Demand for bullet resistant vehicles increases in SA
One of the sad realities of today’s world is that we are forced to co- exist with several risk factors that affect our safety and security. Hijackings are trending alarmingly upwards and the scourge of the developing economies, kidnappings are becoming ever more frequent. The chances of being attacked as you are parked in your driveway and then forced into your house where your family is subjected to the criminals will have increased markedly, and latest studies show that South Africa is only beaten by Somalia in the kidnapping stakes!
The proliferation of illegal firearms in South Africa has been a major contributing factor in the rise of violent crime. Figures from the Institute of Security Studies indicate that there are four illegal firearms for every legal registered firearm! This coupled with a police force that is unable to guarantee the safety of its citizens has led people to seek alternative means to effectively bolster their personal security.
The need for an increased level of security whilst in a motor vehicle is self evident. Up until now there has not been a widely available solution available to the man in the street.
Enter Armormax SA, a company dedicated to the armoring of motor vehicles utilizing the latest in high tech lightweight opaque and transparent armor. Partnered with world renowned International Armoring Corporation, Armormax specializes in lightweight modular bulletproofing specifically designed for the threat levels currently encountered in South Africa.
Analysis of hijackings in SA show that by far the majority of hijackings are committed with handguns, which in armoring terms are a relatively easy threat to negate.
The solution is a B4 level of Armor. Utilizing the latest in lightweight armoring technology, Armormax is able to armor select makes of luxury vehicles currently available in SA to a B4 level. A B4 level of protection will enable the armored portion of the vehicle to withstand shots fired from a .44 Magnum at point blank range. (A .44 Magnum is one of the most powerful handgun calibers)
The lightweight transparent armor (ballistic glass) fitted to the vehicle is optically indiscernible from the original OEM glass.
The lightweight armor fitted to the vehicle has little effect on the performance and handling of the vehicle. A vehicle armored by Armormax will look the same as the original, with only the discerning few aware of its full potential.
Armor can be installed as an aftermarket product or at the time the vehicle is purchased. A customer can finance the armoring as part of the purchase price of the vehicle.
Grant Anderson GM of Armormax says that interest in the bullet resistant vehicles produced by Armormax has been high. “Although we have only just commenced marketing Armormax, interest levels have been extraordinary. We have completed a number of vehicles and our order book is starting to fill up. I think one of the differentiating factors about Armormax is that we are able to armor a range of luxury vehicles, so our clients are not limited when it comes to vehicle choice. This coupled with a very quick turnaround time and the fact that the vehicle looks no different from the standard model has made the difference”.
Your Own Armoured Vehicle
Words: Carl Marks
Ballistics is the science of the motion of projectiles in flight. When the projectile in question is a bullet, you need to know one thing: Will my car stop it?
That is the question Mark Burton has come to help us sort out. Mark really should have been back in Utah, coaching baseball to little kids with rosy cheeks on this sunny morning. He looks like that kind of guy – sincere, straightforward, and a bean-counter by profession, as he describes himself. But, when this CEO of the International Armoring Corporation sits down in Johannesburg to tell me about his company and the global development of private vehicle armouring, it is as if we step into a different plane of reality. And what a reality it is. Mark’s company is one of the world’s major supplier’s of private armouring – the kind used by the world’s billionaires, stars, and kidnap targets who need to create an invisible and impenetrable shield from a hostile world when they move around.
Governments have long been in this armouring business. For their leaders and for their troops. Harry Trumann was the first US President to put some steel and laminated glass between himself and the adoring (mostly!) public for some official engagements. But when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963 the Secret Service finally got the message. From then on, all presidential vehicles were armored. Ironically, the first official supplier was Hess & Eisenhardt, a manufacturer that had previously specialized in hearses and ambulances.
Since then, the technology of protection has spread around the world and opened up to the private sector. The website dots pinpointing Mark’s company’s presence across the globe looks like the nightlights of Vegas. Now, South Africa has joined this gallery of infamy – a place where the need for personal protection has reached a new scale on par with Columbian or Brazilian kidnappings, Los Angelean street shootings, and the Nigerian combination of bling, political favours, and petro-dollars. In fact, the private sector now services many governments. Mark shares with me that his company has worked on all of the last three Popemobiles, and also supplies the US operations in Iraq.
