The United States Department of State has recently announced that the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) leadership and GM Defense officials have gathered at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia, for a briefing and demonstration of a new prototype. The vehicle is the first-of-its-kind, purpose-built Heavy-Duty armored Sports Utility Vehicle (HD SUV). Otherwise known as the new Chevrolet Suburban HD. And before you contact your dealer for more information, this armored SUV is for government fleet business only.
What Is The New GM Defense HD SUV?
The newly designed HD SUV from GM Defense has its armoring built into the original design and manufacturing process, which diverges from current aftermarket tear-down and rebuilt practices. The goal is to improve build efficiency, reduce lead time in bringing vehicles into service, and provide higher-quality performance. The value of the Chevrolet Suburban-based HD SUV is expected to be enhanced as a five-year / 50,000-mile warranty has been added. By comparison, the current vehicles used by the U.S. government have a two-year / 2,000-mile warranty which is typical of the multi-stage aftermarket armoring process.
GM Defense took a team of U.S. Department of State officials on a half-day of briefings and demonstrations of a prototype for the newly designed HD SUV. Drivers took the DSS officials on test runs, demonstrating the vehicle’s maneuverability during high-speed turns and controlled skids produced by sudden braking. Following a ride and drive test, GM Defense hosted over 50 participants representing 13 interagency partners for their own respective sessions.
Pending validation of all testing protocols, the State Department is expected to award a multi-year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract by September 2023. All U.S. government agencies will procure their armored HD SUVs through the department’s contract with GM Defense. GM Defense expects full production of the armored SUV to begin in June 2024.
The contract requires GM Defense to build 10 HD SUVs for government evaluation and testing, which will entail subjecting one of the vehicles to third-party independent survivability testing, composed of small arms and blasts to confirm that the developed vehicles meet Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB) standards. The remaining cars will be subject to the end user and automotive durability testing designed to confirm that GM Defense can meet its commitment to supply the federal government with HD SUVs with an extended production range of eight to 10 years. Certainly, the people undertaking the survivability testing will have some fun.