March 24, 2023

PM Modi gets three armoured Mercedes-Maybach S650 guard vehicles | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra’s Modi’s fleet of armoured cars just got a massive upgrade. The special protection group (SPG) — entrusted with the critical task of protecting the Prime Minister — has acquired three Mercedes-Maybach S650 guard vehicles, which promise some of the world’s highest safety features that any car can offer, comparable to the ‘Cadillac One’ or “The Beast” which is used by the US President and the Aurus Senat used by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The German-made limousines, which were delivered a few months back under a thick veil of secrecy, would cost the state around Rs 5.5 crore per vehicle, though this is a special price for the Prime Minister’s Office since it does not attract customs duty and other taxes. For any individual buying the vehicle with full taxes, it will cost upwards of Rs 11 crore per car.
It took nearly two-and-a-half years for the vehicles to be delivered since the time the first discussions on acquiring the cars took place, official sources said.
At 4,870 kgs, the limousines — which carry the highest-safety ‘VR10’ level of protection for the occupants — are more than double the weight of an ordinary non-armoured version since they carry reinforced body shell and glass which give them enhanced strength to withstand bullet attacks from guns and sniper rifles. Also, the cars are capable of withstanding 15 kg TNT explosion from a distance of as close as two meters.
Modi, who also uses Range Rover SUVs for his movement apart from other escort vehicles, previously had BMW 760 Li protective limousines in his fleet, but these had aged and needed replacement, especially in view of the heightened threat perceptions and also due to the advancements made in the production of armoured vehicles.
The Mercedes-Maybach S650 guard vehicles are a class apart when it comes to providing protection to the VIPs they carry. For example, the vehicles – which sport a 6,000cc petrol engine that produces 830 Nm (newton meter) of torque and a top speed of 190 kmph — can run at a high speed even after bullets have been fired at the tyres. There is a special reinforcement between the outer rubber and the alloys which ensures mobility even in emergency situations.
Also, the car remains protected from any kinds of incidents of fire, and has an emergency system to pump in fresh air if the occupants need to be protected from smoke or poisonous gas. The vehicle also has a self-sealing fuel tank and numerous other protection features.
To ensure that the vehicle is architecturally robust, the protective elements are fully integrated into the body shell of the vehicle in a dedicated production process, rather than being retrofitted.
However, while offering a highly-customized level of protection, the vehicle is visually similar to a regular S Class on the outside. This helps it provide a camouflage to the VIP occupants when it is moving in a fleet of similar-looking vehicles.
It is learnt that more than one vehicle had been purchased in view of the Prime Minister’s hectic travel schedule, and requirements at destinations other than the national capital in case of his movement.
The SPG is also looking at new advancements in the armoured vehicles category as threats to the PM’s security remains high and regular upgrades are needed.

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