US Army infantry soldiers at Ft. Bragg recently went to the front lines of training using the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV), which will allow soldiers to cover large areas of challenging terrain more quickly and less fatigued by reducing the area usually covered on foot.
The ISV would allow infantrymen to carry enough personal and squad provisions to self-sustain for several days. The vehicle is also transported easily by air assets during air assault and airborne assault missions.
“The 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions have been integral to the ISV development,” said Maj. Howard VanMatre, ISV assistant program manager, upon completion of the pilot test, which is essentially a dress rehearsal prior to the actual operational test to follow.
“As we gained insight from previous soldier touchpoints with these units, we then incorporated lessons learned into the production ISV,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the results of this test and then the subsequent fielding to the first unit equipped, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division,” he added.
The initial operational test gave infantry soldiers the opportunity to put the ISV to the test using their own unit concept of operations as they might in a real combat situation.
The Company Commander of Company C, 1-504th PIR said the ISV enhances his soldiers’ mission.
“The ISV enabled us to close on the objective and rapidly maneuver to the objective,” said Capt. Brian Connell.
“As a light infantry company, we are able to internally move our own class IV. Without the ISV we’d be out there cutting down trees to try to disrupt the enemy or doing what we could with our shovels.”
Soldiers were given an opportunity to provide relevant in-person feedback to the Program Manager and Military Evaluators regarding what they think should be sustained or improved upon in future development of the ISV.
“Manual mode offers exceptional control, it’s the only way I drive the ISV. The suspension is outstanding,” said Spc. Lucas Golm, Headquarters Company, 1-504 PIR.
“When expecting an ambush we used speed to blow through and return fire,” said Pfc. Caden Wilhelm of 1st Platoon, C Company, 1-504 PIR.
“During Movement to Contact we covered restrictive terrain faster and it allowed us to surprise the enemy!” said 1st Lt. Colin Larrabee, executive officer of C Company, 1-504 PIR. “Great asset to the Company!”
Program managers said the ISV might not only be a real game changer for future light infantry operations but may just be a “better boot” that fits just right!
The army expects to order 2,065 vehicles over the next eight years, eventually fielding 59 ISVs to each brigade.