Who can blame GM? Military contracts can be very lucrative, so why not vie for a new Army contract for an infantry mover? GM’s Infantry Squad Vehicle is doing just that with a personnel mover based on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. GM has already put up some pretty impressive numbers in testing with this concept, including more than 10,000 miles of desert racing and other field tests.
The ISV was created in collaboration with the U.S. Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center. The vehicle is fuel-cell powered, meaning that it uses hydrogen fuel cells—an attractive means of locomotion for the military as this method of power provides stealth advantages. Fuel-cell vehicles are silent and have low heat signatures from their electric powertrains. In addition, the Colorado ZH2’s exhaust is water vapor, which can actually be captured and converted into potable water. Plus, the powerplant of the vehicle can be used to provide up to 50 kW of AC or DC power, which is sufficient to run computer systems, sensors, or other electric gear.
GM “supplemented with both custom and commercially available parts.” The design of the vehicle actually makes use of 70 percent off-the-shelf components. The most notable design difference to the Colorado, however, is the lack of doors and roof. The idea was to keep the weight down low enough that the ISV could “be sling-loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and versatile enough to carry up to nine soldiers and all their gear at highway speeds, both on pavements and off-road under extreme conditions.” Those off-road capabilities are made possible by the Multimatic DSSV dampers and long-travel rear leaf springs of the Colorado and the same skid plates found on the ZR2 Bison. GM made some changes under the hood as well, putting in a 2.8L turbodiesel from Italian manufacturer VM Motori. The new engine has 186 horsepower with 369 lb-ft of torque.
GM doesn’t have the contract yet—they’re competing with the likes of Oshkosh/Flyer Defense and SAI/Polaris—but with what they’ve shown, they’re definitely thinking outside the box, which might get them that coveted contract.