November 19, 2012 00:00 By The Nation 10,701 Viewed
The Beast is as much a symbol of the US presidency as Air Force One - and the present fleet of presidential limousines has been in service since 2009 and is readily identified as the transport of the Barack Obama administration.
Obama’s Beast is heavily armoured to shield from gun, bomb, missile and improvised-explosive-device attacks. It has the latest in satellite-link communications, including anti-eavesdropping equipment. It is also equipped for protection from biochemical warfare.
Drivers can activate night-vision gear to help repel and counter any assault. Should safety fall short of being foolproof, a blood bank with Obama’s blood type is always ready in the trunk for emergency medical services.
The Secret Service has nicknamed the vehicles as The Beast, reflecting the weight of the armour plate and the massive installation of security devices. The present Beast has a Cadillac badge without a specific model. The estimated cost of each armoured vehicle before furnishing is Bt9 million.
For land transportation outside the White House, the presidential limousines are practically a fortified and mobile Oval Office. On foreign trips, the Beast is transported by a US Air Force C-17 aircraft.
For yesterday and today, the Beast is flying the Thai flag honouring the Kingdom as the official host of President Obama.