Being a president, or any head of state, has its perks. Aside from leading a country, one enjoys great trappings of power, having your own security, and also getting to have your own private cars & airplane. The best part of all is that, it would be paid for by the State for official out of town businesses. Here are some of the world’s most expensive cars & airplanes used by heads of states all over the world.
Official Car-Cadillac One
This state car is used by the President of the United States of America. This custom-built heavily armored limousine is often referred to as Cadillac One. “The Beast” is its other nickname.
The beast has its own airplane. The Secret Service makes use of a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to haul The Beast, a second limo and a heavily armored Chevrolet Suburban communications vehicle, any time the President is traveling. The Suburban is nicknamed Roadrunner and it is said to be a rolling communications office directly linked to a military satellite – hence the SATCOM dome festooned to its roof.
There is probably not a better-armored vehicle with windows on the planet than The Beast. Its armor plating is said to be 8 inches thick and its doors weigh as much as those on a Boeing 757 aircraft. Five-inch thick bulletproof windows contain at least five layers to put a damper on any effort by subversives. And those gigantic, nearly bus-size Goodyear tires are Kevlar-reinforced run-flats capable of keeping The Beast on the road for quite some distance if needed. The interior is sealed off from the outside world to reduce risks of a chemical attack, while a special foam surrounds the fuel tank to insulate it in the event of an impact.
The Beast is also exceedingly well-equipped, with everything from firefighting equipment and oxygen tanks to a cache of the president’s blood type. There are tear gas canisters, shotguns and, supposedly, grenade launchers, integrated into The Beast.
However, not everything about it is impressive. Burdened with lugging a rumored 20,000 lbs. worth of Beast around, the diesel engine isn’t a rocket. Hitting 60 mph from a complete stop takes about 15 seconds, which is more than just about any new car we can think of, and the big car’s top speed is said to max out at 60 mph. In addition, all that weight makes it a guzzler, sipping fuel at a rate of 8 mpg.
The United States’ Air Force One is one of the world’s most popular presidential aircraft in the world. However, the tech specifications go beyond its famous name, as there’s a beast hidden under the famous blue and white exterior. The Boeing VC-25 alone costs $325 million, and there are only two units built specially for the Air Force One. It includes “The White House”, which is at the front of the aircraft. It includes an executive suite with sleeping quarters, a lavatory, a shower, couches that can be made into beds, and a double sink. It is nicknamed “The Oval Office aboard Air Force One” Costing £116,000 per hour to keep the ultimate in presidential privileges in the air, the plane’s interior resembles a luxury – if predominantly beige − hotel, boasting 87 phones, 19 TVs and a gym, among other facilities.
Though the details of the plane’s defense capabilities are shrouded in secrecy, Air Force One is a military aircraft with the ability to function as a de facto bunker in the event of a nuclear attack and releases flares capable diverting heat-seeking airborne missiles should the plane ever come under attack while flying. The plane also has a special electronic defense system that can jam enemy radar. The plane is also equipped with an escape capsule to allow the president to escape when the craft is exposed to extreme conditions. The president remains encapsulated and protected until such time as the external environment is suitable for direct exposure or the capsule reaches the ground. The plane is also at times escorted by jet fighters when the president is traveling outside the United States.
The four engine plane has the capability to cruise almost at supersonic speed, reaching speeds of over 600 miles per hour. It can also be refueled inflight eliminating the need to land.
The Air Force plans to procure the Boeing 747-8 to be the next version of Air Force One as the VC-25As have become less cost-effective to operate.
The US president has another plane christened ‘dooms day plane.’ actually four of them. But the US government does not talk openly about its doomsday planes. The doomsday plane is like a mirror to Air Force One — a great big flying working office for the president and his or her staff.
But while Air Force One is your everyday, garden variety kind of presidential flying office, the doomsday plane is built and equipped to keep the US government running in the event of a nuclear war or other disaster. It can withstand nuclear blasts and asteroids, can stay in the air for days without refueling and has the capacity to run the country or even a global war, the President’s ‘doomsday’ plane is a steal at just over $220million. In fact, the doomsday plane can remain aloft for a week with mid air-refueling. The only reason it can’t fly longer is because the engine can only be lubricated on the ground.
