Inside Cadillac One (Presidential State Car)

The presidential state car is heavily armored to protect the President of the United States from potential threats during transportation. It is nicknamed "The Beast."

The body

Although precise specifications of Cadillac One are confidential, here’s a look at the most probable features and specs.

Cosmetic layer

Steel and titanium

Armormax

Polyethylene

Polycarbonate

Aluminum

Ceramic

Additional layers

Ballistic blanket

How the armor works

A cosmetic layer of aluminum, black paint, and presidential decals is followed by layers of ballistic steel and titanium. The steel (which is strengthened through heat treatments) and titanium can flatten projectiles to provide a bigger surface area for other layers to catch.

Armormax, polyethylene, and polycarbonate layers are strong, lightweight layers designed to slow and catch projectiles or shrapnel. The honeycomb structure of the aluminum absorbs and disperses energy, while the ceramic shatters to achieve the same effect. Additional layers of steel, titanium, polyethylene, and polycarbonate may be present to bolster the capabilities of the armor.

A flexible ballistic blanket (light-weight, high-strength, woven fabric made from synthetic fibers) is fitted to the interior floor to absorb shrapnel from an explosion underneath the vehicle.

Transparent armor

Transparent armor (glass) is made of laminated glass (tempered glass bound together with plastic resin interlayers). The glass absorbs the projectile’s energy and the projectile and the glass shatter.

On Cadillac One, all windows are permanently closed except for the driver window, which opens only a few inches.


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Size & weight

The shape of Cadillac One makes it appear to be the size of a standard sedan. In reality, it’s about as tall as a large SUV.

Most estimates put the vehicle weight somewhere between 12,000-15,000 lbs.

The gadgets

Cadillac One is allegedly equipped with several defensive mechanisms designed to help the president safely escape an attack.

Strobe lights

Bright strobe lights in the front grill can distract and blind attackers.

RPGs and pump-action shotguns

Defensive weapons are hidden inside Cadillac One for use by Secret Service agents.

Smoke screen

A modified exhaust system emits an infrared smoke screen to obscure sight.

Night vision optics

A thermographic camera behind the front grill allows the driver to navigate in low light or dark.

Tear gas dispenser

A small tank behind the front grill can release a cloud of tear gas if needed.

Electric door handles

A switch inside the vehicle activates a power inverter that sends 120 volts to the door handles.

Tack dispenser

A small dispenser under the rear of the vehicle releases road tacks to puncture the tires of an attacker’s vehicle.

Oil slick dispenser

Two small tanks located just inside the rear tires dispense oil to deter pursuers.


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The mechanics

The mechanical parts of the Beast are specially chosen and manufactured to accommodate added weight from the armored body.

Chassis

The chassis is probably from a medium-duty, 1½ ton truck.

Engine

The Beast most likely uses a gasoline-powered 8.1-liter V8 motor, and is rumored to only reach about 60 mph and 8 mpg.

Battery

The battery is protected by ballistic armor.

Suspension and brakes

The Beast is outfitted with heavy-duty suspension and disc brakes to compensate for the added weight from the armor.

Fuel tank

The fuel tank is filled with foam that separates the gasoline into small chambers and lessens fuel vapor that can cause explosions. It is also covered with layers of rubber that absorb fuel and expand to seal punctures, and is encased in ballistic armor.

Tires

Reinforced-sidewall "run-flat" tires include support rings, and bear the weight of the vehicle if the tires are blown out or flattened.


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The belly of The Beast

The interior of The Beast is a hermetically sealed (airtight) environment that offers protection from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks

Additional supplies

Oxygen tanks and a supply of the president’s blood type are stowed in the trunk.

Comfort

Extra padding is sewn into the interior of Cadillac One to offer comfort and safety in case of impact.

Driver

The driver is one of several Secret Service agents who is trained to maneuver the limo and evade danger.

Firefighting system

The Beast is equipped with CO2 tanks and heat-sensitive tubing; when exposed to fire, the tubing bursts and CO2 is released to extinguish the fire.

Communication

The president has access to a laptop with Wi-Fi, a secure video system, and a satellite phone with direct lines to the vice president and the Pentagon. Because sound doesn’t easily pass through the sealed body, there are speakers and microphones that allow the president to communicate with outside persons.

Onboard environmental system

Fresh air enters through a series of high efficiency filters. The interior of the vehicle also has a "positive pressure" system (higher pressure inside than outside), keeping unfiltered air outside.

References

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