By the sheer virtue of it, the President of a state is one of the most powerful person not only in that country, but worldwide. But when that person is none other than the President of the U.S.A, the importance increases manifolds and so do the threat perception. And hence comes the security details of the President of U.S.
Barack Obama, the President of U.S is one of the most important and powerful personalities in the world, and his security is like none other. Among his security is 'The Beast', the official car of the President of U.S.A. And hence we decided to do an article on it, not only of its importance, but because of its features and performance.
Straight out of a James Bond movie, the Beast is nothing short of a car shown in the popular 007 Bond series, albeit, it's not an Aston Martin, but a Cadillac. The gadgets and equipments in the car can put to shame, some of the most advanced military vehicles and expensive cars. So here's our detailed report on this awesome vehicle - The Beast!
What is 'The Beast'?
'The Beast' as it is fondly called, the official transportation of the head of the states in the U.S.A. While the Cadillac was the official provider of the Presidential wheels, the current vehicle, in reality, is a Chevrolet Kodiak at heart. Its chassis, diesel engine and transmission are taken from the Chevy's commercial vehicle used as everything from a dump truck to a U-Haul truck.
Beast by the numbers!
2: Average kilometers to a litre of fuel
12: Number of actual Beasts in service
Rs 9 crore: How much each Beast costs
18: How long the Beast is, in feet
8: Thickness, in inches, of the doors' armor plating
5: Thickness, in inches, of the windows–bulletproof, of course
8000: The weight of the Beast, in kilograms (the exact number is classified)
Interesting facts to know about 'The Beast'!
The Beast has its own transportation plane - Secret Service, the inner most security level and the personal security detail of the President uses a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to airlift The Beast from country to country. But the Beast is not the only vehicle to be hauled, instead a second limo and a heavily armored Chevrolet Suburban communications vehicle is also airlifted all the time the President is traveling.
Strongest Communication Vehicle in the world - The Suburban from Chevrolet, nicknamed Roadrunner by the Secret Service is said to be the rolling communications office directly linked to a military satellite - hence the SATCOM dome fastened to its roof. The vehicle is one of the most powerful satellite communication vehicles in the world.
It's not just another armored car - Well, every state head runs on an armored car, and that is for obvious reasons. But none can match the sheer lethality of the vehicle on the planet than The Beast. To give you an insight, the armor plating is said to be 8 inches thick and its doors weigh as much as those on a Boeing 757 aircraft. All the windows consist of at least five layers to stop any type of attack.
While the vehicle can be armored, the soft spot of a car is wheels. The rubber made tires can be targeted easily, but that's not the case with The Beast. The nearly bus-size Goodyear tires are Kevlar-reinforced run-flats tires, made of steel layers, to keep The Beast running in case of attack. No amount of bullets or blast can damage the tyres.
Talking of the interiors, it is one of the most secured cabins on the planet Earth. The cabin is sealed off from the outside world in a manner to reduce any sort of chemical attack, while a special foam surrounds the fuel tank to insulate it in the event of an impact. The cabin is totally noise insulated and makes the President feel at the home.
The most well-equipped car - As if the security details in the car was not enough, it comes loaded with a list of unique features. Just open the Beast's trunk and you will find everything from the firefighting equipment and oxygen tanks to a cache of the president's blood type. There are tear gas canisters, shotguns and, supposedly, grenade launchers, integrated into The Beast.
It isn't a Cadillac - And here comes the big revelation! Unlike any presidential state car before it, The Beast is nothing like the original, standard Cadillacs. In fact, it's more of a Chevrolet Kodiak commercial vehicle. Its chassis, diesel engine and transmission, all come from the Chevrolet Kodiak, used as everything from a dump truck to a U-Haul truck. The headlamps are borrowed from an Escalade and tail lights from the now-discontinued STS, which keep it looking vaguely Cadillac-like.
The driver is not less than an F1 driver, albeit with a gun - It's not easy to be the President's personal driver. You have to be an expert in high speed evasion techniques and all other tight curves like the J-turn. The drivers are also from the Secret Service and is trained by General Motors engineers and test drivers at a highly secluded and unknown place.
It runs on diesel - It's not only the car that is airlifted when the President on an official state visit, but its fuel is also transported. But what's in the fuel that's not available in other countries? The Beast runs on a Duramax diesel engine that also powers the Chevrolet and GMC's full-size heavy duty pickup trucks. But why diesel and petrol or ethanol? Well, like any other material, diesel is also added due to safety concerns in the car, as the diesel has a low volatility rate that reduces the risk of it exploding and in case of emergency, can be borrowed from anywhere in the world, unlike high quality unleaded fuel.
The specs are not that good - The weight of the car is more than 8000 kg and that heaviness requires a top notch engine. Instead, the engine enables the car to hit 0-100 kmph in 15 seconds, reaching at a top-speed of around 100 kmph only. The mileage of this car is mere 2 kmpl only. That's not an impressive figure by any chance, are they?
It holds seven passengers - And how many people can it carry? The minimum number of people at a time in the Beast is 3 - the driver, the president's lead Secret Service protective agent in the front passenger seat and, of course, the president himself. But that's not the seating capacity of the President's car. In fact, four additional seats are available, enabling the car to carry 7 people in total.
The Beast has a twin - While the actual Beast has an identical car and both the car moves together, to create a distraction, there are other handful of cars like the Beast. Both the Beasts are functionally identical, while the rest of the vehicle looks like the Beast, but are used to carry other high ranking Government officials and state guests.
The Beast is not a stock car - But the Beast is not too old in the American history. It was during the George W. Bush era that the Secret Service went into so much detail about the vehicle President is travelling in. Secret Service bought the presidential limousines in bulk, to avoid last moment issues, which these vehicles faced a lot due to extra burden.
Since the car is heavily armored and the transmission is not used to bear such loads, there were transmission failures all the time and the brakes could last only for two trips at max. Since the stock car was not working, the Secret Service decided to design and build the car themselves from the scratch. So, the is built by an R&D arm of General Motors in Detroit. The car is a truck in the shape of the limo, to say the least!
So, now that you have learnt all about the Presidential wheels, just wait for Mr. Barack Obama to visit India on the Republic day and see the car live yourself, but this time, with all the facts you know about it.
Watch this space to know about more presidential wheels from around the globe.