President Uhuru’s new armoured car is an RCV Survivor One, manufactured in Austria by the company Franz Achleitner Fahrzeugbau und Reiffenzentrum. The monster, which caused a stir at the Madaraka Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday, is described in military terms as a reconnaissance and command vehicle.

Other aggressive-looking armoured luxury SUVs in the same league include the Conquest Knight, made in Canada, and priced at US$600,000 (KSh54.7 million).

The vehicle was purchased in late March or early April for the Presidential Guard, comprising an elite squad of the General Service Unit’s crack Recce Company. It was first publicly sighted at the Sagana State Lodge during the schools’ music festival presentation ceremony, traditionally a presidential event.

The RCV Survivor and a brand-new armoured ceremonial Toyota Land Cruiser that retired the independence-era ceremonial Land Rover 109, caused a social media storm during and after the June 1 celebrations.

Unlike the old ceremonial Land Rover, with its waist-high railing on both sides at the back, comprising an elevated parade review and salute platform from which the VIP also waves at crowds, the Land Cruiser’s review platform has a high body surrounded by bullet-proof glass. It has self-inflating tyres that can carry the vehicle considerable distances even when punctured.

The RCV Survivor and Land Cruiser are the latest additions to the Presidential Motorcade, which consists of two lookalike limousines, both of them armoured Mercedes Benz Pullman S600s, and a fleet of smaller Mercedes and BMW limousines used by his security that precede and flank the President’s stretch limousines on the road.

The green Land Cruiser, which has the legend C-in-C (for Commander-in-Chief) instead of license plates, is the property of the Kenya Defence Forces, whose head is the President. The Land Rover 109s also bore the same plates.

The RCV Survivor is a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a 286 horsepower engine and weighs 8 tons, but can carry 2.5 tons and is approximately 2.2 metres in height. It is 5.4 metres long and 2.6 metres wide, with a 3,200mm wheelbase. It has a 110 kilometres-per-hour cruising speed but can go faster, depending on the condition of the road, for up to 900km non-stop. It can be submerged in water up to 1.2 metres. The vehicle can withstand the blast force of a 50-kilogramme explosive device.

It comes in different models for different purposes, including Communication, Reconnaissance, Border Patrol, Command, Ambulance and VIP vehicles. It is full-time-four-wheel-drive, with differential locks on front and rear axle. The vehicle has an intercom and radio for communication with other vehicles in the presidential convoy and has observation equipment and an antenna.

It features a highly-protected crew cabin made of special armoured steel and composite materials that provide maximum ballistic protection against IEDs, mine splinters and small arms.

In case of emergency, the President can be evacuated from the scene in the vehicle, which comes with air-conditioning and very comfortable seats and can be used on rough terrains with high safety records and dependability.

Minority Leader in Parliament Francis Nyenze yesterday said that President Uhuru’s arrival at Nyayo Stadium in the newly-fortified motorcade on Madaraka Day was a clear indication that the security situation in the country “is bad”. “Typical African largesse,” was a comment left on the Star website by a reader who goes by the name kenya4kenyans.

  • the-star.co.ke

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