Army vehicles are officially in production in Concord, and a NASCAR team helped.
GM Defense, a subsidiary of General Motors, on Tuesday celebrated the opening of its 75,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near Charlotte, where U.S. Army Infantry Squad Vehicles will be made. Fort Bragg in North Carolina will be the first to receive deliveries of the vehicles, the Observer previously reported.
The plans will produce all-terrain troop carriers called Infantry Squad Vehicles. The ISVs are strong enough to carry nine soldiers but have a light enough frame that it could have been used in a race car.
The 5,000-pound ISV is light enough to be loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter as well as compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for air transport, according to GM Defense.
“This is great news for our community, as well as our entire region which includes Fort Bragg,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08).Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13) and Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, R-NC, also were on hand for the opening of the facility.
By the numbers
The agile ISVs are part of a $214.3 million Army contract that GM Defense was awarded last June.
The Concord facility will produce 649 ISVs in the first three years, GM Defense Chief Engineer Mark Dickens previously said. But the total production is expected to be 2,065 vehicles with additional funding authorization over eight years.
GM will hire about 20 technicians and expects to hire more with increased demand to build more ISVs.
About the ISVs
The ISV architecture is based on GM’s 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck design and includes Chevrolet Performance race components.
Part of the vehicle’s agility comes from teaming up with nearby Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick developed a frame strong enough to carry nine soldiers but light enough it could have been used in a race car.
GM Defense also worked with Ricardo Defense, which leads the Integrated Product Support, including manual development, equipment training and field service support.
“This vehicle is going to help soldiers in the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams that currently walk everywhere,” said Army product lead Steve Herrick said.
A new GM Defense leader
The company also named Steve duMont as GM Defense president.
DuMont led Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a business of Raytheon Technologies, and held various leadership positions during more than 13 years there. He also was an aviation officer and attack helicopter pilot in the Army.