In September 2018, a new presidential limousine was rolled out by the Secret Service to carry the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to the United Nations Assembly in New York. In February, the limousine, also known as The Beast, paced the NASCAR Daytona 500 field. What do we know about this vehicle?
The Beast is a rolling armored vehicle with two purposes, transportation, and protection. Created to not only carry the President, family members, or dignitaries from one location to another, but also to protect the occupants in the event something goes wrong security-wise while in transit, or while at a location.
Over the decades, many manufacturers have served the President’s needs when it comes to making a special service vehicle. Most have them have been limousines from Cadillac and Lincoln. Today’s presidential limousine is from General Motors, commissioned by the Secret Service in 2014. It is based on a heavy-duty Chevrolet Kodiak truck chassis and then dressed in Cadillac XT6 uniform.
It weighs over 20,000 pounds and has run-flat tires. The powerplant is unknown, but with so much weight, it must be able motivate the vehicle and race it out of any perceived threat. Although the vehicle was seen by fans at the Daytona 500 pacing the field mostly along the apron of the track, it is likely that The Beast was not strained in exercising its legs and can do it a lot quicker if necessary, such as in an emergency.
To protect the Commander in Chief, The Beast is armored. That’s why it weighs so much. The combination of materials to make the body panels and undercarriage armored is not known. But the doors are thick and heavy, just as in any other armored vehicle. The glass is also thick and heavy.
Once inside, there’s a whole host of different things to service the President’s protection needs. NBC News reports that, “the car is sealed against biochemical attacks,” and,
“there are a number of other tricks that include a night vision system and some other James Bond-style gimmicks: It can put out a smokescreen, fire tear gas, and lay down and oil slick to send vehicles chasing it out of control. Even the door handles can be electrified to shock those who might try to get inside.”
If the President needs medical assistance, The Beast is ready. There are medical supplies onboard. There’s even a refrigerator stocked with the President’s blood type.
If the President needs to repel a someone that somehow made it inside, The Beast has that covered as well! Light arms are available hidden somewhere. No doubt, the ammunition hasn’t been forgotten either.
There is a lot more to this vehicle than most will ever know. That’s purposeful, of course. The Secret Service is very secretive, after all! No need to tell a potential threat everything they are up against. Suffice to say though, that what has been made public was done so to let the citizens of the United States know that the President is very well protected in the event things get nasty.