The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) recently met with GM Defense officials for some firsthand experience with the new GM Defense HD SUV. Outfitted with extensive armor panelling and ballistic glass, the GM Defense HD SUV is the result of a $36.4 million contract awarded to GM’s military product subsidiary in 2021. Pending validation, the State Department is expected to award a multi-year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract by September of 2023.
The recent demonstration was held on June 29th, 2023 at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia. Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Gentry Smith was in attendance, as was a team of DSS officials, which were provided ride-alongs in the new GM Defense HD SUV via test runs which demonstrated the vehicle’s maneuverability in high-speed turns, plus controlled skids under heavy braking.
“The prototype vehicle had good acceleration, handled better in the turns and the heavy-duty anti-lock braking system was far superior to our aftermarket vehicles. You could really feel the stability and performance in the redesigned chassis,” Assistant Secretary Smith said.
The Diplomatic Security Service states that the new GM Defense HD SUV is particularly important for the DSS following the end of production of the Chevy Suburban HD chassis in August of 2018, which was the only chassis capable of holding the additional weight of the armor plating. In order to address the need for a replacement, GM Defense developed a new HD SUV that incorporates armoring directly into the original design and manufacturing process, reducing lead time in bringing vehicles into service, as well as providing higher overall performance.
“The HD SUV represents a new cost-effective era in the design and building of these badly needed vehicles to help us carry out our mission to ensure the safe and secure conduct of foreign policy in some of our most challenging and dangerous posts,” Assistant Secretary Smith said.
Looking ahead, all U.S. government agencies will procure their armored HD SUVs through the State Department’s contract with GM Defense. Full production is expected to begin in June of 2024.