January 23, 2005
The US government said that it had given a Mexican company a contract to "up armor" vehicles for service with diplomatic personnel and contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq. The initial contract provides for armor upgrades to five SUV type vehicles. The Abate company will add armor that protects the vehicles from grenades (launched by grenade launchers), AK-47 bullets, and some land mines. Abate has a "7 level armor system" and the US vehicles will be armored to "level 6." Eventually, Abate hopes to supply the US government with 30 armored kits a month. Abate has provided "up armored" civilian vehicles to many Mexican clients. The Mexican clients are worried about attack from potential kidnappers. Armed robbers in Mexico have acquired automatic weapons (usually from drug gangs) and in the past the thugs have used nine-millimeter submachine guns and assault rifles in attacks on luxury vehicles.