Ford Wants to Be Your War Zone Companion

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Sure, most (if not all) cop cars offer protection from boring ol’ pistols and AR-15s. But if you’re looking to drive into a hail of armor-piercing .30-caliber rifle or machine gun fire, Ford’s got your back.

The company announced yesterday that its Police Interceptor vehicles will now offer the highest level of ballistic protection among pursuit-rated vehicles.

Ford says the plates inserted inside the doors of its pursuit vehicles will meet the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) National Institute of Justice standard Type IV. The move is a bonus for police officers and delivers bragging rights to Ford, given that pursuit vehicles from other automakers only meet Type III specifications. Poseurs.

It’s also a move that could boost exports to other countries.

The fact that we design our Police Interceptors around officer feedback is what has made them number one,” said Arie Groeneveld, chief engineer for Ford Police Interceptors, in a statement. “Officers globally told us they needed protection from armor piercing ammunition and we added increased ballistic protection to an already great product…”

Police departments can’t outfit their vehicles like the ones seen in the last 10 minutes of any A-Team episode, so the armor has to be discreetly hidden away inside the body. It can be a tight fit, meaning the use of modern materials is key.

The protective panels in the Ford Police Interceptors are made of ceramic and a Kevlar-type material but still add significant weight to the vehicle’s doors, requiring Ford to test-slam them 100,000 times to ensure the hinges could handle the added stress.

According to the feds, achieving Type IV ballistic protection means a panel has to be able to stop an armor-piercing, 166-grain 7.62 mm NATO round.

A Type III designation implies protection from small arms fire up to and including a non-armor-piercing 7.62 mm round, which is why it’s common to see officers using their opened doors as cover from potential gunfire. As a side note, that particular cartridge has more ballistic oomph than those used in the AR-15 and AK-47, meaning Type III armor ain’t all that bad.

It’s hard to not see Ford’s announcement as a critique of American culture, but there’s a bright side to it all. Having Fords with Iowa-class armor means smaller police departments won’t have to crowdfund a military-grade armored car.

[Source: USA Today, Associated Press]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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