President Joe Biden's fortress on wheels: Meet 'The Beast'

The Beast's earned its nickname thanks to its robust security features. Credit: AP

US President Joe Biden has kick-started his Ireland visit today, commencing a four-day visit.

Mr Biden has met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for bilateral talks and he will visit County Louth - where his great-grandfather James Finnegan was born - among other items on his agenda.

Although it has yet to be seen, 'The Beast' presidential car could be used to shuttle Mr Biden around during his visit to the Emerald Isle.

US presidents are protected by some of the most stringent security details in the world, and when they hit the road, the Beast takes centre-stage. Here, we take a look at what this incredible car has to offer.

What are the origins of The Beast?

The present-day iteration of the 'The Beast' appeared back in 2001, during President George W. Bush's inauguration.

The state car's fortress-like security qualities quickly inspired the moniker, which would persist through later models - and presidents.

Bush's car was an entirely ground-up built model, incorporating many of the functions seen in its replacements over the years since.

Over time, The Beast has evolved and changed to include more high-tech features, but all presidents since George W. Bush have used a version of it.

President Donald Trump made a notable appearance in 'The Beast' when it was taken for a spin around the famed Daytona 500 racing circuit.

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What car is Joe Biden driven around in?

The current model is made by General Motors (GM) in the United States and debuted in 2018.

Though many of the details about The Beast's security details are scarce, it is believed to be based on one of GM's larger trucks, albeit equipped with features similar to those found on the Cadillac Escalade SUV.

The Beast is thought to weigh up to nine tonnes and be able to seat up to seven people.

The Beast is made by General Motors. Credit: AP

A panic room on wheels

The Beast has been designed to deliver the best possible protection for the president.

It boasts 13cm-thick laminated glass windows, run-flat tyres with a solid core to ensure that they can still roll when punctured and 20cm thick military-grade armour for the panels.

Cadillac One is also known as 'The Beast' Credit: PA Graphics

To provide additional protection, the fuel tank is bullet and blastproof, while emergency equipment includes firefighting gear, oxygen tanks and containers of blood in the president's type.

The Beast can be turned into a sealed panic room with oxygen tanks, night-vision camera and reinforced steel plating said to be able to resist bullets, chemical attacks and bombs.

A pump-action shotgun and tear gas cannon is also kept towards the front of the vehicle to provide a host of attacking capabilities.

The Beast is rolled out for important presidential visits and was deployed in the UK last September, when Biden visited for the late Queen's state funeral.

He also used the vehicle during his first visit to the UK last June after being voted into the Oval Office.

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