The presidential fleet has a new pair of armored limos, according to the Detroit Free Press. Nicknamed by tradition “The Beast,” the two new 2018 Cadillacs appeared in an image on the U.S. Secret Service Twitter account September 24.
“The Secret Service is ready to roll into #UNGA 2018!,” the tweet proclaimed, referring to preparations to transport President Trump to the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) September 24, 2018
Originally ordered in 2014 when The Department of Homeland Security published a request for bids, the new Beast joins other Cadillacs already in the fleet.
Specific details about The Beast’s construction, armoring, components, and capabilities are not publicly available. When the request for bids was published, the Secret Service restricted it to “Major Domestic U.S. Automobile Manufacturers.”
Before the 1980s, presidential limousines were manufactured by Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division. Since that time Cadillac has been the supplier. Ford did not bid on the contract for the new limos.
In a September 17 email to the Detroit Free Press, Secret Service spokesman and special agent Jeffrey Adams wrote, “This vehicle, a 2018 Cadillac, continues the Secret Service’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art technology and performance to its protective mission.”
The last time new presidential limos were introduced was January 2009.
In 2015, then President Obama told Jerry Seinfeld The Beast was “a Caddy basically on a tank frame.” According to Obama, he could use The Beast’s communications setup to order “a nuclear submarine.”
While details on the new limos are unknown, Obama’s Beast reportedly had 8-inch thick armor, 5-inch thick bulletproof windows, and run-flat tires. A completely sealed interior protects passengers from chemical attacks.
Two limos are always in presidential motorcades, which simultaneously provides a working spare ride and adds a level of confusion as to which limo carries the head of state.
The Beast twins don’t travel alone. Rather than station multiple pairs of vehicles around the country and the world, the Secret Service flies the limos in a C17 Globemaster to any location where the president lands. The same cars are always used and guarded. An armored Chevrolet Suburban nicknamed Roadrunner that serves as a mobile communications office also travels on the aircraft and accompanies the limos.