March 27, 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.