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US Army Conducts Airdrop Tests of New Infantry Squad Vehicle

The US Army carried out a series of extensive airdrop exercises to identify if it would be possible to supply soldiers in military operations with infantry squad vehicles (ISVs) that could allow for rapid battlefield movement.

Troopers from the 2nd Battalion of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment teamed up with the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate in testing a smoother and faster way of delivering a 5,000-pound (2,267 kilograms) vehicle that can carry up to nine crew members.

The exercises, which took place at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, used standard low-velocity drops from Air Force C-130 and C-17 aircraft. The army also utilized the standard dual-row airdrop system on the C-17.

“The ISV gives Parachute Riggers the opportunity to support the Light Infantry with fast, easy rigging and delivery to the drop zone,” test officer James Cochran explained, adding that the vehicle can also carry military equipment around the battle area.

As part of the test, soldiers immediately de-rigged the vehicle upon reaching the ground. They also loaded their gears on the roof and drove off on both smooth and rough field terrain.

New Infantry Squad Vehicle

Last year, the US Army took delivery of its first ISV from American defense firm GM Defense LLC. It was part of the $214.3 million contract to produce 649 vehicles by the end of 2024.

The contract specifically stated that the new infantry vehicle must be light enough to be sling loaded from a UH-60 Black Hawk and small enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook in order to provide maximum flexibility for deployment.

The design of the ISV is based on GM’s Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck that uses 90 percent commercially-available parts including a 186-horsepower, 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engine. It also has a custom rollover protection system.

The US Army is planning to procure a total of 2,065 ISVs.

‘A Game-Changer’

Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate Executive Officer, Maj. Cam Jordan, believes that the new airdrop capacity could assist the armed forces in crisis response, rapid insertions into combat zones, and in decisive action missions.

“The ISV will be a game-changer for a rifle squad,” he stated. “The ability to drop this in with the soldiers will give them much greater reach and endurance to complete their mission. Military Occupational Specialist 11B — Infantryman — are expected to be proficient in the performance of ground combat while using the ISV.”

Infantryman, Pfc. Muhammad U. James from 2-325 IN, also expressed that he enjoyed testing the new vehicle. He even said that the payload capacity of the ISV is appropriate for fast, short-term missions.

“Between its simplistic maneuverability and low rate of fuel consumption, the ISV is a vehicle capable of executing missions quickly and effectively, with minimal resources,” James remarked.

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