I got deviated in the middle of my previous post. Anyway getting back to the point, I was waiting at the bus stop for more than 20 minutes, but I couldn’t spot a bus. I can see all other vehicles passing by, but not a sign of bus. It didn’t take much time for me to realize that it was for the president’s escort. Within few minutes, all the vehicles stopped. I was so excited and I was waiting to see the president. More than that I wanted to see how the escort will be. I know that it will be good. They don’t have to care about the fuel prices or anything like that. C’mon folks, he is the first citizen of our country and if he is given such a royal treatment, we can be proud of it. I was more excited to see His convoy and vehicle. I was eagerly waiting to see His custom-built, heavily armored limousine Mercedes Benz S600 (W221) Pullman Guard and he would be escorted by his convoy.
|Mercedes Benz S class|
I hate waiting, but I can wait to see the president. In India, we don’t get much excited about the president like the Americans; Prime Minister may increase one’s eagerness more than that of president. But since president is the first citizen, his convoy and vehicle might be even better than that of Prime Minister’s. I waited eagerly for 15 minutes, halfhearted for 10 minutes and apathetic for 5 minutes. Finally few Maruti Gypsys and Tata Sumos passed by. Then came a couple of Ambassador with red siren. They were followed by custom built bikes with red and blue sirens. The sight was so amazing. Three rows of bikes with three bikes in every row. It was followed by a couple of Gypsys and then went a Mercedes vehicle. Then came a couple of Gypsys and then went a Honda CRV. Yup, President of ROI was inside it. I actually wanted to look at his convoys and his car. His car wasn’t there, but his convoy was quite
But why was he going in his CRV. Where was his Mercedes Benz S600. Maybe that is used only in and around Delhi. It is quite impossible to take his car to everywhere he goes in India. Or he might have used it as decoy. The time was about 1700 hours and His wagon was travelling towards west, so the sun lit the car and I was able to get a view of inside of the vehicle and also our President. Well, he may never come to my village and it is just luck to see him while I was in Bangalore.
Since we were speaking about the convoy and vehicles, I want to say something more about it.
The President of India, travels in a black Mercedes Benz S600 (W221) Pullman Guard. It is a custom-built, heavily armored limousine which meets the requirements of the highest protection class VR6/VR7. The armor is designed to protect against military rifle shots and also offers resistance against fragments from hand grenades and explosives. The president's motorcade also consists of the former presidential car, a black Mercedes-Benz W140 armoured limousine, which is now being used as a spare vehicle.
The Chief Justice of India travel in black Mercedes Benz S600 (W221) high security and bullet proof car and one acting as decoy Vehicle. These are escorted by the SPG in five armoured black BMW X5 (E70).
The Prime Minister uses two black, B7-level armoured 2009 BMW 7 Series High Security saloons, with one acting as a decoy vehicle. These are escorted by the SPG in five armoured black BMW X5s and multiple Tata Safaris which are a permanent part of the Prime Minister's convoy.
The President, the Chief justice of India, the Vice-president and the prime minister's convoy comprise 20-25 cars within the city of New Delhi but when they have to move outside the city, the convoy's size increases to 170-200.
Earlier, Hindustan Motors' Ambassador was used as the official state car for all purposes. It was highly-armored and modified considerably for the use by the President, The Chief Justice of India, Vice-President, Governor, the Prime Minister, and Justice of High Court and Supreme Court.
I want to mention few more things about the President’s Limo. It is a custom built luxurious stretch limousine. The doors are hydraulic and once it is locked, the sound cannot enter the car from outside. Even the president’s cabin and driver’s cabin are separated by sound proof glasses. The Entertainment system will be of high tech, but I guess the President won’t be listening to Metal or Rap. He might tune in to current news topics or he may do some video conferencing.
It is definitely an eye candy, but it is not just that. Its safety features meets the requirements of the highest protection class VR6/VR7. It is ballistic resistant and it can withstand grenades.
The Harmon-Kardon Logic 7 stereo sound system has 14 speakers, in-dash CD changer and hard drive based GPS satellite navigation system. Inside, there is fiber-optic ambient lighting for footwells and other areas. The leather cushioned seats have heating and active ventilation system. While the seats will be warmed in winter, there are small fans to keep the seats cool in summer and prevent perspiration in long journeys. The limousine is also equipped with Tele Aid that uses GPS tracking and cell phone service to provide assistance. An automatic call is made for help if any of the eight dual-stage air bags or seat belt tensioners gets deployed. "The Pullman is absolutely plush and state of the art. There is great attention to detail on everything that goes into the vehicle," a Mercedes Benz source said.
The spacious passenger cabin has two rows of seats facing each other that will allow the President to hold face-to-face meetings. There is a refrigerator integrated in between the rear seats so that everyone can sip into something cool while discussing a burning issue.
"The protection systems in the vehicle is in line with weapon technologies. The car is tested for protection against AK 47, M 67 US hand grenade, 3 X DM hand grenade and parcel bombs," the source said, adding that the windshields and windows have 60 mm polycarbonate coating glass and acts as a splinter shield. The 90-litre fuel tank is self-sealing and there is an automatic fire extinguisher system on board, just in case. Also, there is an emergency fresh air system that filters the air and pumps it back into the cabin.
The Michellin Pax 'bullet-proof' tyres can continue to drive for 30 km at 80km/hr with total loss of air pressure. The car also has a panic alarm system that can be triggered from any seat. Once activated, all doors are automatically locked. The President or his staff can, without opening the windows or doors, speak to people around the car by an integrated communication system with interior and exterior microphones. The car also has a rear surveillance camera that provides the entire field of view, alerting the limousine driver in case of an ambush from behind.
|Mercedes Benz S class|
The vehicle's armory and the bevy of equipment factory-fitted equipment make it very heavy. Hence, it is powered by a brute of a V12 bi-turbo engine. If the chauffeur floors the accelerator after turning on the ignition, it can hit 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds flat.
All this doesn't come cheap. The current cost of black limo that serves as the official transport of the nation's first citizen is a whopping Rs 12 crore, a far cry from the bullet-proof white Amby that costs less that Rs 10 lakh.