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AddArmor’s Executive Protection Escalade

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Photos by Mark Saint

Hidden Agenda: The Peter Gunn Theme Comes to Mind when You Delve Into What's Lurking Beneath the Surface of AddArmor's Executive Protection Escalade

Many of you might remember a 1980s arcade game called Spy Hunter, in which you’d use a machine-gun-equipped sports car to take out enemy vehicles that’d shoot at you, try to spike your tires, or run you off the road. Your car would also rendezvous with a semi truck that’d upgrade your weapons with smoke screens, oil slicks, and missiles to thwart and destroy the other vehicles. Although much of this was a mishmash of stuff seen in James Bond movies and Knight Rider, it certainly made that coin-dispensing kid pine away over owning a vehicle with these capabilities one day.

Not only has AddArmor provided an answer to that fantasy, they’ve redefined the term “armored vehicle” into “mobile safe room.” As mentioned in the “What if Your Vehicle is Attacked by an Angry Mob?” article in Issue 27 of our sister publication, RECOIL OFFGRID, your car may be the only thing protecting you from grave injury or death from active shootings/bombings, car-jackings, smash-and-grabs, and blockades. From the outside it looks like a mildly modified Escalade, but there’s actually much more going on than the unsuspecting eye might catch … and that’s the idea.

The vehicle's more opulent appointments include a raised roof for more headroom, fridge, custom-made heating and A/C, a 4k high-def TV system with surround sound, a bar, and reclining heated/cooled seats with massage settings.

First a little background on the company. AddArmor President Jeff Engen had always been intrigued by the luxury armored vehicle segment. With his background in law enforcement, he paired up with former Delta Force commander Pete Blaber, who serves as CEO. They decided to develop the best armor they could and apply that technology to any vehicle. The Escalade ESV fit the criteria of not only being one of the best luxury vehicles out there, but also having a chassis large enough to keep it from feeling cramped with the addition of other amenities and armor. “We wanted to make it as luxurious as we possibly could, kind of like the interior of a private jet, and at the same time, add armor to it so a dignitary, actor who might be concerned about stalkers, or any high net-worth people could feel totally safe,” Engen says.

Unlike most armored vehicles that are designed with more of a defensive mindset, you could say that AddArmor has also given the owner offensive capabilities. “If you’ve spent any time in armored cars, they tell you never to open the doors, so you can’t fight back. I was hearing stories of areas where they’d box in armored cars and pour in gasoline to burn out the occupants. One reason why most of our armored cars have gun ports is that, if someone blocks you in, you have the option to return fire with standard or less-lethal munitions,” Engen says. The gun ports are hidden so it's not obvious to the outside threat.

Optional pepper spray dispensers, barrier-busting bumpers, and electrified door handles are also just some of the other options to protect passengers. A loud speaker/siren/sound cannon provides a way to disperse crowds through non-lethal means. Although restricted to government agencies, tear gas canister dispensers can be added as well. You might be thinking that gas dispensers could also compromise anyone riding inside. Although this isn’t a concern with liquid pepper spray, an overpressure system and gas masks can also be installed to help protect passengers against any deliberate or inadvertent gas exposure directed at the vehicle. Sniffing units that detect explosive gas from mines detonated in its proximity is another feature owners can add.

AddArmor’s namesake comes from their armoring options, which can run from NIJ-level B4 to B7 ballistic protection. The armor technology is a proprietary composite that, according to AddAmor, is 10 times stronger than steel, 60-percent lighter, and tested by an independent laboratory. All body panels are armored, as well as the glass, floors, and engine compartment. To give you an idea, the B6 armor on the vehicle seen here adds approximately an additional 1,250 pounds of weight. The suspension is reinforced with heavy-duty springs, shocks, sway bars, and larger brakes. You can even request a supercharger be installed. A dual-battery system allows for auxiliary power, or both can be run tandem.

The glass is multilayered lead/polycarbonate offered with the same choice of protection levels as the exterior.

“The most memorable experience with the vehicle was shooting it with a Daniel Defense MK18 5.56 rifle. We have an extensive testing process, and the only way to really know how the vehicle will stand up in an attack is to attack it with live weapons. After shooting the glass several times with the 5.56, we shot it eight more times with a .45 caliber Colt. There was no penetration. You can see the video at,” Engen says.

Optional communications systems consist of Iridium sat phones for coverage anywhere in the world as well as a secondary system using a satellite beacon mounted in the car. When activated via a switch in the car or an app on your cell phone, it goes to a command center staffed by former intelligence officers, first responders, and military veterans to display your location and prompt a response to a designated cell number, which (if preauthorized) activates your camera phone to get a voice imprint and visual to assess the situation.

There you have it. State-of-the-art security, comfort, and offensive capabilities all in one package. Cost for an Escalade like this hovers around $300,000, and build time is approximately nine months. You can purchase the vehicle directly from AddArmor or bring in your own to have modified. They also offer Sprinter vans as part of their fleet and even recently armored a 200-mph Audi RS 7. And yes, they do other vehicles if you’d like to indulge your need for preferential treatment. Whether it’s your VW bug, Land Rover, plane, or helicopter, you can kit it out with ballistic protection and other accouterments … and yes, a smoke screen is one of them.

Make: Cadillac
Model: Escalade ESV
Drivetrain: 6.2L V-8 with 8-speed transmission
– Sound cannon with PA
– Run-flat tires
– Hidden gun ports
– 360-degree night vision camera system with cameras in front, sides, and rear
– Red/blue police lights
– Outside microphones for enhanced listening
– Electric shock handles
– Airtight seals and DM71 explosive/landmine protection
– Bomb blankets
– Pepper spray dispenser activated via toggle switch
– CS tear gas canisters launched via a switch in the cockpit (available for government agencies only)
– Military-grade anti-jamming satellite communication system
– Multi-gas detection system (with gas masks for passengers)
– Biometric gun racks
– Interior lock boxes
– Blinding high-intensity aircraft-grade lights installed in the bumpers
– Smoke screen
– 24/7 global satellite 911 system connected via satellite (and doesn’t need a cell phone signal to work). It also comes with an app for your cell phone that works everywhere in the world.
– Signal/cell phone jammer to protect against remotely activated detonations (available for government agencies only)
– “Barrier busting” bumpers
– Partition between passengers and front cockpit

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