A little look at the Presidential car they call The Beast.
The current US presidential limousine, nicknamed 'The Beast' by the US Secret Service, entered service on January 20, 2009. According to General Motors, the 2009 Cadillac presidential limousine is the first not to carry a specific model name. The vehicle's outward appearance carries many current Cadillac styling themes, but doesn't exactly resemble any particular production vehicle. The body itself seems to be a modification of the immediately previous DTS badged Presidential limousines, but the vehicle's chassis and driveline are assumed to be sourced from the GMC Topkick commercial truck. Many body components are sourced from a variety of Cadillac vehicles; for example, the car apparently uses Cadillac Escalade headlights, side mirrors and door handles. The tail of the car seems to use the taillights and back up lights from the Cadillac STS saloon. Although a price tag has not been announced, apparantly each limousine costs US$300,000. A bit of a bargain I think, considering what you get.
During his presidency, Barack Obama has also used the limousine of former President George W. Bush consistently, during visits internally in the US and internationally.
Most details of the car are naturally classified for security reasons; however, it is known that it is fitted with military grade armor at least five inches thick, and the wheels are fitted with run flat tires that makes the vehicle drivable for a certain period of time. The doors weigh as much as a Boeing 757 airplane cabin door. The engine has an Eaton Series 1900 supercharger. The vehicle's fuel tank is leak-proof and is invulnerable to explosions. Due to the thickness of the glass, much natural light is excluded, so the fluorescent halo lighting system in the headliner is essential. The outside crowd is only heard through internal speakers.
The car is perfectly sealed against biochemical attacks and has its own oxygen supply and firefighting system built into the trunk. Unseen at a glance are two holes hidden inside the lower part of the vehicle's front bumper, which are able to emit tear gas. The vehicle can also fire a salvo of multi-spectrum infrared smoke grenades as a countermeasure to an Rocket-propelled grenade or Anti-tank missile attack and to act as a visual obscurant to operator guided missiles. This is fired remotely by the USSS countermeasures Suburban which trails the limo and contains the sensors to detect the launch of such an attack. The limo is equipped with a driver's enhanced video system which allows the driver to operate in an infrared smoke environment. This system also contains bumper mounted night vision cameras for operation in pitch black conditions.
Kept in the boot is a blood bank of the President's blood type.Interestingly, there is no key hole in the doors. A special trick, known only to Secret Service agents, is required to gain access to the passenger area. Furthermore, the entire limo can be locked like a bank vault.
The car can seat seven people, including the president. The front seats two, and includes a console-mounted communications center. A Remington shotgun is kept beneath the driver's seat, stashed between his seat and door. A glass partition divides the front from back. Three rear facing seats are in the back, with cushions that are able to fold over the partition. The two rear seats are reserved for the president and another passenger; these seats have the ability to recline individually. A folding desk is between the two rear seats. Storage compartments in the interior panels of the car contain communications equipment which is called the Limousine Control Package and is operated by the White House Communication Agency. This is the voice and data device that links the vehicle to the WHCA Roadrunner at the rear of the motorcade allowing command and control (known as "C2") functions to be performed from the limo.
The car is driven by a highly trained Secret Service agent who is capable of performing a J-turn. This maneuver, taught at the USSS training facility outside Washington D.C., can turn the limo 180 degrees in matter of seconds to escape any trouble. The President's lead protective agent usually sits in the front passenger seat.
On domestic trips, Cadillac One displays the American and Presidential Standard flags, which are illuminated by directional flood lights mounted on the hood. When the President performs a state visit to a foreign country, the Presidential Standard is replaced by the foreign country's flag. The limousine is airlifted for domesti
c and international use primarily by a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III.
The vehicle fuel consumption is about 8 mpg.
The United States government also operates similarly designed limousines for VIP guests, visiting heads of government, and heads of state.