The doomsday plane, a converted 747, was commissioned by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s in the dying days of the Cold War when tensions were exceptionally high and the fear of nuclear war felt genuine and frightening. It was last airborne in a crisis during the 911 terror attacks. Referred to as the “National Airborne Operations Center” when it’s called into action, it can reach speeds up to 620 miles per hour, 40 miles per hour faster than their commercial counterparts. But if you think the US State officials feel invisible with all this level of security think again. Few recall how former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and crew had to scamper for safety after being attacked by a swarm of bees in Malawi.
Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States. Marine one is the most technologically advanced helicopter available. It’a fully armored with a bathroom, executive suite, and galley. With a dual-engine it can travel 600 miles before refueling with speed as high as 180 miles an hour, reaching a height of 14,400 ft. Dual engine ensures that the president remains safe in case one fail. It also has vibration and sound dampeners, energy absorbant landing gear as well as crash resistant fuel tank. It also has amphibious capabilities i.e. able to rest and take off from both land and water.
Currently they US navy is developing a more advanced helicopter, which are due in 2023, that can carry 14 passengers, be able to carry several thousand pounds of baggage and gear, and have a greater range. The helicopter’s defensive capabilities will include a radar jamming and deception system to ward off anti-aircraft missiles, and hardening of key electronics against nuclear electromagnetic pulse. It also was to include an encrypted telecommunications system and videoconferencing complete with command and control capabilities.
The US president has a number of egregiously expensive air transport options—such as the MV-22 Osprey—to choose from. The only problem with the MV-22 is that he’s not actually allowed to ride in it since it’s not safe enough. Osprey measures 54 feet long with a 45-foot wingspan. On each wingtip sits an 38-foot diameter, 3-blade composite rotor attached to a rotating nacelle that can swivel up to 90 degrees. A pair of 6,150 HP Rolls-Royce Allison turboshafts provide the thrust. This allows the powered lift aircraft to take off and land like a conventional helicopter when the nacelles are vertical, then convert into a more fuel-efficient turboprop plane once it’s in the air by rotating the nacelles forward. It can also perform a hybrid rolling takeoff with the rotors at a 45-degree angle.
The ceremonial state car of the President of Brazil is a 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, reserved exclusively for Independence Day commemorations, state visits and the presidential inauguration. The current official state car used by the president for regular transportation is a 2011-model armored version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The main aircraft for the Brazilian president is a modified Airbus A319. The Airbus alone costs around $81 million. It has the code VC-1A, and is officially named as the Santos-Dumont.
The plane is divided into three parts. The first one is solely for the president, including an office, a meeting room, a security room and the security suite. The second has 20 seats for VIPs, and the third has seats for other passengers, such as media people or journalists.
The plane has simple interiors, with wooden tables and leather seats. It also has an enclosed shower, marble lavatories, and a fully-functioning office where the Brazilian president can confidentially converse with his advisors, whether they are with him on board or they are on land.
The President and First Lady of Mexico both possess a fleet of 15 to 30 armoured Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade managed by the Estado Mayor Presidencial.
As of 31 August 2011, the air fleet of the President of Mexico had a total of 18 aircraft. In 2012, the Mexican government announced the acquisition through a 15-year lease of a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which will be operated by the Mexican air force, will the most expensive plane in the world, at a price tag of 7.5 billion pesos or about six hundred million dollars.
The Dreamliner is state-of-the-art, and stock full of luxuries such as the cleanest air filtration system, a presidential office, and accommodations for guests and journalists with capacity for a total of 250 passengers. Rooms are reportedly equivalent to the best five star hotels, a characteristic that most presidential planes cannot boast, even when compared to the most developed nations.
If we put the future Mexican executive plane side by side with the U.S.’s Air Force One, there is little comparison. The Dreamliner can travel close to ten thousand miles without refueling versus the Air Force One that must refuel at around the 8,000 mile mark. The Dreamliner is more expensive than the Air Force One, which was purchased in 1990 at a cost of 250 million dollars (even adjusting for inflation), it is still less than the new Dreamliner.
The Dreamliner will feature larger windows and automatic curtains, in addition to the five star quality private rooms. The plane is said to have the security level of a bunker, but not much else is known.
The Canadian monarch and Governor General of Canada are driven in a Lincoln Town Car or a Lincoln MKS bearing the flag of either office on the right hand fender. The sovereign’s car bears a licence plate showing a gold St. Edward’s Crown on a red field, while the governor general’s car bears a plate with the crest of the Royal Arms of Canada (similar to the Flag of the Governor General of Canada) or standard auto plates of the province of Ontario with flags of the governor general on the front hood. The governor general also has a Cadillac DTS stretch limousine at his/her disposal.
