Washington, D.C. - Barack Obama has a new presidential limo, nicknamed The Beast, which the First Family will take their first ride in during the Inauguration.
The new Presidential limo, dubbed "The Beast" by the Secret Service was built by General Motors, which stated that it will afford "the highest level of protection."
Obama's limo looks a lot like the current model used to ferry President Bush around town: an armored Cadillac sedan with a modest stretch job, raised roof line, and mounts on the front fenders to carry the American and presidential flags.
The new Presidential limousine features heavy armor that is at least 5 inches thick and comes complete with run-flat tires, bulletproof glass and a completely sealed interior to ward off a chemical attack, among many other high-tech security features.
The new limo is actually much larger than the 2006 model used by President Bush and rides on large 22? wheels similar to those found on commercial grade GMC trucks.
Photos show doors that appear to be nearly 8 inches deep, with thick, fixed windows. Only the driver's window has a small slot that can slide open, which we assume is for paying tolls. With so much armor on board, it would be no surprise if GM needed to resort to using the bones of a truck to support the added weight.
A source at one of the world's premier security vehicle manufacturers says that armored cars of this magnitude are capable of withstanding not only armor-piercing bullets, but also attacks from IEDs.
A number of electronic countermeasures are known to exist that can do things like jam enemy communications and prevent them from detonating roadside bombs remotely, but many others remain top secret and are available only to customers at the highest levels of government.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)