In what can sometimes feel like an increasingly volatile world, when military, police, VIPs and leaders from across the globe are looking to ensure their safety, they come to Dubai-based company Inkas Vehicles. Led by Uzbek chief executive Ulugbekhon ­Maksumov, Inkas has provided armoured vehicles for clients from the United Nations to the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, who took office earlier this year.

Inkas Vehicles, owned by Maksumov, was set up in the UAE in 2010 as a collaboration with Canadian company Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing, following the success of its first venture in the region, Gulf Auto Trading. The two parted ways in 2012, and Inkas Vehicles is now a separate entity.

Its Dubai facility is a 110,000-square-foot assembly plant where the company puts together its military-grade armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and armoured versions of more-recognisable cars, such as hardened Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs and Mercedes-Maybachs, plus special commissions including police riot vans and cash-transporting security vehicles. In a nearby factory, they have laser-cutting equipment that can slice through ballistic steel and another that takes care of glass. These machines were used to create a dual display in the headquarters building, an industrial-style cut-out of the company’s logo alongside a pane of its bulletproof glass that withstood six shots from an M84 rifle at a range of 15 metres.

“We can divide by civilian and military,” Maksumov says of Inkas’s customer base.

“Before it was 70 per cent for civilian, 30 per cent for military. Now it’s changed, it’s 70 per cent the military stuff and 30 per cent for civilian, like VIPs, embassies, presidents. Just recently, we delivered 52 vehicles to the new president of Ghana.  

“For him [the president of Ghana], we did a Maybach S600, with B7 level [the highest level] of protection, which can halt armour-piercing bullets.” His guards, meanwhile, were supplied with Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series, Lexus [LX] 570s and a couple of Toyota Tundras with special bumpers that can remove anything on the road.

The Inkas service for such vehicles is a customisable process.

“We do everything from scratch,” Maksumov says.

“We will advise them when they say: ‘We want maximum protection for the president’. So we will tell them these are the specs you need and you can choose from four Mercedes. Not Mercedes S500, for example – you need to have the S600, because it’s a bigger engine, 12-cylinder, stronger.”  

Inkas’s most visually impressive models, however, are its APCs, led by the Titan range – hulking great military-focused beasts based on chassis of such rugged vehicles as the Ford F-550 Super Duty, Dodge Ram and Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series, and built to withstand the rigours of war. One of the vehicles was used in a UN peace mission in Egypt last year.

A short test drive within the Inkas assembly-plant walls is a potent demonstration of their potential, with the top three Titan’s 6.7L engines pushing out 330hp and propelling them with unexpectedly rapid acceleration. For such massive, weighty units, the handling is surprisingly nimble.

As you might expect, such sturdy buys aren’t at the budget end of the market – the bill can easily stretch to seven-figure sums per vehicle.

Prices start from US$100,000 [Dh367,300] up to $1 million, all included, Maksumov says. “APCs, of course, you cannot get for $100,000. And it depends on the specs – many optional [pieces of] equipment you can add. If you ask me to add a bomb detector, for example, to your vehicle it will cost you $250,000. If you ask me to provide a special camera, which can see in the rain, in the snow, for five or six miles, it’s an additional $200,000 – so it’s already [almost] $500,000 just for two things.

Inkas can produce up to 120 vehicles per month.

“But again it’s variable, because we need to see when the client comes and says: ‘I need 100 APCs.’ Yes, we can build them 100, but for the different vehicles, different specs, and for the individual vehicle, you must choose the right suspension and right tyres. And each country has different requirements.

“We cannot keep, for example, 100 units of suspension stock of Horstmann, which is made in England – military-spec suspension that is high-end and very expensive. But easily for civilian vehicles, 120 vehicles, we can do it. We have it all here, and don’t need to order anything from outside.”

Maksumov’s personal driving pleasures largely revolve around cars of various vintage made by defunct Soviet-conceived car company Volga.

“I have 19 cars – all of them are my favourite.

“The Volgas: one is from 1958, other one is 1989, the newer ones 2007 and 2012. They are out of production, these four models, so I brought them from Russia.” 



Chaos erupting in the streets, buildings going up in flames, cars burning black smoke filling the lungs of frightened people running in all directions some of which are fighting each other all from a bomb exploding in front of a grocery store, another bomb explodes 2 blocks away in a trash receptacle on a busy sidewalk, few blocks to the east another explosion from a baby stroller in front of a busy restaurant, gun fire erupts as people fall breathless and bloody death has taken hold the innocent have become the very destruction of their own city.

This is the scenario of today’s war zone the complete collapse of what was once a thriving prosperous stable city falling one by one until the entire country is in complete chaos insurgency has now taken control setting the country back 50 years a desolate mass of land with hopeless people that have given up on hope.

This occurs every year never publicized in the media never put into the spotlight all because the government spent its defense funds on tough looking military vehicles MRAP’s, Tanks, fighter jets, Heavy armored personnel carriers all purchased to replace the same equipment that is only a few years old and that has sat in a large motor pool only used to carry out exercises, but now sitting in a grave yard of rusting equipment that would have been better used and under a budget-conscious maintenance program.

Relevant equipment to keep a neighboring country from invading relevant equipment to assist an ally but it does not assist the local police departments, swat teams, security details, border patrol and national defense in doing their jobs of maintaining peace or confronting and stopping a potential insurgent from striking fear into the people all because the equipment they use is falling apart, cannot blend into the traffic to allow highly trained personnel to slip into the urban environment to stop the insurgent,  equipment that barley runs because replacement parts are unavailable.

