Jay Leno drives GM’s Defense Infantry Squad Vehicle

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General Motors is looking to expand its defense business with products like this Infantry Squad Vehicle (or ISV for short), which was featured on a recent episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

In 2020, the United States Army awarded GM a $214.3 million contract to build and support 649 examples of the ISV. At the time, GM said the army had approval to order an additional 1,416 units if the initial batch proved successful.

The ISV is based on the platform of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 mid-size pickup truck. It also uses the civilian model’s Multimatic spool-valve dampers. GM claims the ISV uses 90% commercial off-the-shelf parts, in fact.

General Motors Infantry Squad Vehicle on Jay Leno's Garage

General Motors Infantry Squad Vehicle on Jay Leno’s Garage

Power is provided by the same 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine offered in the Colorado ZR2, but per army requirements it’s been modified to run on jet fuel and produce 375 hp. GM is also testing a fuel-cell version independent of the army, GM Defense president Steve duMont told Jay Leno. An automatic transmission was chosen to lessen the driver’s workload.

This military vehicle had some different design requirements than the average truck, however. For the army’s requirements, the ISV had to be light enough (curb weight is about 5,000 pounds) to be sling-loaded under a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook. It can also be air dropped out the back of a C-130 transport plane, duMont said.

The ISV gets its name from its ability to carry a full nine-person infantry squad into battle. It has two conventional seating rows, plus rear and side-facing seats all the way in the back. In place of a pickup cab, the ISV has a roll cage designed with lessons learned from motorsports, duMont said. Soldiers can store their gear in netting on the roof.

In addition to getting the complete lowdown on the personnel carrier, duMont lets Jay take the vehicle for a spin on a semi-secret off-road location. Jay enjoys driving the vehicle and has plenty of ideas for civilian applications. Meanwhile, duMont says the military version can also be sold to America’s allies. Click on the video above for the full story and to see Jay put the vehicle through its paces.

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