State Department Tests New Chevy Suburban, Armored Truck Is One Impressive Beast

Chevrolet Suburban by GM Defense 8 photos
Photo: State Gov
Chevrolet Suburban by GM DefenseChevrolet Suburban by GM DefenseChevrolet Suburban by GM DefenseChevrolet Suburban by GM DefenseChevrolet Suburban by GM DefenseChevrolet Suburban by GM DefenseChevrolet Suburban by GM Defense
Development of the new Chevrolet Suburban for the Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) began back in 2021, and now it has reached phase three. This means that it's ready for testing in the hands of government officials, albeit in prototype form.
As a result, GM Defense, the company behind this impressive bulletproof truck, delivered a special prototype to the DSS on June 30, 2023, in Springfield, Virginia. Subsequently, the tester was then unleashed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland a few weeks ago, and it appears to have impressed those who had the chance to drive it.

"The prototype vehicle had good acceleration, handled better in the turns, and the heavy-duty anti-lock braking system was far superior to our aftermarket vehicles," said Gentry Smith, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. "The HD SUV represents a new cost-effective era in the design and building of these badly needed vehicles to help us carry out our mission to ensure the safe and secure conduct of foreign policy in some of our most challenging and dangerous posts."

Unlike the old Suburbans used by the US government, the new one was built from the ground up with this task in mind. Thus, it wasn't just given ballistic protection and additional gear, as GM Defense based it on the electric body-on-frame (eBOF) chassis. This is a new commercial construction that can host different drivetrains, including battery-electric assemblies and hydrogen fuel cells. At the same time, it can accommodate heavy payloads and the obvious armoring that keeps occupants safe in case things go south.

Details surrounding the powertrain are yet unknown, though certain outlets believe it uses the 6.2-liter gasoline unit from the production variant of the Suburban. This mill produces 420 hp (426 ps/313 kW) and 460 lb-ft (624 Nm) of torque. Nonetheless, others think they might give it some sort of electrical tech, which would come in handy when it stands still for long periods of time. After all, it does have the construction to support it.

As part of GM Defense’s deal with the government, they will supply ten prototypes of the new Chevy Suburban for testing purposes, part of a $36.4 million contract the company secured in September 2021. These will be put through their paces in all sorts of challenges and will also be shot at to prove their ballistic mettle. If they manage to impress those testing them, then they will land GM Defense a multi-year contract by September 2023. The goal is to kick off the assembly of the new armored trucks in June 2024, and it appears that as many as 200 of them will come to life each year over the next eight to ten years, starting their respective jobs with the DSS and other federal agencies.
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Editor's note: H/T to TheDrive.

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About the author: Cristian Gnaticov
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After a series of unfortunate events put an end to Cristian's dream of entering a custom built & tuned old-school Dacia into a rally competition, he moved on to drive press cars and write for a living. He's worked for several automotive online journals and now he's back at autoevolution after his first tour in the mid-2000s.
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