GM Adds Product Development Team for Military Applications

General Motors Co. has created a new unit to develop and market products for the aerospace and defense industries.

GM Defense LLC will be part of the carmaker’s Global Product Development organization. Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell business, will head the unit.

GM Defense will enhance GM’s “productivity, agility and affordability,” according to the company. The group also is expected to help GM better anticipate and react to the needs of aerospace and defense customers.

GM sold its previous defense business (General Motors Defense) to General Dynamics Corp. in 2003. But the carmaker has continued to supply engines and transmissions to the U.S. military. Recently it has been collaborating to test fuel-cell-powered vehicles in harsh operating conditions.

Last week GM unveiled a multipurpose, fuel cell-powered truck platform and is talking with the U.S. Army about possible applications. The Army has been testing a fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado on U.S. bases since April. The U.S. Navy has been testing a GM fuel cell-powered underwater drone.