The CC-150 Polaris is used to transport high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, the Governor General and members of the Royal Family across Canada and around the world. The CC-150 Polaris (Airbus A-310) is a multi-purpose, twin-engine, long-range jet aircraft that can be converted for passenger, freight or medical transport and air-to-air refueling (or any combination of these configurations). The Polaris can reach a speed of up to 1029 km/h carrying a load of up to 32,000 kilograms.
On the other extreme end, Uruguay president has defied to follow the precedent set by leaders world over. President Jose Mujica has forsworn a state palace in favor of a farmhouse, donates the vast bulk of his salary to social projects, flies economy class and drives an old Volkswagen Beetle. Asked how he feels when referred to as the poorest president in the world he said, “I’m not the poorest president. The poorest is the one who needs a lot to live,” In fact, he declined an Arab sheik $1 million offer for his sky blue 1987 Beetle.
The president is a former member of the Tupamaros guerrilla group, which was notorious in the early 1970s for bank robberies, kidnappings and distributing stolen food and money among the poor. He was shot by police six times and spent 14 years in a military prison, much of it in dungeon-like conditions.
Since becoming leader of Uruguay in 2010, however, he has won plaudits worldwide for living within his means, decrying excessive consumption and pushing ahead with policies on same-sex marriage, abortion and cannabis legalisation that have reaffirmed Uruguay as the most socially liberal country in Latin America. The humble president even queues as he waits for his turn in public hospitals.
The President of Russia is usually seen in an armored Mercedes S-Class stretched limousine. The limousine is bulletproof, has solid rubber tires, and carries an array of communications equipment. On state visits, it is airlifted to the destination using an Il-76.
As Russia is the largest country on Earth by land area, distances within Russia can be very long, and air travel is frequently needed for the President to travel across the country as well as internationally.
The main presidential aircraft is the four-engined, long-range, widebody Ilyushin Il-96-300PU, a highly modified Il-96, with the two last letters standing for “Command Point” in Russian. The Russian presidential aircraft is perhaps not the most expensive, but it certainly is not cheap, as well. The Ilyushin IL-96-300 aircraft itself is priced at $40 million, at least. However, this amount still excludes the amount of the interior fittings for the luxurious aircraft. It is highly-customized, with state-of-the-art communications systems, safety features and luxurious interiors.
Official Car- Mercedes Benz S600 (W221) Pullman Guard
This state car is used by the President of India. This black car is a heavily armored custom-built stretch limousine. It meets the requirements of the highest protection class VR6/VR7.
Air India One (AIC001) is the call-sign of any aircraft with the Prime Minister of India, President of India or the Vice President of India on board. Since 2003, four Boeing 747-437B, equipped with jamming equipment, anti-missile systems and air-to-air refueling facility, have been used as Air India One. The aircraft are operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF)
Official Car-Hongqi Limousine
Chinese leaders have been using Hongqi limousines for years. The HQE is powered by an independently researched and developed aluminum V12 cylinder engine of Chinese design with a displacement of 6.0 liters.
Air transportation for the President, Premier or government officials of China is managed and operated by the 34th division of People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Eight Boeing 737-300s and two 737-700s are used for these missions.
Official Car-Toyota Century Royal
The Emperor and the Empress of Japan use Toyota Century Royal, a one-off $500,000 custom car. This bulletproof car is 20 feet (6.2 meter) long and 6.5 feet (2 meters) wide, with extra amenities such as bulletproofing and a granite entryway.
The Prime Minister of Japan travels in a Lexus LS 600h L, the official transport for the head of government, or an unmodified Toyota Century escorted by a police motorcade of numerous Toyota Celsiors.
Japan maintains two Boeing 747-400 aircraft mostly for the Prime Minister, the Emperor, Empress and other members of the Imperial Family, operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The aircraft were constructed at the Boeing factory at the same time as the U.S. Air Force One VC-25s, though the U.S. aircraft were built to the 747-200 design, while the Japanese aircraft were built to the more contemporary 747-400 design. The 747s will be replaced by new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in fiscal year 2019.
Being the King and the Head of State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, current King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may have inherited his predecessor’s Boeing 747. The former King Fahd purchased the $228 million Boeing 747 jet for his personal use. The said aircraft was reported to have a fountain equipped on board, as well as around $150 million worth of interior fittings.
