Lenco BearCat

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Nash Bearcat.jpg
A BearCat pictured in 2007.
Type Non-military armored vehicle
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designed 1999
Manufacturer Lenco Industries (Lenco Armored Vehicles)
Unit cost US$188,793–300,000[1][2]
Produced 1999[3][4]
Variants Military, G3, LE, VIP SUV, Medevac LE, Medevac Mil, Riot Control, G4 M-ATV, EOD
Weight 16,500–17,550 lb
Length 20 ft
Width 10 ft
Height 8–12 ft
Crew 2 + 10 passengers

Armor NIJ Type IV,[5] 1.5–0.5 inch steel plate[2]
Weapon mountable rotating roof hatch
Multiple side gun ports
Engine Caterpillar turbo diesel
300 hp
Power/weight 40 hp/ton
Suspension 4 and 6 wheel configurations
Speed 75–90 MPH,[6] "capable of highway speeds"[7]

The Lenco BearCat (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck)[8][9] is a wheeled armored personnel carrier designed for military and law enforcement use. It is in use by numerous military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world.


Since 1981[10] the Massachusetts-based Lenco Industries, known as Lenco Armored Vehicles, has designed and manufactured armored vehicles for law enforcement, military, government and private security forces.[11] Lenco has produced more than 5,000 armored vehicles for use in more than 40 countries worldwide.[4][12]

The BearCat is one type of vehicle produced by the company that is in use by numerous U.S. military and law enforcement agencies and it also used by numerous Police Tactical Groups in Australia.[7] The name BearCat stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck as it is the smaller cousin to the Lenco B.E.A.R.[12] The Bearcat is based on a Ford F-550 Super Duty Chassis with two available engines (the V10 Triton Gasoline and the 6.7L Turbo Diesel), six-speed automatic transmission commercial truck chassis.[13] The .5 inch thick mil spec steel armored bodywork is completed with .50 caliber rated ballistic glass capable of multi-hits, blast-resistant floors, specially designed gunports, roof hatches/turret and agency specific equipment and/or modifications such as lights/sirens/battering ram/winches/thermal cameras and spot lights.[14]

The first BearCat was designed and completed in August 2001 as a spin-off product of the larger Lenco B.E.A.R., with input from Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) as an updated and improved version of their aging military surplus Cadillac Gage Ranger "PeaceKeeper" armored vehicles.[4]


BearCats are typically referred to by law enforcement agencies as being "armored rescue vehicles"[15] with their primary use being to transport tactical (SWAT/Special Reaction Teams) officers to and from hostile situations and to assist with the recovery and protection of civilians in harm's way during terrorist threats, hostage incidents, or encounters with large gatherings of aggressors.[16][17] The Bearcat is designed to provide protection from a variety of small arms, explosives and IED threats.[16] Like its larger cousin the B.E.A.R, the Bearcat is able to be fitted with the "MARS" Mobile Adjustable Ramp System which allows tactical officers to gain entry to elevated platforms such as second story windows or aircraft.[18][19]

Lenco BearCats have been credited with saving the lives of officers in armed confrontations on numerous occasions. In 2010 in Athens, Texas an armed offender fired more than 35 rounds from a semi-automatic AK-74 rifle at tactical police. Not one round penetrated the Bearcat.[20] In June 2012 a BearCat, belonging to the Central Bucks Emergency Response Team, took 28 rounds from a "high powered rifle" during a siege with no rounds penetrating the vehicle.[21] In November 2015, a BearCat was used by police to rescue civilians during the 2015 Colorado Springs shootings.[22]


BearCat G3 of Ottawa Police Service

At present there are nine variants of the BearCat, some with unique features and others designed for specific purposes or customers.[12][23]

  • Military – Military version
  • LE – Law enforcement version
  • G3 – off-road variant for law enforcement
  • VIP/SUV – armored vehicle for diplomatic missions
  • Medevac LE – armored medical evacuation vehicle (law enforcement) "MedCat" – equipped with two medical litters, oxygen tanks, a lighted work station, and compartments for medical supplies and gear storage.[24]
  • Medevac Mil – armored medical evacuation vehicle (military) "MedCat" – designed for Tactical Combat Casual Care (TC3), equipped with same features as the MedCat LE with four medical litters.[24]
  • Riot control
  • G4 M-ATV – armored all-terrain vehicle (Generation 4)
  • EOD (Explosive ordnance disposal) – armored vehicle "BombCat" for bomb units with room for a large bomb disposal robot, with fold-down ramp and hydraulically controlled platform for deployment. Also can include roof-mounted zoom camera with scene lighting, thermal camera, CBRNE equipment, and advanced communications sensors upon request.[25][26]


The BearCat series is customizable with a variety of non-standard features depending on the customers requirements. BearCats are able to be fitted with moveable elevated platform systems called the Liberator and ARC by Patriot3, Inc., to enable tactical units to access a variety of elevated structures such as multi-story buildings, ships at docks or aircraft during high-risk, hostage or terrorist situations. The LAPD fits one of its four armoured Lenco vehicles with one such system along with many other local and state law enforcement agencies.[5]

Some of the BearCat's features include:

  • emergency lights/sirens
  • rotating roof hatch
  • optional powered turrets with or without ballistic glass panels and blast shields
  • gun ports
  • electric winches
  • running boards
  • protection against chemical, biological, radiological nuclear and high-yield explosives (CBRNE)
  • back-up camera
  • Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS)
  • battering ram attachment
  • CS gas (tear gas) deployment nozzle
  • radiation detection systems
  • Thermographic camera systems
  • spot/flood lights


New South Wales Police Force Tactical Operations Unit Lenco BearCat armoured rescue vehicle.
Lenco BearCat owned by the Lee County Sheriff's Office (Florida) SWAT team
Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. 'Rescue 1' B.E.A.R showing a battering ram attachment.

BearCats of various configurations are in use by the following agencies and departments around the world with over 500 in use in the United States alone.[27]





  • Jamaica Police Force – FTTU


  • Tijuana Municipal Police


  • Moroccan Auxiliary Forces – 88 BearCat armored vehicles in riot control, troop transport, communications, convoy protection, and SWAT variants.[43]


  • Dutch Police[4]

 United States

Federal Law Enforcement[4]

State/Local Law Enforcement


See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b [2][dead link]
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External links[edit]