- The U.S. Army is preparing to test three new trucks.
- The trucks are meant to be airdropped with paratroopers.
- The truck, known as the Infantry Squad Vehicle, will prioritize speed over armored protection.
The U.S. Army is about to conduct a drive off among three competing trucks, all aiming to become the service's newest ride for paratroopers. The Infantry Squad Vehicle is a high speed, lightly armored truck that will jump with airborne troops out of airplanes and allow soldiers to quickly move off the drop zone.
The U.S. Army has more than a division’s worth of paratroopers, about five brigades in all. Paratroopers are a forced-entry tool, capable of dropping from airplanes and then moving out to secure objectives. On D-Day, for example, the 101st and 82and Airborne Divisions dropped behind enemy lines to secure bridges and key road junctions that invaders coming over the beach would need to press the attack.
Modern warfare is fast moving, with most troops riding in tanks or infantry fighting vehicles. Not so with paratroopers, who are still limited to the speed they can walk. The new infantry squad vehicle seeks to change things, giving paratroopers newfound mobility.
The Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) is essentially a passenger-carrying truck that can drop out the back of an airplane. Once on the ground, a nine man squad of paratroopers will pile themselves and their equipment in the back and then quickly move out toward their objective. The ISV will allow an airborne assault force to choose a drop zone farther from enemy defenses but still quickly converge on a bridge, highway interchange, or enemy airport. The ISV prioritizes speed over armored protection, an easy choice to make since a heavy armored vehicle can’t be airdropped anyway.
Three companies are competing for the Army’s ISV contract, which according to Breaking Defense is good for at least 651 vehicles. Oshkosh-Flyer Defense is offering the Flyer ISV, a compact truck with a roll cage, machine gun mount, and the ability to haul 5,000 pounds. Oshkosh-Flyer already builds U.S. Special Operations Command’s Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 and the A-GMV, the vehicle currently serving as an interim infantry squad vehicle.
The second vehicle is the Polaris Defense DAGOR. According to Breaking Defense DAGOR lost the A-GMV competition to Flyer but is already in service with, “Special Operations Command, the 82nd Airborne Division, Canada, and other foreign customers the company can’t disclose.” DAGOR features a turbo diesel engine and can run for 500 miles on a tank of gas. DAGOR has a 4,000 pound hauling capacity.
The third competitor is built by General Motors Defense (see above). GM’s ISV is actually based on the Chevy Colorado mid-sized pickup truck, complete with ZR2 off-road suspension package. The vehicle is 70 percent of the commercial vehicle, or commercial parts. The ISV can also carry nine occupants or 3,200 pounds of cargo and passengers.
The ISV competition will be one to watch. Oshkosh-Flyer can carry the most stuff and is already in service with the military. Polaris DAGOR is also in service and has a strong background in all-terrain vehicles, which the ISV maybe is more than an actual truck. GM may be the dark horse contender but it knows how to sell trucks, as this spec-laden PDF shows.
Each of the three competitors must provide two test vehicles to the Army this fall. The service will choose a winner in 2020, with an initial contract for 651 vehicles—and quite possibly much more to follow.
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