27 Jun 20. An entry on the DoD Contracts Bulletin for June 26th stated that GM Defense had been selected for the US Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) Requirement. A GM spokesman confirmed that this was the case to BATTLESPACE this afternoon.
GM Defense LLC, Detroit, Michigan, was awarded a $214,297,869 firm-fixed-price contract for acquisition of the Infantry Squad Vehicle, installation kits, ancillary hardware and logistical support. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 24, 2028. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-20-D-0066).
The DoD Contracts Bulletin also stated that GM Défense was also awarded an initial contract for vehicle delivery and support.
GM Defense LLC, Detroit, Michigan, was awarded an $8,580,666 firm-fixed-price contract for initial delivery of Infantry Squad Vehicles and integrated product support. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 24, 2021. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-20-D-0066).
Numbers of initial vehicles and delivery times were not quoted in the announcement. The spokesman confirmed that an official GM Press Release was currently under approval process by the DoD.
Following recent field tests at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the US Army selected GM Defense’s Infantry Squad Vehicle for further assessment, contracting to build two more prototypes and for testing beginning in fall 2019.
Background to ISV Competition
In August 2019, Defense News reported that the U.S. Army had picked an Oshkosh Defense and Flyer Defense LLC team, an SAIC and Polaris team, and GM Defense to competitively build Infantry Squad Vehicles intended to provide ground mobility for infantry brigade combat teams.
Each industrial choice was awarded an OTA, or other transaction authority, task assignment under the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to deliver and test two prototypes each, said Steve Herrick, ground mobility vehicle product lead with the Army’s Program Executive Office Combat Support & Combat Service Support, in a statement sent to Defense News.
OTA is a congressionally authorized contracting mechanism meant to expedite prototyping efforts.
The three received $1m to build the vehicles and the Army took delivery of the prototypes in November at Aberdeen Test Center, Maryland.
The prototypes were evaluated in various performance, operational and characteristics tests through the end of the year and were then transported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in January 2020 to be assessed by soldiers, Herrick said.
Each industrial choice simultaneously delivered information to the Army on price, production and logistics.
The Army Requirements Oversight Council approved an Army procurement object for 649 Infantry Squad Vehicles with an objective requirement of 2,065 ISVs in February.
The ISV supplemented and potentially replaced vehicles the Army procured as version 1.1 of the Ground Mobility Vehicle.
The ISV “is additive” to infantry brigade combat teams “and currently not planned as a replacement for current vehicles in the formation,” according to Herrick.
Oshkosh and Flyer, in a way, represent the incumbent, as Flyer produced the GMV 1.1. vehicle currently fielded. Flyer Defense “is the design authority” and will lead the team in building the prototypes, according to a statement from the team.
GM Defense’s ISV is based on its Chevrolet Colorado midsize truck and its ZR2 and ZR2 Bison variants, according to a company statement, “supplemented with both custom and commercially available parts proven by Chevy performance engineering in more than 10,000 miles of punishing off-road development and desert racing in the Best of the Desert Racing series.”
The SAIC-Polaris team submitted the DAGOR vehicle, which “delivers off-road mobility while meeting the squad’s payload demands, all within the weight and size restrictions that maximize tactical air transportability,” according to Jed Leonard, vice president of Polaris Government and Defense.
The DAGOR ISV “will leverage and further enhance the already proven, production-ready solution that has been tested, certified and fielded to operational units in the U.S. Military and its Allies since 2015,” Leonard added.
The prototype competition was a significant step toward a solution after years of uncertainty; the Army seemed geared toward holding a rapid competition to buy a GMV in 2016, but the plan was delayed without much explanation in favor of buying an interim vehicle already in use by special operations forces.
Buying the GMV was a top priority following the fall 2015 release of the Army’s Combat Vehicle Modernization Strategy, which called for such a vehicle in future and current operations.
But when a competition never materialized, rumors swirled that the Army might buy more of U.S. Special Operations Command’s GMVs — General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ Flyer 72 — even after the service had spent several years testing a wide variety of commercial off-the-shelf options.
The Army bought quantities of the command’s vehicle for five airborne infantry brigade combat teams.
Congress spurred the effort in its FY18 defense policy bill, mandating the Army hold a competition and move forward with a program.
PEO CS&CSS’ product lead for the GMV stated on its website that the Army planned to pursue a competition for the GMV — calling it an ISV — as a formal program of record late last year.
The office also released a market survey asking for a vehicle that provides mobility for a nine-soldier infantry squad as well as associated equipment to “move around the close battle area.” The vehicle should be lightweight, highly mobile and transportable “by all means” to include CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, and via low-velocity airdrop.
GM Defense’s Infantry Squad Vehicle
GM Defense’s ISV is based on the award-winning Chevrolet Colorado midsize truck architecture and its ZR2 and ZR2 Bison variants. Supplemented with both custom and commercially available parts, the underlying architecture has been proven under duress by Chevy Performance engineering over more than 10,000 miles of punishing off-road development and desert racing in the Best in the Desert Racing series.
Applied to ISV, the Colorado’s architecture undergirds an occupant and cargo superstructure powered by a 186-horsepower, 2.8L diesel powerplant and six-speed automatic transmission. Some 70 percent of ISV parts are provent commercial-off-the-shelf components.
GM’s solution includes high-performance parts developed and proven by Chevy Performance engineering such as long-travel Multimatic DSSV dampers, long-travel rear leaf springs, jounce shocks, front upper control arms, steel driveshaft, underbody skid plates and ball-spline half shafts.
“Our ISV entry is a fully-integrated platform that leverages decades of GM’s engineering, manufacturing and quality expertise at scale to provide the most cost-efficient, reliable and effective answer possible to meet and exceed the Army’s demanding requirements,” said GM Defense President David Albritton. “We’re very proud of the opportunity to move forward in this competition and continue our development of a vehicle that will enable Army units to move around the battlefield with greater ease and reliability.”
ISV’s Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers use precision spool valve technology for maximum predictability, accuracy and repeatability, minimizing jolts to passengers and delivering the ultimate in wheel and vehicle control. Underbody skid plates protect the front suspension, engine, transfer case, fuel tank, rear differential and rear shock mount. Advanced software and calibration ensure optimal performance for the engine, transmission, transfer case, locking front and rear differentials and electronically assisted power steering.
In June 2019, the U.S. Army awarded a $1m contract to GM Defense to develop two ISV prototypes for testing and evaluation.
GM Defense LLC selects Ricardo Defense
On January 29th 2020 GM Defense LLC announced that it had selected Ricardo Defense Inc. to support key product logistics and fielding requirements associated with its pursuit of the U.S. Army’s Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) Program
Ricardo Defense assisted GM Defense with integrated product support, typically consisting of vehicle technical manuals and training materials for operators and maintenance personnel.
“We’re excited to join forces with Ricardo Defense to significantly strengthen our submission for the ISV contract pursuit,” said GM Defense president David Albritton. “Ricardo’s experience with military fleet readiness, performance and sustainment combined with GM’s expertise in engineering, manufacturing and product quality at scale creates a powerful team that is able to meet and exceed the Army’s demands for this platform.”
Specific details about the teaming arrangement between the two companies will not be provided due to competitive reasons.
“On behalf of the Ricardo Defense team, I am extremely pleased that we have been selected to support GM Defense on the ISV initiative,” said Chet Gryczan, president of Ricardo Defense. “Ricardo Defense has extensive experience in acquisition logistics and life cycle sustainment efforts for military ground vehicle programs, and I feel that we will be able to ensure the application of a COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) vehicle to the Army is both seamless and successful.”