The leader of the free world is getting some new wheels.
The Secret Service is proceeding with development of a new presidential limousine to replace the Cadillac model currently used by President Barack Obama, according to a new General Services Administration contract posting. The new vehicle is expected to be ready for the inauguration of the next president—whomever she or he may be.
Classified armor development for the new rolling Oval Office has been underway since last year. The government is now seeking bidders to integrate that armor into a new design for "The Beast," as the heavily-protected vehicle is popularly known, with options for the final construction stages. Details of the new design, like the old, are highly classified and contractors must meet strict security requirements just to get a peek at what they will be asked to build.
The current model was introduced in 2009 for Obama's inaugural parade, partially replacing a 2005 Cadillac DTS model introduced at President George W. Bush's second inauguration. The older model is occasionally used to transport the president, as well as visiting heads of state.
The Beast is designed with withstand an array of conventional and unconventional attacks, with heavy, foot-wide, and airtight doors, and packed with communications gear to keep the commander in chief safe and connected to the rest of the government. They are essentially custom-designed off of truck chassis, with just a handful of off-the-shelf cosmetic parts.
A spokesman for the Secret Service did not comment on the need for the new model.
-with reporting from Mark Thompson in Washington