However, Saudi Arabia is known to have luxurious aircrafts fit for princes and kings. In 2007, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, for his own use. Customized fittings cost around $200 million, making this grand ‘flying palace’ aircraft’s cost to over $520 million dollars.
The interior fittings include a parking space for his Rolls Royce, a concert hall with a grand piano, a marble-tiled steam room, five master bedrooms with king-sized beds, private bathrooms and showers, 20 smaller private rooms, and even a private elevator, which connects the master bedroom to the tarmac.
Royal Family Car– Bentley State Limousine
The members of the British royal family have used bespoke limousines for years. On state occasions, Queen Elizabeth II usually travels in one of the two armored Bentley state limousines. Exclusive features of the this maroon car include the transparent passenger rooftop, special monocoque chassis construction, special internal cabin height allowing the queen to stand upright while exiting the vehicle, and also the hind doors which open at an angle of 90 degrees, which makes it easier for Her Majesty to face the crowds directly without hindrance, and not to forget, the one and only model to be created.
Prime Minister’s Car – Jaguar XJ Sentinel
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom uses one of a fleet of armored Jaguar XJ Sentinel models, escorted by Range Rover or Land Rover Discovery vehicles and police motorcade outriders.
The UK is the only G20 nation not to have a dedicated long range Head of State/Government aircraft like France’s A330 or Germany’s two A340s. Chartering airliners (typically British Airways or Virgin Atlantic) and use of scheduled commercial services is commonly practiced owing to the lack of passenger capacity and a lack of transcontinental capability in the RAF’s VIP aircraft fleet.
Air transport for the British monarch, other members of Royal Family, the Prime Minister and other ministers of the British Government is currently provided by No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF); chartered civilian aircraft, and scheduled commercial flights.
Official Car-Lancia Thesis
The current President of Italy uses two identical armored Lancia Thesis, with a third unarmored car kept as backup. A Lancia Thesis Stola S85 limousine and three Maserati Quattroporte are used to serve visiting heads of state.
Italy uses three Airbus Corporate Jets for use of the head of state, and the two others for other government officials. One of them is specifically designed for the Prime Minister or the President. Such jets cost around $200 to $220 million.
Official car-Mercedes-Benz S600L
German presidents, chancellors and senior politicians have used Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars for years. The current Chancellor of Germany uses an armored Mercedes-Benz S600L.
Germany uses two Airbus A340-313X VIP aircraft, previously of Germany’s Lufthansa, redesigned by Lufthansa Technik in a VIP configuration, including sleeping rooms and an anti-missile system. The airplanes are named after Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of (West) Germany, and Theodor Heuss, its first President. It is capable of flying 13,500 km (8,400 mi) non-stop, with the capability of transporting 143 passengers.
The President of France can choose between several armoured versions of high-end French cars including the Citroën C6, Renault Vel Satis and Peugeot 607. These are traditionally provided by the manufacturers and different Presidents will have their own preference.
The Airbus A330-200 is a longer-range variant of the Airbus. The aircraft itself is priced at $200.8 million. In 2010, the French government acquired the aircraft for around $240 million, which includes the refitting of the plane to ensure the French president’s safety and comfort.
The plane has been converted to a conference room, with around 60 VIP seats. It also has a presidential suite, complete with a shower. Likewise, his traveling party would be able to surf the Internet at 10,000 meters above. It also has a missile decoy system, and an encrypted communications system to allow private communication between the president and his advisors.
Kenya – Mercedes-Benz Pullman S600
The President of the Republic of Kenya uses an armored Mercedes-Benz Pullman S600. This state car has the Kenyan coat of arms instead of the regular license plate. He also has a large fleet of vehicles including an armoured BMW 7 series, armoured Range Rover Vogue, armoured Toyota Landcruiser, RCV Survivor One (a reconnaissance and command vehicle), and several other Mercedes-Benz’s at his disposal.
Kenya’s president has a Fokker 70 for use as the presidential jet.
Fokker executive plane was purchased at a cost of $50 million. The 70-seater jet was reconfigured into a 28-seater, with three suites, bathroom and kitchen. It is equipped with the latest telecommunication facilities. Christened Harambee One, the Forker has a cruising speed of 845km/h.
