Transporting US President Donald Trump from his yet to be confirmed hotel in the Tanglin area to the Capella Hotel in Sentosa for his meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un will prove to be a Herculean task for all personnel involved in the high-stakes operation.
Given the relatively short distance between the two venues, thanks to Singapore’s small country size, the drive will unlikely be as long and arduous as most of the President’s other road-bound travels in and outside of the US.
But don’t expect Trump’s security detail to rest on its laurels as the motorcade protecting him next Tuesday (Jun 12) will certainly be no less impressive – it’s the US-North Korea summit after all.
Trump’s convoy would likely consist of up to 50 vehicles – judging by the size of typical US presidential motorcades – and will mostly be managed by US Secret Service agents.
Leading the pack would be the route car and pilot car which provide intelligence to the rest of the motorcade. Sweepers which include police motorcycles and patrol cars follow behind to clear a path for the President’s state car.
A lead car serves as a guide and buffer for the President’s limousine which follows immediately behind, accompanied by at least one identical car for emergency and decoy purposes.
According to US Secret Service, the vehicle with the President on-board is code-named “Stagecoach” while the other one is the “Spare”.
Trailing Trump’s limousine closely is a massive fleet of vehicles comprising several black SUVs carrying officials, intelligence personnel, counter assault teams as well as communications and security experts.
Behind the SUVs is a truck transporting the Hazard Materials Mitigation Unit, followed by press vehicles, The White House Communications Agency vehicle and ambulance.
As grand as the motorcade may turn out to be, the presidential state car will undoubtedly be the star of the show.
Trump’s ride is a custom black limousine made by General Motors and first launched in 2009 for former President Barack Obama’s inauguration. It is colloquially referred to as “Cadillac One” or “The Beast” – and for very good reason.
Like a fortress on wheels, the monstrous nine-tonne Beast has both highly defensive and offensive features that allow it to pack quite a punch.
The car’s 13cm-thick windows are bulletproof with the driver’s window being the only one that can be opened, and just by 8cm. The doors are 20cm-thick and as heavy as a Boeing 757 cabin door.
The entire passenger cabin can be sealed off, making it airtight in the event of a chemical attack and emergency oxygen supply is available.
Reinforced with Kevlar, The Beast’s tyres are resistant to punctures and steel rims enable the vehicle to keep moving even when the tyres deflate.
The fuel tank is armour-plated and encased in a protective foam to withstand crashes and small-arms fire while a steel plate runs underneath the car to protect the chassis system from bomb and grenade blasts.
Should direct armed confrontation become a problem, The Beast also comes with pump-action shotguns and tear gas cannons for agents inside to lay down some fire. Bumper-mounted tear gas grenade launchers help to keep pesky attackers at bay.
Kim Jong Un’s “humble” ride
No confirmation has been made yet on what kind of vehicle Kim will be riding in to the summit but various reports say that he would likely be driven in a BMW 7 Series High Security.
Considering the fact that he owns a personal Mercedes-Benz S-Class which BBC reported he favours greatly – to the extent of having it specially transported on board his train at one point in time – the change in choice of ride would probably have raised a few eyebrows.
Although Kim’s BMW would probably not be as outrageously sophisticated as Trump’s Cadillac One, it’s fair share of protective features should suffice to keep the supreme leader safe during his journey.
Equipped with a powerful 544-horsepower turbocharged V12 engine, the BMW 7 Series High Security can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and reach a blazing fast maximum speed of 210km/h.
According to BMW, the “optimised armour plates” that cover the car’s body is made from incredibly strong special steel that fits the bodywork of the car like a second skin. The armour resists long-range, high-powered rifle shots and explosives equivalent to 15kg of TNT.
The windows are made of 6cm-thick glass with polycarbonate coating.
Like Cadillac One, the BMW carries a bottled fresh-air system to counter chemical attacks and both can be fitted with night vision cameras.
No details about Kim’s accompanying convoy have been released yet – that is, if there will be one.
But some are probably hoping that his unintentionally famous platoon of loyal bodyguards in suits would make another appearance, jogging down Singapore’s streets alongside his new swanky set of wheels.