Armour, of course, is not new to our own country. First, we had the Apartheid Police and those ugly camouflage or yellow Caspirs tearing up the highways to the townships. Then, equally unpleasant to the eye, we have gotten used to cash-in-transit vehicles on our byways. (Is it only me, or are these guys always busy unloading just when I go shopping?) Both these generations come from the school of Gnarly and Robust school of design – looking mean and acting mean. Might work for some inner-city rapper, but not quite what our country’s top captains of industry might have in mind. These designs were the result of the need to stick multiple layers of glass on top of each other and that made it impossible to follow design contours. But it was ugly, ugly, very ugly. And very heavy. Or as the industry refers to them: “Barney Flintstone’s Rubble Armour.” In fact, in South Africa, like elsewhere, the sheer weight of many of these vehicles has made them a bigger security risk. They do not handle well in get-away situations, they break down under the weight, and they might spend more time in the shop getting fixed than protecting their owners.
New technologies are often the result of growing market demand. When daily kidnappings in areas like Mexico City started reaching double-digit figures, and ransom demands skyrocketed in excess of $30mm in one case, impetus was given to the search for new technologies and solutions. And Mark has been at the forefront of this search.
The ArmorMax range of vehicle protection that Mark is introducing to our shores, is on average at least 40%- 60% lighter than anything the market has ever known. And it is absolutely invisible, as the rebated and curved laminated glass fits the design contours perfectly. The specialists will tell you, having invisible armour is one of the first principles of safety. Else, you might as well paint a bull’s eye on your dashboard.
ArmorMax was chosen as the ideal level of protection for the South African market, where curbside highjackings pose the biggest threat. With a lightweight solution aimed at a B4 level of security, every piece of glass on your vehicles is replaced with a bullet-proof layer, and the passenger compartment is cocooned in impenetrable materials. That is, impenetrable to handguns up to a .44 Magnum, one of the most powerful handguns on the market. The laminated glass sounds different when you tap on the outside when on the inside. The outside layers absorb the initial impact and spray back shards that might be lethal to a close-up assailant. The inner layers are flexible and contain the rest of the energy while bending as far as necessary to make sure no impact blasts through to the passenger compartment. On the chassis and doors, old-fashioned steel has been replaced by an amazing material developed to maintain design principles such as the maintenance of performance and appearance. This lightweight, synthetic fibre laminate, made out of polycarbons, looks like a doormat, yet can withstand the impact and penetration of most bullets.
Local agents decided to kick off ArmorMax by stocking up for seven of the most popular models on Johannesburg roads. No, not their Lamborghini’s nor their Porsches. But if you own a Range Rover, a Jeep Cherokee, BMW X5, Volvo XE90, Toyota Landcruiser or a Mercedes ML, S or E class, you can drive in for a ready-fit armour solution that will only take a few days. And when planning the purchase of a new vehicle, speak to Grant Anderson at Armormax, as both finance and insurance options will accommodate your investment in private armour.
Armormax has developed a solution against the major problems faced on the local street. Armor can be installed as an aftermarket solution or at the time when a new vehicle is purchased. If, however, you are very fond of the old Jaguar or Bentley or the likes, with enough time and money, the South African workshop will source you the ArmorMax solution you require. For more information, call Grant Anderson at 011 462 6079.
GLOBAL LEADER IN ARMORING TEAMS UP WITH LEADING SA MOTOR RETAILER
Combined Motor Holdings and International Armoring Corporation have joined forces with the establishment of Armormax, a company dedicated to the armoring of motor vehicles utilizing the latest in high tech lightweight opaque and transparent armor.
IAC, based in Utah in the USA, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of both light armored and fully armored vehicles. With facilities around the world they count the Pope, world leaders, high profile celebrities and businessmen amongst their clients.
Utilizing the latest in lightweight armoring technology, Armormax will be able to armor select makes of luxury vehicles currently available in SA to a B4 level. A B4 level of protection will enable the armored portion of the vehicle to withstand shots fired from a .44 Magnum at point blank range.(A .44 Magnum is one of the most powerful handgun calibers)
“Given South Africa’s high level of violent crime and hijacking, there is a clear need for greater security in South Africa. Our product brings a level of security previously only within reach of the super rich or political elite, to the owners of luxury vehicles so popular in our country.” says Grant Anderson GM of Armormax SA. Analysis of hijackings in SA show that by far the majority of hijackings are committed with handguns, which in armoring terms are a relatively easy threat to negate.