As the dynamics of war changed the powers-that-be, allowed the most important entities that are tasked with maintaining stability slip into inoperable conditions but this is not a permanent situation it can easily and cost effectively be turned around.

Let’s break it down.

Police Departments:

Patrol vehicles typically sedans used on city streets must be fast and maneuverable and well lit up to warn traffic light armored glass to protect against hand guns, Kevlar lined doors to protect the policeman in case of gun fire confrontation.

Emergency task force typically SUV’s deal with high risk situations like hostage taking, emotionally disturbed persons, high risk arrests, warrant service and protection details. These vehicles should be light armored or at a minimum have ballistic glass to protect from high caliber ammunitions.

Riot control vehicles used by policemilitary, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest people who are involved in a riotdemonstration, or protest typically this vehicle is based on large truck chassis such as F550 these vehicles should be armored to protect against large caliber ammunitions.

Swat team (Special Weapons and Tactics) is a term for law enforcement units which use specialized or military equipment and tactics typically this vehicle is based on large truck chassis such as F550 these vehicles should be armored to protect against large caliber ammunitions.

Security Details:

Security company’s vehicles need to provide security and protection to Celebrities, government and political officials, the secret service and the military use armored vehicles to ensure their own safety these vehicles need to be heavily armored. Sedans, SUV’s and APC’s are used in this category.


Cash-in-Transit vehicles to transfer banknotescoinscredit cards and items of value from one location to another. The locations include cash centers and bank branches, ATM points, large retailers and other premises holding large amounts of cash such as ticket vending machines and parking meters the vehicles are typically armored Vans and armored APC type vehicles built on large truck chassis such as the F550 and need to be protected against Military type ammunitions and Blasts.


Military armored vehicles range from CAV (Civilian armored vehicles), MRAP (Mine resistant armored personnel carriers), Logistical trucks armored, Tanks to amphibious vehicles all designed to take on major confrontation.

Armored vehicles are used in many situations and designed to protect the occupants inside them but all too often it’s only the armor and ballistic glass that is paid attention to and this is where the mistake happens.

When you take any vehicle and modify it with ballistic steel and ballistic glass you have added 2000 / 3000 pounds directly onto the chassis of this vehicle now the chassis, drive train and engine can handle this weight very nicely but what about the tires, rims, brakes and anti-sway bars?

Adding protective steel, protective glass, upgraded suspension and run flat inserts is not in any manner a vehicle that will perform, stop properly, turn correctly and will not last very long. Yes it might just stop the incoming attack but what good is that if you are sitting on the side of the road because of flat tires or unable to do evasive maneuvers and how many innocent people will you kill because you could not stop properly? Has any of these scenarios crossed your mind?

What makes a proper armored vehicle be it CAV (civilian armored vehicle) or APC (armored personnel carrier) below is what every end user should be requiring in their protective vehicles and yes they all have a cost but let’s think for  moment you are willing to pay anywhere from $85,000 to $300,000 for a vehicle that is meant to save your life or others’ lives but will scream through the roof if you have to pay for the very items that make your protective vehicle perform as it should in any given situation? I just cannot understand that mind set.

  1. Certified ballistic steel that meets the requirement of the threat you may face.
  2. Ballistic glass (transparent armor) that meets the requirement of the threat you may face.
  3. Suspension that supports the weight of the armor.
  4. Progressive Bump stops this product is essential to assisting the suspension to slow the transfer of weight from side to side this weight transfer is what causes over 20% of CAV to roll over.
  5. Run flat inserts from a reputable company this product gives you the ability to drive away from an attack with flat tires to get to a safer location.
  6. Brake system upgrade this is not just changing rotors to grooved rotors and adding aftermarket brake pads that is not an upgrade and will not make this heavy vehicle stop quickly. An upgrade is utilizing a system such as ALCON phase 2 or Stop tech brake systems they include 4 specialized rotors designed to stop heavy weight, 4 over sized rotors designed to give 95% more surface for brake pads to grip, 8 heavy duty brake pads, and 4 steel braided lines all of which equal stopping power for an armored vehicle.
  7. Anti-roll bars this item is nearly always over looked and its function is crucial to the suspension most non-armored vehicles have a beefy front sway bar but a smaller rear sway bar and it is the rear sway bar that needs to be changed this will prevent the suspension from taking all the weight transfer by themselves thus extending the life of your suspension.
  8. Tires the most over looked aspect of every CAV the tires of non-armored vehicles are designed for the non-armored vehicle not an extra 2000 / 3000 pounds thus flat tires and uncontrollability occur when used on CAV’s basically you put your own life at risk because you wanted to save a couple thousand dollars. Depending on the level of armoring E-Rated tires must be used either a 10-ply tire or a 12-ply tire.
  9. Rims another major mistake made by armor vehicle manufactures and end user’s the rims on the non-armored vehicles is designed for 800 kg per rim and when placed under extreme weight of armor it is only a matter of time before the split and leave to stranded with the target squarely on you. Rims should be replaced with a heavy-duty rim certified to 1600kg per rim.

You can take this advice and extend the life of your armored vehicle and give yourself a better chance of surviving an attack after all isn’t that why you use an armored vehicle? Or, ignore this advice and save yourself a couple thousand dollars and take your chances.