President Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential motorcade came into focus recently after an unidentified man threw himself in front of the Toyota Landcruiser the president was riding in.
Breakdown of cars in Uhuru's presidential convoy and role each one plays [Explainer]
Functions of cars that make up the presidential motorcade
In this article, Pulse Live breaks down the Presidential Escort convoy and the functions of some of the most crucial components of the motorcades formation. The information was obtained from security experts and a case study of various instances of the head of state's travels. Kenya also relies heavily of the formation of the US president's motorcade.
According to security experts, the number of cars and structures are dependent on President Kenyatta’s itinerary and level of the risk.
Before embarking on the road, the team has to strategize on which routes to take and analyze their choke points, shortcuts and details such as the sun’s position because direct rays can make it harder to spot threats.
Which cars make up the presidential motorcade?
As much as the travel arrangements are meant to keep President Kenyatta safe, the presidential motorcade is almost a tradition.
It is also a traveling show orchestrated to be a symbol of sorts for Kenyans to admire.
Everyone involved in the making of this motorcade is supposed to be the best at what they do.
1. Route Car & Pilot Car
This car is usually minutes ahead of the presidential convoy and is supposed to recce the route to be used and provides insights about the road to the rest of the team.
In most cases the car is a Mercedes Benz which bears a red banner of its front grille written “President’s Escort".
If there are potholes or crowds along the road the officers in the car communicate this to the motorcade in order to prepare any reaction in good time.
For long travels, the route car the very first one and is minutes ahead while the pilot car is the next vehicle that follows.
Sweepers are police motorcycles which follow behind and this team may also comprise officers in cars. The outriders travel in a diamond formation and clear the way so that the motorcade’s speed remains consistent.
Imagine a situation where the head of state is sipping some water and it spills over. That would mean the speed is not consistent and the driver is driving aggressively.
The flashing lights and occasional sirens are meant to keep the road clear so that the whole motorcade can remain at a consistent speed.
3. Lead Car
The lead car is usually the brain of the operation. Many times the leader of the president’s escort team rides in this car.
In some circumstances the lead car can be beside the president’s vehicle while another car also covers the other side.
4. President’s Vehicle
This is the car which carries the president. In most cases President Kenyatta rides in a Toyota L200, Mercedes Benz S class, or Mercedes Limousine depending on the occasion.
The cars are armoured and specially designed to keep bullets and explosives away.
Once the motorcade starts moving, the first rule is do not stop. Drivers are allowed to drive quickly but the experience has to be smooth.
5. Back-up Officers
The cars that follow have additional security officers some who are in uniform while others wear civilian clothes.
As was witnessed during the recent security breach, officers who rushed to respond to the man who blocked the motorcade jumped out of the Toyota Landcruisers which followed Uhuru’s car.
They are basically the President's first line of backup should something occur while en route
6. Electronic Countermeasures Vehicle
This vehicle has long vertical aerials and domes which are used to jam communications and remote detonating devices.
7. Control Vehicle & Support Vehicles
The vehicles carry high-value staff, such as members of the President's cabinet who may be accompanying him and their security detail, as well as additional security personnel such as military commanders.
The motorcade also includes an amoury containing weapons, an ambulance and a vehicle for the communications unit.
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