Part of the uniqueness of the Armormax offering is the modular system we employ. After our risk assessment a client may decide that only the front door and window need armoring. Another may need a full armoring solution with all doors and glass being armored.
The lightweight armor fitted to the vehicle has little effect on the performance and handling of the vehicle. A vehicle armored by Armormax will look the same as the original, with only the discerning few aware of its full potential. The lightweight transparent armor (ballistic glass) fitted to the vehicle is optically indiscernible from the original OEM glass.
Armor can be installed as an aftermarket product or at the time the vehicle is purchased. A customer can finance the armoring as part of the purchase price of the vehicle.
For those with a higher security risk a B6 level of armoring is available.
Een van die hartseer realiteite van vandag is dat ons saam met verskeie risikofaktore wat ons veiligheid en sekuriteit affekteer, moet bestaan. Motorkapings word kommerwekkend meer en in ons ontwikkelende ekonomie word ontvoerings al hoe meer algemeen. Die kanse dat jy in jou oprit aangeval sal word en dat jy dan in jou huis ingeforseer sal word waar jou gesin is, word al hoe groter, iets wat bewys is deur onlangse studies. Suid-Afrika is om die waarheid te sê net geklop deur
Somalië wat betref die aantal ontvoerings! Die baie onwettige vuurwapens in Suid-Afrika is ‘n groot bydraende faktor vir die groter aantal geweldadige misdaad. Volgens syfers van die Instituut vir Sekerheidstudies is daar vier keer soveel onwettige as geregistreerde vuurwapens. Dít, gekoppel met ons polisiediens se onvermoë om die veiligheid van landsburgers te waarborg, het mense genoop om alternatiewe maniere te vind om hul persoonlike veiligheid te verseker. Die behoefte aan groter veiligheid in jou motor is vanselfsprekend. Tot op hede was daar nie werklik ‘n opsie vir die man op straat nie. Nou is daar Armormax SA, ‘n maatskappy met die doel om motors te pantser met die nuutste tegnologiese gevorderde liggewig nie-deursigtige en deursigtige pantsering. In vennootskap met International Armoring Corporation, spesialiseer Armormax in liggewig modulêre koeëlwering om die gevaar wat tans in Suid-Afrika bestaan, af te weer. Navorsing toon dat motorkapings uitgevoer word met handgewere wat edelik maklik is om uit te balanseer wanneer dit kom by pantsering.
Die oplossing is ‘n B4-vlak van pantsering. Deur gebruik te maak van liggewig pantseringtegnologie, is Armormax in staat om geselekteerde vervaardigers van luukse voertuie te pantser wat tans in Suid-Afrika beskikbaar is tot ‘n B4-vlak. ‘n B4-vlak sal die gepantserde deel van die voertuig in staat stel om skote wat vanuit ‘n .44 Magnum gevuur word, te weerstaan (‘n Magnum is een van die kragtigste handgewere). Die liggewig en deursigtige pantsering (ballistiese glas) wat op die motor gepas word, is opties onuitkenbaar van die oorspronklike OEM-glas. Dit het ook geen effek op die verrigting van die voertuig nie en ‘n voertuig met Armormax sal dieselfde lyk as die oorspronklike met net ‘n paar wat van die ware potensiaal bewus is. Die panstering kan geïnstalleer word wanneer die motor gekoop word of daarna en ‘n koper kan die koste hiervan laat finansier saam met die finansiering van die motor.
Dis ‘n fraksie van die prys wat groot motorvervaardigers vra vir pantsering. Grant Anderson, Hoofbestuurder van Armormax, sê die belangstelling in panstering is hoog. “Een van die faktore wat Armormax uniek maak is dat dit geïnstalleer kan word op ‘n verskeidenheid luukse motors; so kliënte is nie beperk in hul keuse van motors nie.”
| Car Hijacker explains how it is done - It is well worth reading
"HIJACKING MADE EASY - Repentant Car Hijacker Explains How it is Done"
Q. 1: Are most cars hijacked on order by syndicates?
Answer: Yes, I would get a phone call to deliver a certain type of car by a certain deadline, and then we'd go out and search for one. If they needed it quickly, I would hijack. If I had a bit more time I'd steal a parked car, as it was safer.
