There’s a new vehicle turning heads on the range at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), and it will likely begin arriving in U.S. Army brigades in a matter of months. It’s the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV), and it promises to give Soldiers an opportunity to arrive to a fight faster, rested, and ready. Powered by a 2.8 liter turbo diesel engine with a six speed automatic transmission, the four-wheel drive vehicle carries up to a nine Soldier infantry unit and their heavy gear. If it looks familiar, it is because the platform is based on a commercially-available vehicle. About 70% is common with the Chevy Colorado ZR2, and the rest is a mixture of commercial parts that you can modify and put onto the Chevy Colorado. About 90% of this can be bought on the commercial market.
The ISV is meant to reduce the burden on infantry Soldiers weighed down by heavy gear and faced with rugged terrain. The fast and lean ISV can be air transported into locales within theater rapidly and efficiently. It provides an operationally relevant vehicle for a small tactical unit to be transported to a drop off point as quickly as possible in a mission-ready state. It’s intended to be transported by means of the infantry’s rotary or fixed wing aircraft platforms. This vehicle is going to help Soldiers in the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams that currently walk everywhere. It’s made to be ‘a better boot,’ a capability that allows you to effectively change how you operate. Right now it’s being put through its paces across the more than 200 miles of rugged road courses at YPG to ensure it functions as it should wherever in the world it could be called on to serve.
Over the next few months, the ISV will traverse 5,000 miles across Yuma Test Center’s rugged ranges, including sand slope mobility tests that will see it tackle a sandy 30% grade—for perspective, the steepest grade on an interstate highway in the contiguous United States is 6%. Through much of the testing, the vehicle and its driver will be joined by plastic dummies weighted with sand in the vehicle’s remaining seats. During testing, simulated missions take the vehicle across road courses featuring various terrain conditions, from paved to gravel, to punishing desert washboard that would severely rattle a vehicle without four wheel drive. As they traverse these roads, test vehicle operators continually verify performance of all the platform’s performance.
Yuma provides the capability of extreme weather differences, as well as a desert terrain. The rising temperatures as spring approaches will also help the testing. Though the vehicle is manufactured by General Motors and the company’s desert proving ground is co-located at YPG. The U.S. Army intends to field 59 ISVs to each brigade, beginning with brigades within the 82nd Airborne Division in May. The testing completed at YPG is an important element of the success of this rapid adoption and deployment of the vehicle. Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is a United States Army proving ground and one of the largest military installations in the world. Located in southwestern La Paz County and western Yuma County in southwestern Arizona, U.S., about 30 miles (48 km) north-east of the city of Yuma, it encompasses 1,307.8 square miles (3,387.2 km²) in the northwestern Sonoran Desert.