Two hours before President Barack Obama’s arrival in Israel, his heavily armoured limousine, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, broke down after it was reportedly filled with diesel instead of petrol. A secret service spokesperson confirmed to a White House pool reporter that the vehicle suffered a malfunction, but would not say if misfueling was the cause.
Israel’s Channel Two reported, “The Americans filled it up with diesel, rather than petrol,” suggesting a diplomatic incident was averted because it was the Americans’ fault, not Israel’s.
Although it is designed to look like a Cadillac sedan, The Beast is reportedly built on one of General Motors medium duty truck chassis, and is estimated to weigh eight tons. Several identical vehicles exist and entered service on President Obama’s first inauguration day, Jan 20th, 2009. It reportedly gets just a mileage of 3.4 kmpl and a top speed limited to 97 kmph.
Most of its specifications are classified for security reasons but it is well-armored, with eight-inch thick doors, bulletproof glass and a superstructure composed of titanium, ceramic, steel and aluminum. The vehicle has its own oxygen supply and is essentially sealed against the outside environment, making it able to sustain chemical or biological attacks.
The cabin is capable of functioning as a “panic room,” and outside sounds are piped in via speakers. Furthermore, The Beast comes equipped with a night-vision capable cameras, tear gas cannons, Kevlar-reinforced run-flat tires and steel wheels that can work without tires at all. It is also rumored to be equipped with infrared smoke grenades to conceal the vehicle from attack by rocket-propelled grenades.
The limo carries a supply of President Obama’s blood for use in case of an emergency.
“One of our vehicles is experiencing mechanical problems. This is why we bring multiple vehicles and a mechanic on trips,” according to a Secret Service spokesman, Agent Edwin Donovan.
The Secret Service ships a number of limos for each presidential trip.
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