ATV called the MRZR, as well as the DAGOR and Sportsman MV, all of which are designed as ultra-light tactical military vehicles.
Polaris and Science Applications International have partnered a number of times in the past, with the latter offering technology integration for the DAGOR. Polaris says the DAGOR already meets the weight and size restrictions stipulated for delivering the ISV to the battlefield.
The Infantry Squad Vehicles (ISV) will provide mobility for a nine-soldier squad and all of its equipment, and is designed to provide quick transport to the battlefield following deployment via parachute from a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk or Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter. This deployment method is safer than dropping infantry closer to the action and approaching on foot.
The ISV contract will be awarded next spring, with delivery to the Army between 2020 and 2024. As many as 2,065 units will be constructed. The Department of Defense will announce the contract winner in March. So far, each of the three finalists has been awarded $1 million to develop their respective prototypes.
Interestingly, the chief engineer at GM Defense, Performance Variants and Motorsports, Mark Dickens, recently told us recently that GM and GM Defense are seen as disruptors by the Department of Defense.
Two GM truck-based military vehicles have been developed thus far, including those based on the Chevrolet Colorado and Chevrolet Silverado. The GM truck-based ISV featured here is essentially a Colorado ZR2 Bison from the waist down, as we covered previously.
It’s also worth noting that the GM truck-based ISV could be built at scale fairly quickly. However, the recent UAW strike could reflect poorly on GM when it comes time to award the contract, as it may foreshadow labor strife and delays in the future. That said, GM could alternatively build the GM truck-based ISV at a different facility under special military-related provisions, thus remaining independent of the UAW.