Ensuring SWAT’s Safety


A law enforcement agency located in Northeast Tennessee recently procured a new unmarked cargo van to covertly transport its SWAT Team members into potentially volatile situations.

Prior to acquiring the new van, the team’s only options were to utilize multiple un-armored SUVs or make use of a 40+ year old surplus armored bank transport truck when required to approach hostile settings. Both of those options were far from ideal.

To solve this problem, the department raised the funds to purchase a Ford Transit 350HD with plans to up-armor it and configure it to meet their needs. The 350HD’s dual rear axle, 148" overall length, and significant powertrain offer capability for hauling several passengers or substantial cargo. Upon delivery, the vehicle was outfitted with an additional layer of protection. Multiple panels of Strongwell’s UL 752-rated 1/2" HS Armor were fabricated, coated with an elastomeric polyurethane material, and installed along the van’s interior, along with bench-style seating with built-in storage. The end result blends perfectly with the existing style of the van while offering significant ballistic protection for the vehicle’s occupants.

Product: SWAT Van Ballistic Armoring
Process: Pultrusion
Materials & Sizes: 1/2" thick HS Armor
For & USER: a Northeast Tennessee law enforcement agency

The department understood that adding ballistic protection and seating would lead to a potentially significant weight increase to the vehicle’s factory 10,500 lbs. gross vehicle weight (GVW). However, fully outfitting the van with 1/2" HS Armor composite ballistic panels only increased the vehicle’s GVW by roughly 10%. This minimal weight increase was critical, considering the van may be at times loaded with up to twenty fully outfitted SWAT Team members.

The entire department was impressed by the installation. They noted the material was easy to handle and fabricate, and the end result is perfectly suited for their end use. Additionally, they noted how maneuverable and nimble the van feels for its size and ballistic armoring.

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