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The President’s Limo, aka The Beast – Tech Tuesday

Where ever the President goes, he travels in style, using a specially built limousine that not only keeps the bad guys from trying to harm him, but also keeps him in touch with the White House to stay up to date on the latest happening around the world. It’s official name is  The Presidential State Car. The Secret Service, call it the Beast! And I’m here to tell you, it lives up to that name.

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Some other nicknames are Cadillac One and Limo One, in reference to the 747 used by the President to travel for official business. But some of the tech installed in the limo, that is publicly known, is pretty impressive and borders on James Bond style. But much of the other tech is classified and known only to a select few in the government.

The current Beast is a 2009 GMC Topkick-based Cadillac-badged limousine. It’s said to be fitted with military grade armor that is 5 inches thick, as well as bullet proof glass so thick, it limits the amount of natural light that can come through. Because of that, a fluorescent halo lighting system in the headliner is installed. It also has a puncture proof fuel tank, with run flat tires, that allows the limo to keep driving for while with punctured tires. This allows the highly trained Secret Service driver to do a maneuver called a J-turn, which turns the limo around 180 degrees in a matter of a couple of seconds to get the President out of the area when there is danger.

There is also a full communication system in the limo to interface with another vehicle in the motorcade, called the WHCA Roadrunner, which acts as the President’s secure command and control link with the White House Communication Agency. Along with that is of course storage areas and a pull out desk for the President to get some work done. The back cabin can seat 5 with the 2 back seats reserved for the President, and the three rear facing seats for staff or Secret Service protection. The lead agent for the President usually rides in the passenger seat up front.

Out side, the Beast is said to have an infra red camera system to allow driving in pitch black and when smoke would obscure vision, as well as tear gas emitters on the front of the vehicle. There is also a multi spectrum smoke grenade counter measure system to protect the President against rocket propelled grenades, anti tank missiles and a visual obscurant to operator guided missiles. There’s also a built in oxygen system for the limo, because it’s sealed to protect against a bio attack.

This vehicle lives up to it’s name. It has every option I could imagine in it. And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind driving it for 30 minutes or so. And no doubt there is still some tech inside that we know nothing about that would make us all go “WOW”.

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