Politics and Economics (CGU)
Defense and Security Studies | Military and Veterans Studies | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences
The introduction of this work analyzes the types and evolution of cartel IAFVs in Mexico. To this analysis can be added “vehicle number 24” in the picture gallery, which highlights fixed 50 cal. sniper rifles and machine guns found in or on various vehicles seized from the cartels. These represent multiple 50 cal. sniper rifles and heavy machine guns on fixed mounts inside vehicles and, in one instance, on the back of a vehicle with armored gun shield protection. While we have seen no photographic evidence of an organic (main) gun placed on cartel IAFVs as of yet, these weapons and the ammo identified on the back of vehicle number 19—the popemobile— as scaling out to approximately 25mm bore diameter along with the 50 cal. rounds suggest that heavy infantry weapons have been fired from the interior of some of the larger IAFVs. Additionally, one of the images in vehicle number 21 is thought to confirm antitank weaponry damage to the driver’s seat area of the vehicle. This would suggest that rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) or other antitank weaponry, not uncommon in cartel arsenals, were, indeed, used in engagements between opposing cartel mounted forces, as has been reported.
Given the apparent cessation of the fielding of narco armor since early 2012, quite possibly these vehicles have reached an evolutionary dead end, with more emphasis once again placed by the cartels on fielding more stealth-masked armored vehicles, such as armored SUVs, that better blend in with civilian cars and trucks so as to eluded identification and targeting by Mexican federal forces. Still, given the ever changing conflict waging in Mexico among the cartels and against the
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Bunker, R.J. & Ramirez, B. (Eds.). (2013). Narco Armor: Improvised Armored Fighting Vehicles in Mexico. Fort Leavenworth, KS: The Foreign Military Studies Office.