Vertical Markets

Volvo armoured vehicles

by Mark Rowe

Volvo is bringing out armoured cars, starting with the launch of the XC90 Armoured.

The car-maker points to a growing global market for armoured vehicles, and a large number are made with various protection ratings. Volvo Cars says that it has received numerous requests over recent few years to develop an armoured XC90. Volvo has built police cars, fire engines and diverse vehicles with special requirements in terms of function, driveability and safety. In fact, the first Volvo police car was delivered in 1929.

Stephan Green, Marketing Director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles, says: “We are proud to be able to offer these armoured cars. With our armoured cars, we can provide vehicles with a high level of personal security for individuals who require heightened protection.

“The XC90 Armoured (heavy) with VR8 [rating indicating what a complete car is able to withstand] protection rating (VPAM BRV 2009/ERV 2010) enables us to offer a car that provides a high level of protection while retaining the car’s fundamental properties. Potential customers include security services who would use the car to transport high-profile individuals.”

Work to develop a car with a VPAM VR8 protection rating began just over two years ago. A certified VPAM VR8 rating means the car has 360-degree ballistic resistance as well as explosive resistance. The armoured car is built on the Inscription version of the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD, as made at the Torslanda plant in Sweden. From Torslanda, the car is sent to TRASCO Bremen GmbH in Germany, a company which has specialised for years in building vehicles with high protection ratings.

“Production is classified, with stringent procedures and oversight in place in order to attain the stipulated ballistic requirements,” says Green.

The steel armour is 10 millimetres thick, while the thickness of the glass can be up to 50 millimetres. The armour adds about 1,400 kilograms to the XC90, which brings the total weight of the car up to 4,490kg (including five occupants). To cope with the increased weight, the car is fitted with uprated suspension and new brakes.

Green adds: “Production is carried out with extreme diligence, which is imperative in order to fulfil the exceptionally high requirements placed on this class of security product. We strive to ensure that the car retains its properties despite the extensive armouring. The armour is fitted discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90. Every customer also has their own unique requirements, which we satisfy by means of customised production.”

The Volvo XC90 Armoured (heavy) is available to order; the first customer deliveries will be made at the end of 2019.

Volvo Cars is also developing another version of the armoured car (light), built on the XC60 T6 AWD Inscription or XC90 T6 AWD Inscription. Those users could be individuals or companies requiring a car with a higher level of protection due to a geographical risk or a heightened personal threat. A market for these types of protective vehicles also exists among security services, the police, the diplomatic corps and private individuals.

The cars are intended for Latin America and Europe. After construction, they are retrofitted in Brazil, where there is demand for these types of cars as well as experience of building them.

The cars will undergo a battery of ballistic tests to ensure the required protection rating is fulfilled. They primarily provide protection against handguns.

The weight of the car is increased by around 250 kilograms, which is compensated for by upgrading the brakes and suspension. Sales of these cars are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2020.

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