ABOUT ARMOURED VEHICLES
Questions before buying an armoured car
From experience, we know that the choice of an armoured car implies a difficult and risky decision for the customer who has to protect his life, and in some cases, other one’s too.
To select a VIP vehicle armoured by our house is certainly the best choice a customer can make.
– But which type of armouring?
– Would you be protected as required?
– Does the vehicle’s handling and active and passive security come up to your expectations?
These criteria, all very important, cannot remain unanswered.
All specialists know that the armouring of a high-quality car does not amount simply to the purchase and installation of the best ballistic products available on the security market. The reality is more complicated.
We are convinced that, to reach a good result in the security field, first and foremost, the company that will manufacture your life-saving car has to meet some requirements :
- to enjoy a huge and long-lasting experience in exclusive armored vehicles
- to be used to work for very important persons, worldwide, who are rightly very demanding, mainly concerning quality, ballistic protection, handling and finish
- to have a Research & Development department, with a team composed of skilled engineers & technicians with access and knowledge of up-to-date automotive technologies
- taking the complexity of these products into account, to integrate the production from design to final manufacturing, in order to centralise and master quality at all stages in the same assembly line
- to have a corporate culture, based on quality and customer satisfaction
- to have an efficient after-sale service with detailed records for each part of the vehicle and team of Flying Doctors ready to help you anywhere on the planet
Some essential advice before buying a VIP armored vehicle :
- Never buy one without advice from ballistic experts specialised in the automotive field
- Insist on having a visit of the production plant in order to see for yourself the high level of the skills and the quality of the final product. Never rely on a nice website or a nice presentation
- When armouring is complete, and before the re-assembly customers can inspect the car by their ballistic experts (when the car is completely re-assembled, identification of potential ballistic gaps is impossible)
- When the car is ready and before for delivery, our customer can inspect once more, with road testing in order to let the expert check the handling, braking, etc, as well as the quality of the finish.
What is "Shell-in-the-shell" technology ?
The purpose is to have a completely reinforced structure built in respect of the original one. Therefore we improve the body-in-white one to ensure a good torsion and bending stiffness to create an armature which will protect the occupants against collision, explosion and ammunition attacks.
In order to transfer the loads onto the suspension towers, we created a continuous armored structure. This involves to open some of the box sections (A pillar, B pillar and C pillar mainly) in order to create a continuous load path by integrating the armouring. This work is carried out on a 3-D jig which prevents any body deformation.
The reinforced structure is the best possible protection against the threaths threats created by impacts of ammunition or explosions (IED’s).
What are the methods and armouring techniques of the doors ?
The complete doors are fully reinforced with armouring.
The area of the door lock is protected. The doors are also reinforced while preserving all original functionalities (central locking system, etc).
The door’s original external appearance is intact by keeping all original seals and finishers.
The access to all the door inner mechanisms (locks, window mechanisms, speakers, assistance) is provided through a removable panel. The new trim panel faithfully reproduces the original one.
The winding up and down mechanism for the windows are attached to the bottom of the door. The increased weight of the window is fed to the door via reinforced hinges through the armored structure.
How are the overlaps engineered ?
All ballistic materials overlap each other. Overlaps surround all doors and windows.
An important part of the armouring design has been implemented to reduce to the minimum of the overlapping dimension while keeping the highest ballistic protection.
The majority of our competitors installing big overlaps to solve their ballistic problems. This solution is often cheaper but it creates some big disadvantages as it reduces the door bay which is not only reducing comfort and discretion but also creates the risk for the VIP to hit his their head on the big overlaps. As we armour the door window frame, our overlaps can be safely reduced between 15 to 25mm.
Thanks to this overlaps design, other important advantages can be noted :
- The exterior appearance is similar to the original one
- It also reinforces the door glass frame which improves safety
- In case of an explosion, the blast will not project the window in the car but the overlaps will retain it more efficiently than a normal steel frame
What are the technical assembly methods of the armouring, in order to have a perfect adjustment of all armored parts ?
Thanks to a computerised tri-dimensional design and computerised laser cutting, the armouring is extremely precise and these parts are assembled together like a jigsaw puzzle.
The parts are designed and assembled together, closely following the inner shape of the body work, filling every gap to make a homogeneous shield which minimises the intrusion that large panels would have generated.
Welding techniques are conceived in order to preserve the ballistic properties of the steel plates.
Thanks to the engineering done on CATIA software and the use of jigs for all sub-assemblies, we can ensure repetition of quality.
Which products and methods are used for the armouring of the floor ?
Strapping the matt to the main structure is the only solution to give appropriate resistance against explosion.
The aramid matt is not only glued on the floor and waterproofed by a resin system but it is also strapped all around to the armour steel structure.
This is the only way to prevent intrusion in case of explosion (bonding is not completely safe as the matt could peal peel away from the steel floor).
We also install a steel floor protection.
Which technique has been selected for the roof protection ?
The roof is always completely protected with special ballistic steel.
Are the electrical wires protected ?
Yes, the electric circuit is re-installed within the armored shell and therefore it is protected. Moreover, the battery and, in some cases, the engine management systems are fully protected with armouring.
Is the front bulkhead fully protected ?
We are convinced that the occupants of an armored car are not fully protected if the front bulkhead is not fully armored. As an example, some angles remain dangerous.
Most of our competitors do not protect the front end of the car as it is a very difficult to do so in the manufacturing process.
It is also impossible to rely on the engine to protect the occupants as the engine is too far forward and leaves many ballistic holes in from angular shooting.
Moreover, it seems hazardous for us to leave the electronic vital components unprotected.
Should the car stop, the occupants would be at risk.
To solve this problem, we have designed full protection for the front bulkhead.Thanks to this extension, the passenger compartment is fully protected: there is no gap left in the armouring and no projectile can enter from any angle of shooting.
Is the fuel pump and battery protected ?
Yes, the battery compartment is armored.
The fuel pump is protected by an armouring steel shield.
Is any protection foreseen for the fuel tank ?
Yes, on some models the fuel tank is protected with a self-sealing coating. In some other models, the fuel tank is surrounded by with an armouring armored steel casing. On In all our models, the fuel tank is always protected.
How is the quality of the glazing protection and its fitting methods ?
The windscreen and the backlight are bound to the main structure on a special armored frame
We also keep all finishers similar to the original non-armored vehicle.
The purity of glass selected is excellent giving all around excellent visibility.
Which elements have been reinforced to cope with the weight increase ?
The front & rear suspension anchorages: have been reinforced.
The front and rear sub-frames are reinforced as well as the springs & damper fixing points.
Suspension adaptation: components like rear links, springs and dampers, stabilisers and anti-roll bars are adapted to suit the load. On all models, our suspensions are preserving preserve all functionalities of the OEM suspension.
Brake: It goes without saying that for security reasons, the braking system has to be reinforced in accordance to the vehicle weight increase. Therefore, the braking system is adapted with components designed to cope with the larger increase of weight.
Are the wheels adapted to the increased weight of the car ?
Wheels are always specific and adapted to the weight of each vehicle.
For Mercedes sedan and Rolls-Royce, we use the Michelin Pax system specially designed for armored limousines.
Tyres (runflat protection of the tyres)
The tyres are replaced to allow the load per tyre to be adapted to the total weight of the car.
The five wheels are equipped with a runflat system that allows the car to drive with a punctured or damaged tyre.