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Monday, September 03, 2012

Security vulnerability in presidential car

President of India gets to travel in heavily protected Mercedes Benz - S 600 Guard Pullman. The 12 crore limo has several security features such as
  • Ability to run 30kms (@80kmph) with total loss of air pressure in typres
  • Ability to withstand bullet fires, grenades
  • Self sealing fuel tanks etc.
It certainly looks like a safe vehicle to be in. But it seems to have a vulnerability, which could be life threatening in wrong situations.
Its engine, a v12 bi turbo needs oxygen to run. So what? that is normal for any cars- you may ask

I was watching the below video- it is about a major tunnel fire which happened in 1999 in the world’s longest Mont Blanc tunnel which connects France and Italy. In this incident, a Volvo truck catches fire in the middle of the tunnel and soon, smoke engulfs entire tunnel, killing 38 people who were blinded by the smoke and poisonous cyanide gas. These people who died were in various vehicles behind the truck that caught fire. Many of them tried escaping by trying to turn their cars around and go back, but their engines died, as there was no oxygen left inside the tunnel.

What I mean is this: If your vehicle is stuck in a tunnel (or any other confined space) and if there’s fire/smoke, your engine is likely to stall due to lack of oxygen. Irrespective of it’s a Tata Nano or 12 crore Merc Limousine, all vehicles are susceptible to this.

Can president's vehicle survive such a situation?

For ordinary people this is very low probability. But for presidential car, this can be potential threat. What if someone smokes the car and makes its engine stall? Security agencies and the maker of the car, Mercedes Benz should quickly look into this and ensure that car driver can switch to an internal supply of oxygen in such situations.

Another school of thought is this:
Even american president's car doesn't have this feature. After all how many calamities can one prepare for? Can presidential car fly or float in case of a landslide or flash flood? With such risks being remote, should we really make an issue out of it?

I do not intend to spread fear, but just sharing my concern. To be alive we need to be lucky all the time. To be successful, terrorists need to be lucky just once. Because of this, even remote possibilities should be taken seriously and fixed immediately.
Prevention is better than cure.

Image from indiatvnews.com

Also read: Surviving skills from movies * Surviving elephant attacks

4 comments :

Mahindra Quanto Price said...

The presidential cars are so much tough that even they can face a bomb attack,a fire attack or any kind of chemical attack.

Anu Menon said...

Ahem... i have to comment here... Indian Presidents are puppets and most of them have lived a long secure life... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_India as compared to the prime ministers 3 of whom were assassinated.

Anu Menon said...

So basically i think its a huge waste of money

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Anu, that's a good view :)