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8 Things You Didn't Know About Armoured Vehicles

Did you know that India has witnessed five wars since Independence in 1947? Unfortunately, it’s true! But now terror has started invading not only country's border but also the internal areas. Isn’t it the citizens’ prerogative to live in a safe and secure country and governments’ duty to provide security and safety? Isn’t it important for the country to provide at least safety to soldiers with safe mobilisation throughout their life, whether at war/battlefield or at their base station? Aren’t citizens, scientists, politicians, sports person and supreme officials equally at risk because any unfortunate activity can bring unrest in the society? It has been observed that almost 80% to 90% of terrorist attacks have occurred while enrooting in vehicles. To some extent Armoured vehicles not only give soldiers, the security of transportation from battlefields and back; but also take care of the civilians. Bullet proof cars are no longer fantasized vehicles from James Bond movies. They are very much part of security of the individuals.

 

Did you know:

   

  • Every vehicle is not eligible for transformation into bulletproof vehicle. Only a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel unit or higher can take the weight of the added armouring stuff. In India, Fortuner and higher like the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series fit the bill.

 

  • There is a special requirement of getting a clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs

 

  •  For vehicles it is crucial to remain aesthetically similar!

 

  • God! Gutting the original car inside and out down to its shell with the dashboard, seats and roof all removed! I would scream for my valuable possession to be brought to shacks but eventually it will be pumped up with either composite materials or ballistic steel.

 

  • Depending on the vehicle, car glass can range from 22mm to 54mm which means that just the glass will weigh 400kg out of the total extra weight of 900kg added.

 

  • The speed limit is 137kph.

 

  • According to the sizable weight the handling of the armoured car becomes difficult and special drivers are trained in specialised training schools, mostly by police.

 

  • The Armoured Shields of Personal Security Vehicle (PSV) and Military Vehicle are differently placed. Shields find different placements to keep identity un-disclosed for civilian vehicles. Mostly for personal, Armour plate is shielded under the outer skin of the vehicle and the vehicle looks like a normal car or SUV. Whereas for the military vehicles it is openly display.

 

We need to understand why these vehicles have certain requirements before we only look at them as the tanks for the warfare. The bullet proof cars and armoured car are mounted with bullet proof Glass and shields are not the only protections that these vehicles possess. Other than these, other safety modifications can be extended like—CCTV, automatic fire extinguishers, an explosion-resistant fuel tank, remote start, GPS, like run-flat tyres, pressure and temperature control of the tires, a siren or alarm, and a PA system for interaction of inside and outside of the vehicle. It is interesting to know that these two are different but sometimes they are mistaken as one. Other than shielding, the other components are arms and ammunitions fitted in the armoured vehicle to counter-attack or attack for safety.

 

Recommended: How strong is a Bulletproof vehicle?

 

As a fun fact starter, do you know modern bulletproof glass is simply a variation on laminated safety glass, and that was invented by a French chemist named Édouard Bénédictus who took out a patent on the idea in 1909?

 

  1. Bulletproof Glass

 

 

In armoured vehicles, the standard windows are replaced with bulletproof glass that has layers of laminated glass. It is also known as Ballistic Glass. It gives highest level of protection by fully integrated layers. It is actually a bullet-resistant glass. Mostly the final inner layer is made of polycarbonate or plastic film which prevents spalling. The problem here is that with more layers it becomes heavier.

 

  1. Amour Plate

 

 

Armour plates are protection shields on the body of the vehicle. Bullet proof cars are vehicles that are built such that they are not affected by the bullets fired at them and they keep the travellers safe.

 

  1. Tyres

 

 

The tyres play a very important role in securing and driving in the event of any mis-hap and security vehicles possess special kind of bullet proof tyres. In fact, they are not bullet proof but bullet resistance. These have bullet resisting capability which is obtained by fitting a metal ring on the rim inside tire. These metal rings bear the weight of vehicle and help the driver to take the vehicle to a safe place. We know that the tyres are made of rubber and rubber cannot resist a moving bullet. In case of such a situation, the tyre actually bursts most of the time due to high pressure impact. So using of sealants inside a tubeless tyre won’t help in keeping the air inside.

 

  1. Customised polymer for Tyres & Inner Wheel

 

For the tubeless tyres, mostly customised polymer donut is clamped inside the tyres. This polymer ring provides support when the pneumatic tyre loses pressure. What else options can you think? Maybe, Self-sealing tyres; internally inflated tyre mechanism; or maybe a way for the tyre to work without air. But unfortunately these thoughts can’t stand the great ambush. For civilian vehicles, there is another option of an inner wheel that can provide enough support to allow the car to escape. I am not sure if the same could be applicable to military vehicles with higher intensity of firing.

 

  1. Regular Service

 

The increased load of the added armour and other modifications are assembled with a more powerful engine and brakes with stronger shock absorbers. Higher forces than usual vehicle are needed and this in turn requires faster vehicle services than normal vehicles. Since Armoured/personal/bulletproof vehicles are now used by civilians too to ensure safety. The wear and tear needs to be repaired at special service centres. In addition, the engine of an armoured vehicle requires more maintenance due to the increased weight of the vehicle. Batteries die, fuel pumps go bad, and starters need to be replaced. Though heavy duty components are used but still there is need for regular service at specific intervals. When you are maintaining your armoured car, you simply cannot go to a local mechanic and ask for automotive parts! You know ballistic glass is bulletproof and it requires special treatment; there might be need to check the heavy duty suspension systems; the run-flat tyres which are only used for bulletproof or armoured vehicles; the car shield is different and the battery which are robust.

 

Must Read: Do you know how a car is armoured?

 

MODERN ADVANCEMENTS

 

Now with technological advancements, other elements which are becoming part of armouring solutions are Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can be used both for military and personal purposes. Take the example of UAV. They are becoming the new protective measure that is fitted in these vehicles and can provide real-time information of any danger approaching towards them. To top this all, Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) are becoming part of armouring solutions; another safety accessory for the bulletproof vehicles.

 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

 

Now biology is being involved to find protective systems leaving conventional chemistry or physics behind!

 

Synthetic biology is being used to effectively make the nature act in very specific ways. The defence scientists are ‘growing’ bugs that are engineered to develop with ‘super-hard’ shells.   This process of culturing organisms will form the basis for armour plates that will be enormously stronger than those existing today.

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JCBL Group

JCBL Group is a leading business conglomerate with diverse business presence across automobile, pharmaceutical, design, information technology and international trading. With many firsts, the group is a pioneer in the mobility solution space since 1989 and has created an impressive track record of value creation in all its businesses.  Read More »

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