The Army is trying to fast-track the acquisition of an all-terrain, highly transportable vehicle intended to provide ground mobility capabilities for infantry brigade combat teams.
In February 2019 the service approved a procurement objective to purchase 651 infantry squad vehicles, or ISVs. The Army selected GM Defense, an Oshkosh Defense-Flyer Defense team and an SAIC-Polaris partnership last summer to build two prototypes each for the initiative. They each were awarded a $1 million other transaction authority agreement to build the vehicles. OTA agreements enable the Defense Department to cut through some of the bureaucratic red tape associated with the Pentagon's traditional acquisition system by enabling them to speed up the delivery of new capabilities.
The service is holding a series of tests to inform its decision and is slated to choose one vehicle for production in fiscal year 2020 based on soldier feedback.
Prototypes were due in November and were assessed at Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland, the Army said in a press release. Following the trials --which ended in December--the vehicles were scheduled to be sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in January for a second round of testing.
The vehicle must be able to carry nine soldiers and weigh no more than 5,000 pounds so it can be sling-loaded from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and fit inside a CH-47 Chinook.
GM Defense's bid is heavily based off of its Colorado ZR2 and ZR2 Bison variants--a Chevy-made, mid-sized, off-road truck, Mark Dickens, chief engineer at GM Defense, said in an interview.
Seventy percent of the vehicle is made of commercial products, he noted.
"The chassis--which is the frame, the suspension, driveline, engine, transmission, transfer case, axles, brakes--all of that hardware is directly from the Colorado ZR2, with the addition of some of our performance parts for off-road use," Dickens said.
The contractor's parent company, General Motors, builds approximately 150,000 vehicles per year that utilize the same chassis as its ISV offering, a factor that streamlined the design process of the vehicle, Dickens noted.
'Anything on this chassis... somebody could walk into a Chevy dealership and purchase those parts," he said.
The rest of the components were either uniquely made for the vehicle, or built from modified existing commercial products.
The company leveraged computer analysis from General Motors to ensure specific aspects of the vehicle, such as rollover...