The 82nd Airborne Division’s First Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bragg, is slated to receive the first of its kind Infantry Squad Vehicle — a light all-terrain troop battlefield carrier intended to transport infantry squads and their equipment.
The 82nd is scheduled to receive 59 ISVs. Division spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Burns says they are not yet on the ground.
Eventually, 11 Army infantry brigade combat teams will be outfitted with 59 vehicles each under the first contract. The vehicle is being built by GM Defense LLC, a General Motors subsidiary.
Since 1941, the Army has relied on the Jeep and more recently the Humvee for battlefield mobility. But the ISV is the first vehicle designed to carry an infantry squad of nine soldiers and their equipment, according to the Army. The ISV is largely based on the frame of the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize pickup truck. Ninety percent of its parts are commercial off-the-shelf components, said Steven Herrick, the Army's product leader for ground mobility vehicles.
GM Defense renovated a plant in Concord, North Carolina, for its production.
“Having soldiers ride in a vehicle with their equipment instead of carrying it across many miles of cross-country terrain to their destination means they'll be much less fatigued and better able to carry out their missions,” Herrick said.
The ISV sacrifices protection for mobility. The fast attack vehicle is completely unarmored and fully open with roll bars rather than traditional siding. The ISV doesn't even have a roof. This tradeoff leaves troops exposed to all forms of enemy fire.
A Pentagon assessment said the vehicle will provide infantry soldiers with valuable off-road mobility. The assessment described the ISV as cramped, lacking convenient storage space for equipment, but that it meets the Army’s requirements in tests and evaluations. The ISV “key requirements are being met, and we are increasing soldier operational readiness by providing an operationally relevant vehicle that can transport small tactical units to a dismount point faster and in better physical and mental condition for the fight,” Herrick said.
The ISV has undergone testing in the Yuma Proving Ground's desert in southwestern Arizona. The vehicle has completed successful tests in the static drops category for low velocity airdrops — the airborne delivery of equipment and weapons systems from aircraft. The service staged live drops with soldiers executing missions after the drop, he said.
Initial operational tests and evaluation exercises were held at Fort Bragg last August.
The vehicle is air-droppable from aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster. It’s small enough to ride inside a CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter, and it’s light enough to be slung beneath a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The initial contract is for production of 649 vehicles, but the Army plans a total of 2,065.