Here's how much Wealthy Kenyans are spending to armour their top-of-the-range vehicles

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It has been noted that Kenyans, especially the movers and shakers of the economy are on high demand for armored vehicles.

Armored Vehicles in Kenya
This has been spotted by dealers in armoured vehicles such as Nabeel Joz. Though the security situation in the country has not deteriorated to the point that would require everyone to drive an armoured vehicle, the cars are a necessity in parts of the country prone to gun attacks.

Because of the failure to provide the citizens with sufficient and reliable security, those who can afford it are investing in their own security systems.

Armouring is done in different levels. There is the B4 level, which mainly protects against small arms with bullet velocities of 440 metres per second (m/s) and impact energy of 1,510 joules. The B6 level can shield occupants from AK47 attacks or other artillery with bullet speeds of 830m/s and impact energy of 3,270 joules. This is the most recommended type of armour for high-profile figures.

Then there is the B7, recommended for presidential vehicles. This level of armouring shields occupants from attacks using powerful weapons with impact energy of 3,290 joules and bullet velocities of 820m/s.

Armouring depends on the level of protection and security of the car owners. The appropriate vehicles are those with engine capacities exceeding 3,000cc and the process of armouring a vehicle takes four to five weeks.

Kenyans are spending up to Sh10 million or more. Joz discloses that armouring a car for B4 level may cost around $55,000 (Sh4.8 million); B6 armouring costs about $65,000 (Sh5.7 million), while B7 armouring costs in excess of $100,000 (Sh8.9 million).

Armouring a vehicle’s body is largely done using steel or titanium, which are hard metals. But it is bulletproof glass that is interesting.

Basically, bullet resistant glass is made by layering a polycarbonate between ordinary glass panes. The polycarbonate is transparent but tough and will absorb the force of a bullet. Such glasses have varying thickness that determines the ability to stop a bullet.

One-way bullet-resistant glass is a version of bulletproof glass whose outer side will stop a bullet, but the inner side allows bullets pass through without hindrance. These types of glasses allow protected individuals from the other side of the glass to fire back at assailants. The glasses are made by laminating a brittle sheet with flexible material.

Advanced technology will soon make it possible to have liquid armour, which besides providing ballistic protection, will also enhance mobility for soldiers in war zones. This kind of armouring is made from ‘shear-thickening’ fluid that particles lock, forming a solid barrier when disturbed.

Apart from the armouring levels, the process cost is also determined by additional features that may be required. Standard features include complete ballistic protection of the car’s body, including floor, roof, as well as having bullet-resistant glass on all windows.

Others include battery and fuel tank protection, run-flat system on all wheels and upgraded suspension to cope with the additional weight that normally is about a tonne. The manufacturer says the additional weight has little impact on fuel consumption, vehicle’s manoeuvrability and speed. The run-flat tyres can sustain the vehicle at high speeds for about 80 kilometres from the scene of an attack.
Armored Vehicles in Kenya
Before such vehicles are imported, the Criminal Investigations Department officers and foreign affairs ministry vet the process and keep track on such vehicles.

In some countries, armoured vehicles have been used to rob banks and people. No such case has been documented in Kenya, though the notorious trio of the mid 1990s; Bernard Matheri alias ‘Rasta’, Anthony Kanagi (Wacucu) and Gerald Munyeria (Wanugu) had access to bulletproof clothes at a time when such material was not even available to regular police officers.

“We have many orders from Kenya awaiting approval by government agencies. We understand the state has to be vigilant to ensure these vehicles do not fall in the wrong hands,” Joz

Kenyans can only purchase the vehicles through pre-ordering and the armouring is done after the security apparatus and government agencies have sanctioned import of the vehicles.
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