Trasco’s Armored Defender 110 Reports for Duty
Trasco Bremen has introduced Land Rover Defender 110 SUVs armored to VPAM 4 and 6 levels, featuring lightweight A-Kip armor.
The lower cost, lower weight armor still offers ballistic protection against handguns, while preserving the handling characteristics of the Defender 110.
Trasco Bremen has partnered with Land Rover in offering the A-Kip level armor package for the Defender 110, which includes options like a self-sealing fuel tank and automatic fire suppression for the engine bay.
Even before the new Land Rover Defender was introduced, we knew the next-gen model would receive plenty of attention from coachbuilders and armorers, given the model's traditional use by international organizations and embassies.
The classic Defender, despite being used by many military forces throughout the world, was never easy or inexpensive to armor discretely given the relatively thin pillars, upright windshield, and the geometry of the roof, despite many armored versions having been developed for military use. Classic Defenders converted by armoring specialists for military duty, therefore, were neither subtle nor particularly appealing for on-road use by private owners, even if they were able to shrug off assault rifle rounds.
The new Defender model promised to blend the luxury of modern Land Rovers with the off-road abilities of their predecessors, all while offering plenty of interior space and everyday usability—the perfect set of qualities for most armored vehicle customers.
A few months ago Trasco Bremen, one of the oldest and most trusted names in the business, rolled out a special armor package for the Defender 110 developed to the anti-kidnapping VPAM4 and VPAM6 standards, aimed at traditional private buyers of armored SUVs. This armoring standard combines a medium level of ballistic protection with nearly unnoticeable installation—ideal for higher-risk countries, but less ideal for active war zones.
Trasco Bremen's A-Kip, or anti-kidnapping level of protection, uses lightweight materials to preserve the Defender 110's handling and performance characteristics. This starts with ballistic glass all around, certified to the VPAM 4 or VPAM 6 grades, including composite or steel panels for the model's Alpine windows. The rear cargo section, as is customary in the industry for SUVs, stays stock, with Trasco adding a wall immediately behind the vehicle's rear seats. In addition to ballistic materials integrated into the doors and roof, the underbody is equipped with fragmentation blast protection in the footwell area.
"Discretion is often the best form of defense. A-Kip is inconspicuous by design therefore allowing the vehicle to blend in with normal traffic as the vehicle is virtually indistinguishable from a standard vehicle," Trasco Bremen notes.
The VPAM 4 level of armor offers protection against .357 magnum and .44 magnum rounds—a common anti-kidnapping and anti-vandalism level mostly aimed at threats from handguns. The VPAM 6 level, on the other hand, offers protection from 7.62 x 39mm AK 47 rounds, which are also a common threat in many parts of the world.
For the Defender 110, Trasco also offers optional features for the Defender including a self-sealing fuel tank, an automatic fire suppression system for the engine bay, ECU protection underhood, extended floor protection from DM51 fragmentation grenades, blue strobes, and a siren and intercom system, which allows the driver to converse with people outside without lowering the windows.
The result is a Defender 110 that will look stock to untrained observers, with just about the only tell-tale signs of armoring being the appearance of the glass frames in the windshield and doors. But that's something that tinting can mask to a certain extent.
"A fully heavy armored vehicle may provide the highest level of protection however does come with some disadvantages, a heavy armored vehicle has a substantial weight increase over a standard vehicle and the performance and handling requires a highly skilled and trained driver," the company explains. "A fully heavy armored vehicle can be distinguished from a standard vehicle, thereby attracting potentially unwanted attention, also a fully heavy armored vehicle has a considerably higher price point."
Trasco's A-Kip Defender 110 should be a popular model in high-risk countries, even though it doesn't serve up the company's absolute highest level of armor. But the trade-offs in weight and price for the VPAM 4 and VPAM 6 levels make this a popular choice for first-time armored SUV buyers. But it's not meant for international organizations working in active conflict zones, as those vehicles typically require a higher level of armor.
Of course, there are quite a few levels above VPAM 6, and they contemplate heavier ammunition from other types of assault rifles. A number of armorers including Trasco offer VPAM levels 7 through 9, with VPAM 9 corresponding to the better-known B7 level with a minimum of 14.5-mm thick steel. Trasco offers that level as well, including in the Range Rover.
Pricing for the A-Kip Defender 110 depends on the level of armor specified, as well as optional extras, but it's best to budget the equivalent of a couple of standard Defenders when it comes to ordering one.
Should automakers like Land Rover or Mercedes-Benz offer armored versions of their vehicles through dealerships in the US, as they do in many other markets? Let us know in the comments below.