GM Defense, the defense subsidiary of the auto monolith General Motors, has made several important announcements. The company has announced a new president. Steve DuMont is the former Army helicopter test, pilot. He has spent 13 years at Raytheon, a defense contractor company. GM Defense has now officially opened its new factory in Concord, N.C., where it’ll build hundreds of air-droppable Infantry Squad Vehicles for the U.S. Army.
Unveiled an electric variant of the ISV, GM Defense is using the battery from the Chevy Bolt. Moreover, they are leveraging its parent’s $27 billion, five-year investment plan in electric vehicles.
“Right now, that vehicle is out driving around,” DuMont said. “In a pretty short period of time, [We built it] on our own investment. Moreover, we will bring it to Fort Benning next week. Then, let some of the warfighters go and evaluate it.”
GM Defense has the capability to build the Army’s proposed Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle. Their electrified ISV is a company-funded concept car. Yet, it is a formal prototype. Moreover, the Army has been hesitant about the logistical complications of adding all-electric vehicles to its current diesel fleet. In fact, there are no charging stations on the battlefield. Yet electric drive’s ability to move what is called near-silently while powering broad electronics is very attractive for scout units. And since the Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle would, in fact, serve in light infantry brigades alongside Infantry Squad Vehicles. It is an ISV-derived ELRV that simplifies logistics and training. Thus putting GM Defense in a power position.
However, that is an impressive feat for a very small operation. For instance, the new Concord factory will have just 20 employees when it is fully staffed. The factory will build 14 vehicles a month. It is a minuscule sliver of GM’s global operation. But then, they will be drawing on the parent GM’s huge bench of engineering talent. As well as its huge supply base. From the civilian Chevy Colorado ZR2, the ISV itself is derived. Also, it is built from 90 percent commercial parts.
The aim of GM Defense is to leverage GM’s investment. This is in self-driving, network-connected vehicles. It is the technology that, in fact, blurs the line between one of the military’s most old-school industrial-age components, trucks, and its cutting-edge information technology, AI, and robotics.