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GM Defense's Troop Carrier Clears Major Hurdle

GM Defense's Infantry Squad Vehicle passed the Saudi Summer Trials which means it can be considered for use in the United Arab Emirates.

GM Defense’s Infantry Squad Vehicle, based on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, has passed the grueling Saudi Summer Trials. The trials determine if vehicles can survive the incredibly brutal desert heat and still meet the needs of the UAE Armed Forces. The Infantry Squad Vehicle is based on the Chevrolet Colorado rather than the Chevrolet Silverado because the military needs the truck to be small enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for air transportability. It also must be light enough to be to be sling loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.

“This was GM Defense’s first time sending a vehicle to UAE Summer Trials, and our successful completion is a testament to the strength of our ISV and to the expertise and dedication of our team,” said Steve duMont, GM Defense president. “Through completion of all phases, we’ve demonstrated that we can successfully leverage the advanced technologies of our parent company, General Motors, to deliver a highly capable off-road vehicle that can meet the needs of defense and government customers in the UAE and throughout the region. Our Summer Trial achievements are a key step forward in our planned growth in the region as we seek to offer the ISV and its variants to this important customer base.”

Grueling Saudi Summer Trials

The desert-based testing takes place over several days and includes different phases to test the vehicles’ durability.

The test vehicles are required to:

  • Travel 2,000 kilometers across varied terrain like highways, sand dunes, soft sand and rocky walls.
  • Drive continuously in high heat while carrying maximum payloads. This tests combat capability while carrying troops.
  • Perform well during maintenance drills. Vehicles are subjected to two days of field repair testing and maintenance to guarantee they will hold up and can be fixed while on location.


“Our completion of Summer Trials is a tremendous accomplishment for the ISV program and will give defense and government customers in the region great confidence in the capabilities GM Defense can deliver to meet mission requirements,” said Bradley Watters, vice president of International Business Development. “I was on the ground with other ISV team members, supporting the vehicle as it traveled in deep soft sand, hard-packed surfaces and over rocks, successfully completing eight consecutive days of testing in extreme heat (132 degrees Fahrenheit/56 degrees Celsius). Completing all phases of the mobility and maintenance trial will help open the doors to new growth in the Emirates.”

Huge Step for GM Defense Sales

The completion of UAE Summer Trials follows GM Defense’s announcement of a signed cooperative agreement with Tawazun Council at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in February 2023. As I have reported previously, GM Defense is developing a number of vehicles for use by foreign governments. GM Defense is building heavy work trucks with various propulsion systems, including electric and fuel cells. It is also building heavily fortified armored vehicles that look like Chevrolet Suburbans but are actually built on truck chassis.

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Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.

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