Believe it or not, but the vehicle you see here is based on a Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. It’s called the GM Defense ISV, for Infantry Squad Vehicle, and GM has just delivered the first example to the US Army. The ISV is designed to be a rapid ground mobility vehicle to transport soldiers and their gear to various locations. GM will build 649 of them thanks to a $214.3 million military contract awarded in June 2020. They will eventually produce up to 2,065 vehicles over the next eight years if GM Defense is given additional authorization.
The GM Defense ISV shares its architecture with the highly capable Colorado ZR2, and 90 percent of the parts are commercial-off-the-shelf components, some off the stock truck and some from Chevrolet Performance. Even the powertrain is the same, the familiar 2.8L Duramax diesel engine and six speed automatic, producing 186 hp. This similarity with a production model and manufacturing efficiency of General Motors allowed GM Defense to beat out several other companies for the military contract. It also made the development process from concept to delivery lightning fast.
We first saw the initial concept back in September, 2019. The US Army then awarded GM Defense with the multi-million dollar deal late June, 2020. From there, GM Defense managed to deliver the first example in just 120 days, thanks to their aforementioned production efficiency. A partnership with UK-based Ricardo Defense also helped push that time table. Ricardo will lead most of the logistics, integration and training of the ISV, melding it into the armed forces.
While the ISV is very similar to the Colorado ZR2, it’s obviously designed with the Army in mind, unlike the civilian truck. It is light enough to be sling loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and compact enough to fit into a larger CH-47 Chinook helicopter. This allows for even greater mobility and flexibility of use. The ISV also has unique Rollover Protection System, and can carry nine soldiers and their gear.