The use of armored cars has significantly increased over the years. They offer a more strategic approach and also represent the social status of the individual. Historically, the use of armored vehicles was seen more in armed escorting, reconnaissance, internal security, and other subordinate battlefield tasks. There is no doubt the idea of armored vehicles predates the invention of the internal combustion engine. The very first armored vehicle was inspired by a shell of a turtle and was designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1487 and commissioned by Duke Ludovico of Milan. It was created by wood covered with metal with a slanted top to deflect enemy fire.
The development of armored vehicles has progressed extensively in the last century and their use can be seen in various industries. To offer a wide variety of bulletproof and even mine-resistant cars, trucks, and SUVs, automakers such as Land Rover, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have joined with specialized manufacturers.
But what does it take to build a world-class armored car? Let’s learn more about it below with the experts from INKAS Armored.
Established in 2000, INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing has been providing armored vehicles for banks, law enforcement agencies, corporate clients, and individuals all over the world to meet the ever-increasing demand for armored vehicles.
According to the expert at INKAS Armored, when it comes to meeting the needs of its worldwide customer base, they usually start with understanding the main objective and focus of their customers. Such as, do they want the highest possible levels of armor or are they looking for their choice of any vehicle in the market. Because, they can really armor anything, but sometimes the concern is cost and feasibility for the client as well as the practicality.
For example, they can even armor something like a Toyota Prius, or a Tesla Model S, but they are likely to end up being overweight and underpowered which is not a good thing for an armored vehicle.
On the contrary, vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruiser, Mercedes S-class and G-class, Chevrolet Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, prove to be much better and most popular options for outfitting. Although, the status of their car also plays a role when someone decided to armor their vehicle.
GVWR, which is a vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is also very important when it comes to enhancing vehicle safety. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to add as much as 3,000 pounds to a vehicle in order for it to withstand high-caliber bullets. So, the professionals at Inkas Bulletproof cars generally spend a lot of time focusing on keeping the weight of the vehicle well below its GVWR. To maintain the performance characteristics, handling, and donor vehicle’s standard ride, the manufacturers integrate the best of cross-drilled brakes and upgraded suspensions. This helps in making the vehicle durable and safe to drive on an everyday basis and in emergency situations in the same way.
It should not be a surprise that all armored vehicles are built differently and have varying GVWR. Regardless of the vehicle you chose to armor or the degree of armor you opt for, the process remains pretty much the same in the beginning. The first step of the process is to strip the entire vehicle to bare-bones metals. After that, the armoring process will begin. There are basically two types of armor used by companies, opaque and transparent.
Transparent armor consists of several layers of polycarbonate, polyurethane, and glass with varying thicknesses from three-quarters of an inch to more than 3 inches depending on the application. On the other hand, Opaque armor is largely made of ballistic steels, Dyneema, Kevlar. Along with that silicon carbides, aluminum, boron, among other ballistic composites and ceramics are also common.
After the vehicle is stripped, the engineering team works on fitting the opaque armor while focusing on keeping the car’s center of gravity low and providing the necessary attention to the protection of occupants in the car in case of attack. This typically means fitting materials such as steels and kevlar in the floor and using thicker body panels around the frame.
After the vehicle shell is completed, the team puts on transparent armor replacing the automotive glass with layers of bullet-resistant laminates. Now, as a part of the final step, overlaps will be integrated into the vehicle. Now that the armor is complete, the team will move on to reassembling the vehicle while paying special attention to making the newly armored car look stock both inside and out.