SUV With Pop-Up Machine Gun, Made by Phoenix Company, Protects Middle-Eastern Clients

The machine-gun equipped "Raptor" vehicle, made by a Phoenix company, seems like the perfect answer to road rage

​To hell with your "road rage." Anybody gives us attitude, we're gonna have our kid pop out the top of our new Saracen International Raptor and pulverize their ass.

Don't confuse this with the Ford Raptor. Saracen's Raptor, made by a Phoenix company, would cut through one of those like butta. This is the ultimate SUV for the gun-loving set who like to argue that the news media should properly label M-16s as "medium-powered" weapons.

Okay, we didn't really get one for Christmas, and we can't afford the $350,000 price-tag. Besides, as our above-linked blog post pointed out, non-law-enforcement types like us can't buy machine guns made after 1986, even with a federal registration and background check. Dang gun control laws!

Like most of you, we'll have to settle for watching a video of the Raptor lighting up the desert near Mobile:

A recent article on the Web, brought to our attention by its author, Corey Pein, questions whether Phoenix's Saracen International is connected to other security companies around the world with the same name, particularly one headed up by Blackwater founder Erik Prince. The Saracen run by Prince is allegedly "financing a 'counter-piracy' mercenary squad in Somalia."

That story is as intriguing as it is complicated. But we admit, at the risk of revealing our maturity level, that what really got our attention was the three-thousand-round-per-minute minigun system made here in the Valley. Is our own Saracen International tied to a plot to tinker in international politics? Heck if we know.

But we can tell you that Bill Lawrence, one of the company's principals, is an 83-year-old engineer who's not only interested in killer SUVs, but also wants to be a pioneer of accessories for hookahs. He and his son, David, are starting a company that will sell magnetic links for hookah hoses and perforated foil for the tobacco to rest on, he says.

"Essentially, I'm retired," Lawrence says, adding that he's worked as an engineer for the last 60 years. "I'm a World War Two veteran who's been around the map."

Roger Harrison, his business partner was a former ambassador to Jordan.

"When he left government service, King Hussein asked him if he could develop this vehicle," Lawrence says. "I later acquired the company."

He's sold 25 Raptors to Middle-Eastern clients in the last 15 years, he says. The machine-gun equipped GMC Suburbans ride along in the caravans of dignitaries, who themselves typically travel in bullet-proof limos. None of the Raptors has ever seen action.

Saracen International makes the parts for the weapon system in the Valley, but "often" assembles them overseas, Lawrence says.

The $66,000 minigun in the video is made by a Scottsdale company, Dillon Aero. (Lawrence says Saracen's newest platforms contain a gun by Garwood Industries, also of Scottsdale.)

Kind of puts a whole new spin on the idea of a concealed weapon.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.