GM Defense [GM] has unveiled a new five-seat variant of its Infantry Squad Vehicle, showcasing a version of the lightweight air-droppable platform outfitted that could be geared toward potential Special Operations customers.

Steve duMont, the company’s president, told Defense Daily the variant, which builds off the baseline nine-seat ISV the company is currently producing for the Army, will be outfitted as a heavy gun carrier while on display at this week’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, D.C.

GM Defense’s new five-seat variant of its Infantry Squad Vehicle at the AUSA 2021 conference. Photo: Matthew Beinart.

 “We’re showing the ability to modify this vehicle from a traditional light, agile nine-passenger all-terrain troop transporter to serve other missions, in this case modified to be a heavy gun carrier that could ride along either with the ISV-9 or for other missions,” duMont said in an interview ahead of the AUSA conference.. “This was not an Army requirement or an Army design. It’s my team basically learning from the broader community about what are some of the things they’d like to see as we look to variants of the ISV. We think there’s going to be a lot of interest and a lot of attention on it.”

After returning to the defense market in 2017, GM Defense secured a $214.3 million production deal in June 2020 to build the Army’s new lightweight air-droppable ISV, based on the ZR2 variants of the company’s Chevrolet Colorado midsize truck.

duMont noted the ISV program entered Initial Operational Test and Evaluation this summer, with the process expected to be completed later this fall ahead of initial fielding in early 2022.

“It’s been a very good experience so far. We’ve received very positive feedback from the operational testers who are actual users. And the feedback from the operational test has been overwhelmingly positive. The soldiers are eagerly anticipating the introduction of this vehicle into military service,” duMont said.  

Along with the standard 9-passenger ISV and the new 5-passenger variant, which will feature a .50 caliber weapon on top and M240 machine guns, GM Defense also has its All-Electric Military Concept Vehicle on display at the AUSA conference. 

“That’s an ISV that we’ve modified, taken the internal combustion engine out and outfitted it with an all-electric drivetrain,” duMont said. “It was designed to…get something that our defense and government customers can drive, ride in, ask questions and give feedback. So it truly is a vehicle on the path to what is probably the first real opportunity in the DoD, the Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle.”

At a ceremony for the opening of its ISV production facility in Concord, North Carolina in May,  GM Defense showcased an all-electric version of the ISV that functions as a concept demonstrator for the company’s interest in exploring advanced battery technologies for potential future applications (Defense Daily, May 4). 

“[The Army] are very interested and very curious about the advancements we, GM Defense, have made based on the significant investment from the parent company, the $35 billion investment in electrification and this future technology that’s really going to fuel the transformation in the automotive market,” duMont said. “There’s a path toward this all-electric future and our customers are taking those important first steps.”

The Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, or eLRV, effort is the Army’s future prototyping program to begin informing requirements for future vehicle electrification pursuits.