By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
President Joe Biden was took his place in the White House as the 46th President of the United States of America, on Wednesday, at an inauguration ceremony attended by former presidents Barack Obama, George Bush Jr., and Bill Clinton.
Unlike other inauguration ceremonies, the general public was not in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After taking the oath of office, Biden was driven to the cemetery and later to his official home for the next four years in the official presidential car called The Beast.
Weighing over 9,071kg and fitted with the latest technology in communication and defence, this car is considered the safest in the world.
Here is what you need to know about The Beast.
- Based on the Cadillac, The Beast was taken into the Presidential Secret Service fleet in 2018 after spending a great time in Research and Development (R&D)
- There are more than two Beast 2.0 delivered by GM to the Secret Service to provide a backup or decoy. A usual Presidential motorcade can be seen with two of these kind machines.
- The limo has its own airplane – a C-17 Globemaster cargo plane and follows the President everywhere he goes.
- All the limos are similarly built and are heavily armoured, with 5-inch-thick glass, 8-inch-thick doors (weighing as much as a commercial aircraft door). The vehicle is built using titanium, ceramics, and a bombproof plate that covers the underside.
- The Chassis of the Beast is made up of reinforced stainless steel plates which can take a bomb attack. The tyres are reinforced with the hardest possible material, Kevlar and are puncture resistant. The wheel rims are made with tough stainless steel, which makes it possible to drive at high speed in case if the tyre is damaged in any attack.
- The windows are bulletproof and house five layers of polycarbonate and glass. This solid construction provides this car with an extremely safe interior for the President of the United States of America.
- It is equipped with safety measures like run-flat tyres, night-vision gear, and oxygen supply of its own, along with nuclear codes and a satellite phone, which has a direct hotline to the Vice President and the Pentagon. It can also fire gas canisters out the front bumper.
- The limo is powered by a 5.0-litre diesel engine because of its weight and size. Also, diesel is less flammable in a fire fight. There are reports that the old Beast supposedly had a 3-Kmpl mileage (except the new one to be the same).
- Secret Service has a code for the limo and it is not ‘The Beast’. It is called ‘Stagecoach’ internally.
- Usually the weaponry is not detailed by the Secret Service but the driver has a shotgun. We cannot even imagine what is in the boot!
- Lastly, the vehicle is supposed to stock the President’s blood type, along with a defibrillator and other emergency gear.
- The fuel tank is armoured-plated and is coated with specialised foam which in case of an explosion. The trunk of the car houses smoke-screen dispensers, tear gas, and a complete fire fighting system in it. The beast is equipped with pump-action shotguns and tear gas cannons.
- The driver for US presidential vehicle is a specially trained person in extreme driving conditions, which includes escape and evasion, 180-degree ‘J-turn’.