The Armored Group
began producing armored vehicles exclusively for the cash in transit (CIT) business, which included such national armored car companies as Brinks, Loomis Fargo, Dunbar and Garda. Within a short period of time, it had established itself as the leading builder of cash in transit vehicles.
The company expanded its efforts in the law enforcement industry with custom SWAT and tactical vehicle manufacturing, in addition to high-end passenger vehicles and private or corporate SUVs. It was doing business in international market when it was awarded a contract to armor Toyota Land Cruisers for the United Nations. The U.N. contract had been earned because of the company’s quality products in the U.S. and international markets. The Armored Group’s series of SWAT armored vehicles
is known as the Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport (BATT) Line, which includes the BATT-S, the BATT-XL and the BATT. These armored rescue vehicles (ARVs) are constructed with insulated bodies (to reduce the ambient temperature and make the vehicle more comfortable), Threat Level III and IV armor, large storage compartments under the rear seats, and standard rear air conditioning and heat. Many options and configurations are available. The floors and ceilings of the company’s entire line of SWAT ARVs are armored. BATT-S
The BATT-S is one of Armored Group’s most popular law enforcement vehicles. It is currently offered in the BATT-S and the BATT-S AP. AP BATT ARVs are armor piercing ballistic protection versions of their sister BATT ARVs. The ballistic steel is AR500 or military spec steel based on vehicle requirements. Ballistic protection is offered in the form of vertical panels, and all windows are armored to defeat multiple hits from such rifle rounds as 7.62mm.
All seams are double wielded, inside and out. Windows are bullet-resistant, glass-clad polycarbonate, with two front door windows, two rear windows, horizontal sidewall windows and two-piece windshields with sun band. The headlights and the area behind the fenders are armored.
BATT-S series ARVs also come with a front ram bumper, push bars and radiator protection. The fuel tank is protected by an armored locking door, armored vertical protection and a skid plate. Armored protection is also added behind the front fenders for ballistic defense of the computer and battery.
The Ford F-550 Super Duty Commercial Chassis (with Ford chassis warranty) is equipped with a 6.8L Triton V-10 gasoline engine, 5-speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive. The V-10 gas engine is standard, while a diesel engine is an option. ARVs in this series are built to transport 12 to 14 officers. A gun port package is configured depending on the needs of the police department. These vehicles are manufactured on demand.
The BATT-XL, with its Freightliner M2 Cab and chassis, diesel engine and longer wheelbase, has many of the same features as its cousins in the BATT-S series. The roof and floor are made of ¼-inch ballistic steel, and its rear deployment doors can lock out at 90 degrees to shield officers standing on the rear step bumper. The doors also come with holdbacks to allow them to be fully open during operations, and the steps on the rear doors allow roof access when the doors are open. The front doors hinge forward and can also lock out at 90 degrees to shield officers riding on heavy-duty running boards on both sides.
This ARV is built with an armored front clip and hood with pneumatic assist rods on hood opening. Its gun port package includes 11 5-inch round gun ports, a rotating roof hatch with a sniper stand, and a flip-forward lid with a gun port. As an armored command center, officers are able to stand in this ARV.
The BATT has a fully integrated armored hood that provides maximum protection in a patrol-size vehicle. It is armored to defeat high power rifle rounds and also has an available protection package to defeat armor piercing rounds. The BATT is fully insulated and engineered to transport 12 to 14 officers in an urban and off-road setting. It has the ability to sustain high speeds while maintaining precision handling. Also available is the BATT AP.
BATTs in Service
The Delray Beach, FL Police Department currently has 148 sworn officers; its SWAT team has 20 members. Delray Beach has 60,000 residents, but on any given weekend and for special events, the number of people in the community can swell to as many as 150,000.
According to Sergeant John Crane-Baker, since purchasing their BATT-S Armored Rescue Vehicle, the SWAT team has used it for all of its search warrants. Most of the time, when suspects see the BATT-S coming, they freeze for a few seconds, giving the SWAT team an advantage; suspects know the team means business when the vehicle arrives.
Before purchasing the vehicle, the team had an old bread truck (UPS-style truck) to serve all of its search warrants. It was not armored and provided no protection for the team. With the increase in violent crimes against the public and officers, they felt that it would only be a matter of time before they needed a vehicle like this.
The features of the BATT-S that they like most include the extended rear deck, which has room for several officers to stand; the insulated body to reduce the hot South Florida weather (it also has a white painted roof); the six run-flat tires so they can go anywhere; and the roof hatch so the team can deploy a cover officer with a long gun from the vehicle. The department added an additional fold-down, 12-inch step to the rear deck so team members did not have to jump down from a high platform.
The team selected flat black as the color for its BATT-S. Several other departments in the area have the standard OD green, but the Delray Beach Police Department wanted its vehicle to blend into the shadows at night, as well as look different from the others.
Community interest in the BATT has been great, and the department has had the truck on display at various events. With the increase in crime in the community, citizens are happy that they have a piece of equipment to keep officers safe.
The Natchitoches Parish, LA Sheriff’s Office has 130 full-time deputies and a multi-agency SWAT team of 12 members. They serve a population of 40,000 residents. The SWAT team’s need for such a vehicle included the growing size of the team and the growing threat of violence in their area. They selected a BATT series armored rescue vehicle because of its price, features and overall design. Theirs is a 2007 F-550 Ford BATT (10- to 12-man).
The features the team appreciates most are its maneuverability, spacious interior and the cargo area under seats. A shroud feature around the BATT ARV roof hatch was added to their package to provide additional protection. The blue vehicle goes with the team’s colors.
Two examples where they employed their BATT were in situations involving a barricaded ex-military officer suffering PTSD, and a barricaded suspect with an arsenal of automatic high-power weapons. According to Assistant Chief Greg Dunn, in the first situation they were in a three-hour standoff before negotiators finally talked the barricaded ex-soldier out of the residence. They used the BATT when they first arrived on the scene to safely get SWAT team members to the porch of the residence. This allowed them to drop a throw phone in order to establish phone contact with the barricaded suspect. The situation ended peacefully without incident.
On the second barricaded suspect with his arsenal of automatic and high-powered weapons, they were in a four-hour standoff before negotiators were able to talk the suspect out. He then attempted to re-enter the residence, forcing members to deploy less-than-lethal bean bag rounds to take him safely into custody. During the standoff, the BATT was used as a command post for the negotiators.
The Armored Group, LLC vehicles are on the federal government’s General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule, and the company offers grant writing assistance.
Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, OH Police Department and a frequent contributor to LAW and ORDER.
Mickey Davis is a California-based journalist.