Modifications to make a vehicle less susceptible to attack.

  • Armor plating: Old-school heavy steel plate should be avoided because it impedes performance. Better choices are a lighter Kevlar, aluminum oxide ballistic ceramic tiles, and laminated nylon. The door panels, trunk, floor, roof, and engine compartment should be hardened; the floor is particularly important for protection against bombs and grenades that detonate underneath the vehicle. The windows should be tinted, and made of bullet- and blast-resistant glass.
  • "Run-flat" self-sealing tires should be installed for their ability to be driven on at high speeds, as should fuel cells for protection against fire.
  • Reinforced bumpers should be installed on the front and rear of the vehicle, primarily for ramming other vehicles.
  • Other modifications can be done, e.g. oil slicks, smoke screens, or caltrops, although oil slicks are so cliche :-) High-intensity lights can be installed on the back of the vehicle. A strobe may disrupt the aim of a sniper. Tear-gas dispensers may be added. The lower body moldings can be sharpened so that they can't be grabbed with the purpose of tipping over the vehicle. A closed AC system can be added for protection against CS gas (when driving through a riot) or a gas attack.

Of course, a complete check procedure should be followed after a vehicle has been sitting. But that's another node.

kessenich's list, while brilliantly written and eminently practical (really!), lacked a certain style and wit, a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will, that I aim to impart here. So : hardening your vehicle, part deux.

1) Kevlar and other light armors are fine, but when you need to get the job done right, substitute synthetic diamond for the glass and adamantium for the plates of steel.

2) Tires, once punctured, will eventually need to be replaced. Get rid of them and install redirectable jet engines from a Harrier jet aircraft.

3) Carjackers can be a menace. Once safely inside of your vehicle, take care to weld all the doors safely shut.

4) A hydraulic suspension system, as seen on vehicles featured in west-coast rap videos such as Dr. Dre's, can be used by a skillful driver to throw off a sniper's aim, to carefully maneuver around a minefield by hopping over the mines, and to 'put some funk in the enemy's trunk'.

5) Ever see The Last Starfighter? Two words for you : Death Blossom.

6) Assuming that you've got enough room to accelerate to the requisite 88 miles per hour, a flux capacitor installed in your car could do you a world of good sometimes.

7) Hire Jackie Chan to be your driver. If the movies are to be believed, then this may be all the protection you'll ever need.

In a serious note, pre-hardened vehicles are now available in the United States for the first time, in the BMW 740i and 750i Protection series, available from 105k to 130k USD. They are classified as light armored vehicles by the U.S. Military.

The US Military has recently announced a shift in Embassy Protection. Until now US Embassies in violence-prone countries have been equipped with one or two armored vehicles, usually based off the Chevrolet Suburban platform. The problem is that, although these vehicles could take a hit, they had no weaponry of their own. They have been used in the past by Marines who shoot out the windows. The problem with this is that it exposes the ocupants to enemy fire or gas and is pretty ineffective.

Recent attacks on US personnel, citizens and territory have prompted the need for a vehicle with the ability to hit back. Issuing each building it's own M1-A1 Abrams main battle tank would not only be impractical, but would also make the neighbors a bit nervous. (On the up side, you could hold loud parties all the time, who's gonna stop you? but that's for another node).

The solution was hardened vehicle with defensive fire power that does not have the psychological impact of a military armored vehicle (such as a tank or an IFV).

Enter the newest addition to military arsenal. This vehicle is built off the Chevy Suburban platform. But this SUV isn't for the soccer mom. This vehicle is equipped with Kevlar armor in the doors, roof, fenders & hood (to protect the engine), and a double-thick layer in the floor to protect passengers against anti-personnel land mines. (There is no way that such a light vehicle could withstand an anti-tank mine.) The windows are tinted and bullet/hand grenade proof. The bumpers are reinforced and the frame is beefed up to withstand ramming a road block.

Now for the 007 Q Division toys:
The front radiator cover is not just decoration, it's two layers of hardened steel slats that overlap, making almost impossible to shoot out the radiator. On the roof is a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera turret, which will be needed to see where you are going when you start popping off the smoke grenades from the roof-mounted launchers. You can use plain smoke to cover your movements, or if the party is getting a little rowdy use the tear gas as a polite way of saying "Go home."
Under the rear bumper are a series of spray nozzles which can dispense a slick of a specially formulated compound specifically designed to disrupt the traction of rubber on a road. Hope that your pursuers have airbags, because traction control won't help. However, If they are the persistent type, see how well they drive on four flat tires. Hit the switch on the dash that drops thousands of tire-shredding jacks on the road behind you (just like in Tomorrow Never Dies).
And since you can't outrun a Motorola, you might find yourself up against a road block, no worries, just turn on that extra set of head lamps mounted in the front grill. They are super-bright and angled to blind anyone in front of your vehicle. Then just make use of that reinforced front bumper and smash your way through.

All this is in addition to all the normal toys of a hardened vehicle: larger turbo-charged engine, run-flat self sealing tires, self sealing fuel tank, beefed up suspension and a big-time intimidation factor.

There has been some talk to fitting an M-60 light machine gun to the FLIR turret to supplement the non-lethal weaponry with something a little more serious.


Source: I am remembering this from an aritcle I read in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics some months ago.

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