Secrets of “The Beast”, The Most Strongest Vehicle on Earth | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Secrets of “The Beast”, The Most Strongest Vehicle on Earth

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President Biden sitting in the back seat (Photo by Hiroto Kato)

Nicknamed “THE BEAST” = “The Strongest Beast on Earth”

On Sunday, May 22, as many Japanese people gathered at Yokota Air Base for the “Japan-U.S. Friendship Festival 2022” held for the first time in three years, President Joe Biden, who was visiting Japan for the first time as the 46th President of the United States, used the “Cadillac One,” the U.S. Presidential Car, for transportation within Japan (mainly within Tokyo). 

This U.S. presidential car is also called “THE BEAST”. It was named by the Presidential Secret Service, which manages the presidential vehicles, after 2001, when the vehicles became heavily armored vehicles during the presidency of George W. Bush.

This car is said to be the strongest on earth. When the president travels around the U.S. or around the world, it is placed on a transport plane and travels with him. Air Force One arrives several hours or days before the president’s arrival, and is on standby at the local airport to receive him so that he can be transported immediately.

In the U.S., the vehicle used by the president for transportation is generally called “___ One”. For example, the aircraft is called “Air Force One,” the Marine Corps helicopter that carried the President from Yokota Air Base to the U.S. military facility in Tokyo is called “Marine One,” and the General Motors (GM) Cadillac-based special vehicle is called “Cadillac One”.

The official name on the GM side is “Cadillac Presidential Limousine,” but in fact, the only thing it has in common with the Cadillac sold to the general public is its face and emblem, and its chassis is based on a GM truck frame, making it a completely different animal.


Debuting in September 2018 at a cost of over $1.7 billion.

The current Beast has a contract with GM to be built new at a cost of more than 1.7 billion yen. Around 10 Beasts with the same specifications are being built in total, and two of them usually move with the president. These two cars are exactly the same specifications, for camouflage so that it is not instantly obvious which one the President is riding in.

The Beast’s windows are bulletproof, with five layers of glass, the thickest of which is approximately 13 cm thick, making it an extremely thick piece of glass (or is it more like a block of glass?). Because of this, it is naturally impossible to open and close the windows, and only the driver’s window can be opened about 3 inches (7.6 cm).

The doors are also covered with various kinds of armor, with an average thickness of more than 20 cm. The weight is surprisingly equivalent to that of a Boeing 757 jet, which is often used for government aircraft.

As a result, the Beast’s vehicle weight is approximately 9 tons! This is three to four times the weight of a similar limousine, or the equivalent of eight to nine compact cars. Hence, its top speed is around 100 km/h, fuel consumption is no more than 2-3 km/L, and it takes more than 15 seconds to go from 0-100 km/h.

President Trump waving from the Beast at the time of his visit to Japan in 2019 (Photo by Hiroto Kato)

The Beast is “bomb-proof,” meaning it can withstand rocket attacks.

The Beast is also equipped with the “most powerful equipment on earth,” as far as we know.

If someone illegally enters the Beast, touching the door handle will result in an electric shock or tear gas attack.

The Beast is also equipped with a full emergency medical system in the event of an accident or attack. The president’s own blood is stored in the vehicle’s refrigerator for transfusion.

In the event of a biological or chemical attack, the air inside the vehicle is completely sealed off from the outside world and filled with clean, safe air through a special ventilation system.

The body reinforced with bulletproof glass and armor is said to be capable of withstanding a “carry-on rocket-propelled grenade” attack.

The fuel tanks of the vehicles, which are vulnerable to attack, are completely sealed with foam seals to prevent them from exploding in the event of a gun attack.

Goodyear tires are run-flat tires made of Kevlar fiber. Even if the tires are blown off by an attack, the vehicle can run on the wheels alone.

The underbody is designed to be bomb-proof and protected from hand grenades and IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

The rear of the vehicle is equipped with a smoke screen to avoid attack from pursuers.

The presidential seat is equipped with a satellite phone that connects to the vice president and the Pentagon (U.S. Department of Defense).

The vehicle is unprecedented in its level of armoring for a top government official. It is far more heavily armored than President Putin’s Aurus Senat, President Xi Jinping’s Red Flag N501, and, of course, Prime Minister Kishida’s Toyota Century.

The Beast, which recently visited Japan with President Biden, made its debut in September 2018 during the Trump presidency, its first visit to Japan with President Trump in May 2019, and its third visit to Japan in three years, having also visited Japan during the G20 in Osaka in June of the same year. The author had seen the Beast in the vicinity of the Palace Hotel Tokyo three years ago, and there were no major changes in appearance from that time.

However, tensions are rising due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Beast must have been further updated to become the most powerful on earth.

While other countries use the U.S. license plate number as it is, in Japan, the Beast travels with a blue number issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The last time President Trump visited Japan, the front and rear license plates were exactly the same. This time, with President Biden, the two cars wore different license plates (Photo by Hiroto Kato).
  • Interview and text by Kumiko Kato

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