The U.S. Army’s new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) is currently undergoing testing for mobility reliability and durability on some of the harshest desert terrain Yuma Proving Ground has to offer.
Issac Rodriguez, team leader for the combat automotive division at YPG, said the testing is being conducted to ensure that the vehicle meets specific performance requirements the Army has requested.
“Our mission for this vehicle is to execute 5,000 miles of operation on our available desert terrain,” Rodriguez said. “We will also be doing some slope mobility and cooling system tests.”
Testing on the ISV began earlier this month and Rodriguez says they hope to be done by April.
“Before the soldier ever touches the vehicle, we want to make sure that it is safe for them to use,” Rodriguez said.
One of nine prototypes already built, the ISV is a lightweight tactical vehicle designed to move a squad of nine soldiers, their weapons, and their equipment quickly over adverse cross-country terrain.
Steven Herrick, the Army’s product lead for ground mobility vehicles within the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support, explained that infantry soldiers carry their equipment while they are on foot, and that it is often heavier than their own bodyweight.
Riding in a new ISV, instead of having to walk many miles to get to where they are going, Herrick continued, essentially allows infantry soldiers to be much less fatigued, and thus better able to carry out their missions.
As such, the ISV has been developed for infantry brigades that don’t have vehicles for transporting their soldiers.
“It has always been coined as a better boot,” Herrick said. “It is a mode of transportation that effectively changes the game on how soldiers deploy and get to their objectives.”
Because it is small and lightweight, the ISV can be sling loaded from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter or carried inside a CH-47 Chinook, which increases the flexibility of soldiers on the move.
The Army can also deliver it to the field by a low-altitude airdrop from a cargo plane.
What is so unique about the vehicle, according to Herrick, is that it is put together using the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck frame, with 90 percent of its parts being commercial off-the-shelf components.
It is also powered by a 186-horsepower, 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engine and performance race components.
The Army has awarded General Motors a $214.3 million contract to produce 649 vehicles by the end of fiscal 2024. The service is planning to procure a total of 2,065 ISVs.
The 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina – which specializes in parachute assault operations – is slated to receive the first 59 of the new vehicles later this year.
Eventually, 11 infantry brigade combat teams will be outfitted with 59 vehicles each under the first contract covering the 649 ISVs.