Official Car-Mercedes 600 Pullman
The King of Morocco uses Mercedes 600 Pullman while traveling in Morocco. The royal fleet also includes Mercedes-Benz S500, Range Rover Models and various Lexus models.
The King of Morocco knows vividly what it means to fly luxuriously. He flies in a super-luxurious Boeing 747 which costs about $450 million. The plane has two decks – the main deck and the upper deck. The main deck has meeting rooms, a private cinema hall and a spacious play area. The upper deck has pool tables and five private sleeping berths. This is probably the best Presidential jet in Africa.
The President of South Africa is driven in an armored BMW 7 Series or on occasion a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The presidential motorcade is composed of numerous BMW X5, Jeep Grand Cherokee, BMW 3 series and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class models, followed by a number of Mercedes-Benz V-Class and police cars.
The President of South Africa travels in a Boeing 737 (BBJ) operated by the South African Air Force’s 21 Squadron, which is based at AFB Waterkloof near Pretoria; the executive capital, i.e. the seat of the executive branch of the South African government. The airforce is currently said to be buying a customised Boeing 777 plane seats 300 people at cost $150m to buy and an additional $80m to be adapted to their specifications.
The President of Nigeria and other high profile government officials use a black armored Mercedes Benz S-Class 2012 adorned with the Nigerian flag and official party flag. Other luxury cars, like the BMW 730Ld and the Range Rover, all armoured, are used. The President travels in a motorcade of 30 cars and ten escort motorcycles, along with police cars and 6 Mercedes S-550 of SSS surrounding the presidents car
The Nigerian Air Force currently maintains a Boeing Business Jet (737) as a means of transport for the President of Nigeria. The plane is also known as “Eagle One” and is marked NAF-001. The national colors of the Nigerian Flag (Green, White, Green), are painted in long horizontal stripes along the base of the white fuselage, the words “NIGERIAN AIR FORCE” are tagged on the top, and the Seal of the President of Nigeria is embossed on the tail.
The current vehicle is a black armored variant of the 2013 Mercedes Benz S-Class with a special black number plate with the presidential crest above an Arabic 1. It is also said that he personally drives a special version of an armored 2013 Mercedes Benz S-Class, specially tailored to suit his needs.
Egypt president’s official plane is an ultra long-haul Airbus A340 which offers unmatched operational flexibility on non-stop flights over remote areas e.g oceans and mountain ranges. The super plane includes state-of-the art technologies that allow the president to travel in ultimate comfort over long distances. The luxurious plane is further enhanced with military security protection to keep the president safe on air. According to the official Airbus website Egypt president planes has a length of 75 meters, a height of 17.22 meters and a wing span of 63.45 meters.
The state car used by the President of Zimbabwe is a heavily armored custom-built Mercedes Benz S600 stretch limousine.
President’s $400 million baby was always going to be controversial when you consider Zimbabwe falls amongst the poorest countries in Africa, but the plane itself is a fine piece of equipment. The country has so far struggled to pay $360 million but still has a debt of $40 million to meet.
The exterior of the plane has been decorated with the nation’s flag and the stairs lined with red carpet fit for royalty, and the plane performs ably as you would expect of a Boeing. The cruise speed of 858 km/h is fiercely competitive for Africa. The plane has been named as the third best presidential airplane in the world, after Mexico & USA.
Official car-Holden Caprice
The Governor-General of Australia travels in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine for ceremonial occasions, such as the State Opening of Parliament. He more commonly uses Australian-built luxury cars such as a Holden Caprice when on official business. The official cars of the Governor-General fly the Flag of the Governor-General of Australia and display St. Edward’s Crown instead of number plates. When the Queen is in Australia, the Queen’s Personal Australian Flag is flown on the car in which she is travelling. Note: The queen is the official “head of state” and “sovereign leader” of sixteen nations, including Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and Canada.
The official state car of the Prime Minister of Australia is a white armoured BMW 7-Series, supported at all times by an armoured BMW X5. Prior to 2013, support vehicles in the Prime Ministerial fleet were white Ford Territory and Holden Caprice models.
No. 34 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force operates the current VIP fleet of two 737 Boeing Business Jets and three Challenger 604s for use by Australian officials; in particular the Australian Royal Family, Governor-General, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Leaders of Political Parties not in Government and the Deputy Prime-Minister. The aircraft are regularly used for both domestic and international travel. With the lease on all five VIP jets expiring in 2015, bigger birds are on the table.