The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
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Dirty Little Secrets
Blackwater Builds a Better Armored Truck
Discussion Board on this DLS topic
by James Dunnigan
April 18, 2007
Blackwater USA, the American security company, is going into the APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) business. It has developed the Grizzly APC, a 14 ton 4x4 armored truck. What makes the Grizzly unique is the great attention to detail. The body of the vehicle is shaped to deflect the effect of roadside bombs and mines. The 22 foot long, 8.5 foot wide and 8.8 foot high vehicle can move along at 100 kilometers an hour, and has a range, on roads, of over 600 kilometers.
The armor can stop 12.7mm machine-gun bullets, the windows can stop 7.62mm high powered rifle bullets. There are five firing ports, two on each side and one to the rear. There are high powered lights, controlled from inside the vehicle, mounted top side. The Grizzly can mount a remote controlled gun turret (up to 12.7mm machine-gun).
The heavy duty, and armored, suspension and engine components, were designed based on experience with armored trucks in Iraq. Inside, two crew and up to eight passengers have power outlets for electronic equipment and blackout lights. There's heavy duty air conditioning and a 200 amp power generator.
Note that there are at least two other armored vehicles called the Grizzly. The U.S. Army has a combat engineer vehicle of that name. There's also a Canadian APC, that has been around for over twenty years. Since there were already two Grizzly armored vehicles, the lawyers may not be called into protest the arrival of a third.
Blackwater will produce about 300 of the vehicles a year, initially. Price was not disclosed, but based on what similar armored trucks go for, you're looking at something like a half a million dollars per vehicle (and probably more than that, especially with optional equipment.) Armored trucks are becoming increasingly popular for NGOs and diplomats working in unstable and violent parts of the world.