WASHINGTON — General Motors Defense has turned the U.S. Army’s Infantry Squad Vehicle into a heavy gun carrier, debuting the variant Oct. 11 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.
The ISV — based on the company’s 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck — is designed to carry a nine-soldier squad and move them rapidly in and out of battle.
“We’re actually starting to develop out our plan to build variants based on the vehicle,” Steve duMont, GM Defense’s president, told Defense News in an interview before the AUSA event. “We’ve heard repeatedly that there was an interest in a gun carrier variant of this.”
GM Defense took roughly three months to produce the ISV 5 Heavy Gun Carrier version, duMont said.
The gun carrier version on display at AUSA is a five-seater with a .50-caliber gun mounted on top. On the doors, there are access points to mount squad automatic weapons; at the show, the company has M240 squad automatic weapons on the side.
The vehicle on display “could ride along with airborne infantry units to provide additional heavy gun protection,” he said. “You’ll see a vehicle that could be used by special operations forces and, of course, a lot of interest in the ISV from allied land forces around the planet.”
While GM does not yet have a contract for an upgunned variant of the ISV, “we think there’s a lot of growth opportunity on these different variants, and I think what we’re trying to demonstrate is just how quickly and rapidly or efficiently we’re able to modify the vehicle to deliver other capability that is requested by our customers,” duMont said.
GM Defense has a history of making rapid progress. It took three months to configure a new 75,000-square-foot production facility in Concord, North Carolina, for the ISV, and four months to deliver the first production vehicles after it won the ISV deal, duMont said.
It took roughly three months for the company to convert an ISV into a fully electric vehicle, he added.
The company also brought to the show an upgunned version of its electric military concept vehicle and will feature a incorporated unmanned aircraft system that can charge from the fully electric vehicle and perform scouting missions, duMont said.
GM is gearing up for a potential Army competition to develop and build an electric light reconnaissance vehicle. The company plans to base its eLRV design off its Hummer EV chassis. The electric Hummer, which is a 1,000-horsepower vehicle, gets 90 minutes of drive time for 10 minutes of charging.
The Army has not funded the eLRV effort but did include it on a list sent to Congress of items it would want in the fiscal 2022 budget if the service received additional money. Without funding, the Army noted in the document, the service will see delays to the research, design and builds of future eLRV prototypes and the initial prototyping effort for up to four contractors.
Congress has yet to pass a budget for FY22 or the defense policy bill.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.