Q. 2: Which types of vehicles are the most popular amongst hijackers?
Answer: We would get orders to steal just about anything. Double-cab bakkies, any make, were in very high demand. Also, "G-strings" (BMW 3-series), Polo's, Mercedes and Toyotas. I'd get paid a lot more for a double-cab, around R16 000, but only about R500 to R6 000 for a car. If it was an expensive car like the "Anaconda" (BMW 7-series) I could get about 15 grand, though.
Q. 3: Which cars have the lowest hijack risk?
Answer: There's no such thing. There's a demand for all sorts of cars, ld and new. If the vehicle isn't sold then it ' s stripped for spares. The only thing there isn ' t really an interest in is expensive exotics. I once stole a Ferrari from a garage just for fun, drove it around for a while and then left it back at the garage.
Q. 4: Do most of the cars that aren't stripped end up beyond our
Answer: No, a lot stay in the country. They are given new identities, re-registered and sold here .
Q. 5: How effective are modern anti-theft and tracking systems?
Answer: When I was stealing cars three years ago, most of them were a joke. I could break into almost any car and drive it away within minutes. Some cars were very advanced and a lot of work to steal though, like Volvos. With tracking systems, it was usually very easy to find where the device was hidden. While one guy drove the car, his accomplices would strip the interior looking for the tracker's hiding place. Then sometimes we ' d place the tracking unit into a taxi and trick the police and the helicopters into following the taxi. Nowadays the tracking systems are getting a lot better though, with quicker response times, and towards the end I nearly got caught a couple of times.
Q. 6: How did you learn how to override these high-tech systems?
Answer: Experience, and learning from other car thieves. We all shared information. If I was having difficulty with a particular car, sometimes I'd dress up nicely and go to a dealer posing as a customer. I'd ask the salesman how good the anti-theft system was on that car and he would give me all the details.
Q. 7: What was your hijacking modus operandi?
Answer: We would get people in their driveways, on the way to work or on their way home. Rainy weather is the best time to steal cars. When it's raining it makes it more difficult for the tracking helicopters to find you.
Q. 8: In a hijacking did you normally go for soft targets like women?
Answer: No, I could take on anyone. I was a professional. Some people wore guns but never got a chance to use them as I was too fast. I'd stick my gun right in their faces and they wouldn' t give me any trouble. That's why I never shot or hurt anyone; I was against that. A friend of mine sometimes shot people he hijacked and he used to wake up with nightmares.
Q. 9: Which area s did you target?
Answer: Any white suburb, it didn't matter. I never stole in the townships because people were poor there. I also didn' t rob black people.
Q 10: Is that because you don't like whites?
Answer: No, it's because darkies are dangerous. If you rob them, they go to a sangoma who would "take care" of you.
Q. 11: How much money did you make?
Answer: A lot, but I wasted it all. It was easy come, easy go. Some money would go to police and judges and prison officials in bribes. I got caught a few times but was never convicted. Bribing a police officer to lose a docket cost about R2 000 to R5 000. The only time I spent in jail was awaiting trial. Then I'd bribe the prison guard to help me escape.
Q. 12: Is this the norm, or were you lucky?
Answer: I knew how to find the loopholes and beat the system. Some of my friends were caught and convicted to 8 or 12 years or more.
Q. 13: What made you stop crime?
Answer: I saw I had nothing to show for all those years. I felt guilty for what I'd done and wanted to achieve something in my life. That ' s why I do community work persuading other people not to do crime, and I'm also a fashion designer. I'm struggling with money now. My sewing machine broke and I can't afford to fix it, but I won't go back to crime. That life is a stupid life.
Q. 14: What is your advice to motorists to avoid hijacking?
Answer: Look out for people following you. Some hijackers spot a car they want and follow the person home. Be aware. If you ' re suspicious, make a few false turns and see if that car is still behind you. If it is, drive to a police station