The Army’s new infantry squad vehicle is designed to carry nine Soldiers, can be carried under a UH-60 Blackhawk, and can even ride inside the bay of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. In other words, this tough little truck can be deployed rapidly just about anywhere in the world.
The platform was designed to be light, capable, and supremely versatile for the wide array of mission sets U.S. Army infantry Soldiers are tasked with… and it draws its DNA directly from the same pickup trucks some Soldiers may already be driving.
GM (the same folks that brought you the new mid-engine Corvette and the commercial Hummer platforms) secured a $214.3 million contract earlier this week, with their winning entry based largely on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, a mid-sized pickup truck.
“Winning this Army award is well-deserved recognition for the hard work and dedication of our GM Defense team and their production of a fantastic vehicle,” David Albritton, president of GM Defense, said in a statement.
“It’s indeed an honor to leverage our parent company’s experience as one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers to design, build and deliver the best technologies available to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and our allies.”
The ZR2 model of the Colorado is the “top of the line” trim for the truck, complete with improved suspension for superior off-road capabilities and a long list of available options. Of course, most of the creature comforts that come in the Colorado ZR2 have been stripped from the Army’s new infantry squad vehicle in favor of saved weight and space–which is why it can be carried beneath a Blackhawk or inside a Chinook.
A whopping 90% of the parts that make up the new infantry squad vehicle come right off the shelf of GM’s warehouses, which not only makes repairs easier (thanks to an existing supply chain), it also drives the price of the platform down considerably. Those off-the-shelf components include the Colorado’s 186 hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle’s suspension also borrows Chevy’s Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers that make the ZR2 Colorado a capable off-roader.
With the engine, transmission, and suspension sourced directly from the ZR2 Colorado, the vehicle may look like a creation straight out of Mad Max, but it’s actually not that far off from the grocery getter GM sells with a 5 year, 60,000 mile warranty.
A total of 649 new infantry squad vehicles are already on order for the Army, with budget already set for a total of 1,070. The contract also allows for further purchases of as many as 2,065 vehicles.