Thursday, January 5, 2006

New company making armored vehicles

By SUE WATSON
Staff Writer

If you wonder what makes Holly Springs a little industrial town with big potential, you don’t have to look further than Alpine Armoring LLC, a distributor and manufacturer of armored trucks, SWAT Trucks, vans, and SUVs.

A small team of welders, fabricators and body mechanics are building the image of Holly Springs and helping make safe people and property in both the United States and in foreign countries.

Fred Khoroushi, president of Alpine Armoring, said his company started producing armored vehicles in Holly Springs last year, as a part of the company’s decade long production of high ballistic level armored Cash Carrying trucks for the Central Bank of the Philippines.

“I have been working hard to make Holly Springs a center of production for Alpine’s armored vehicles for our U.S. military and other government agencies around the world,” Khoroushi said. “Alpine’s long list of clients range from some selected presidential vehicles all the way to VIPs, multinationals, and private individuals in need of armored vehicles for their personal protection in the U.S. and around the world.”

Workers at the Holly Springs facility posed for a group photo in December as several armored trucks built to carry cash and two SWAT trucks were given the send- off. Alpine shipped five Ford 550 and three Ford 750 armored trucks overseas. Two blue Bull Dog SWAT trucks were headed for the Massachusetts State Police.

Alpine Armoring is a leading supplier and manufacturer of armored vehicles and ballistic law enforcement products to U.S. and International Customers.

Among its products are armored SUVs, sedans, vans, trucks, SWAT trucks, cash in transit vehicles and riot control trucks. The company also builds personal protection armored vehicles.

“We also do specialty Land cruisers, SUVs or Lexuses and Suburbans,” said Terry Byrd, director at the Holly Springs facility in the industrial park.

Alpine buys new vehicles like Ford chassis and ships them to Holly Springs where the bodies are removed from the chassis and the vehicle gets a new bullet-proof body built to order. It is outfitted with ballistic glass.

The vehicles are made to protect the occupants and goods in dangerous environments. In armoring cars, the vehicle is gutted and plating and bullet proof glass are installed. Then the floor covering, seats, dash and door panels are reinstalled, and the vehicle is cleaned up. Only a trained eye can tell the car is prepared to make it in a drive through hell, if necessary.

Today armored vehicles are a must for the armed forces, diplomats, VIPs and celebrities and as in the Middle East, for companies that do contract work for governments.

More and more people are adding another layer of protection, protection that is becoming necessary in the new world of terrorism.

Alpine caters mostly to the U.S. Department of Defense, building civilian vehicles for military use. Its client list has expanded to include government contractors, multinational corporations and armored vehicles to transport cash for central banks.

The orders are filled to meet the kind of threat in the environment where the vehicle will be used, whether in a gang infested neighborhood or in a war zone.

The use of ballistics-proof vehicles has been on the rise since terrorism took a big hop on Sept. 11, 2001.

“These trucks were designed to stop high power rifles including 7.62 x 39, 5.56 x 45, 7.62 x 51 and .30-06 rounds as referred to level A9 on Alpine’s ballistic standard shown on our website, www.alpineco.com,” Khoroushi said. “These SWAT trucks, trade-marked as Pit-bull, Bulldog and Boxer, are often exhibited at industry trade shows in the U.S. and around the world, including the most recent International Association of Chiefs of Police in Miami, Fla.”

The gross weight of the vehicle and the center of gravity of the finished vehicle are taken into consideration for vehicle stability. They are designed not to topple over when making strong turns.

Alpine builds from 150 to 250 armored vehicles a year. But the company is growing so fast the owner plans to have a plant operational in the Middle East in the Dubai area by spring or summer of 2006, according to a March 2005 article in The Washington Diplomat.

Luxury cars can be modified for ballistic protection and dealers like BMW, Lincoln Town Car and Cadillac each offer their own specialized ballistic protected product.

Law enforcement prefers modifying the Chevy Suburban, the Toyota Land Cruiser or the Ford Excursion.

Byrd said the Holly Springs facility has about 22 full-time employees.

Khoroushi said Alpine Armoring expects and hopes to become an active and leading supplier of all kinds of armored vehicles using its facility in Holly Springs.


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