Hostile vehicle mitigation systems (HVMs) are becoming an increasingly common site on our streets as a host of public and private sector organisations ramp up anti-terrorist measures. But are they making the right choices?
Their focus has largely been on stopping trucks and cars that have recently been the favoured choice of weapon among terrorists, used to indiscriminately mow down innocent people.
There are a host of different HVMs to choose from – ranging from simple metal bollards to concrete or metal barriers – and some are more effective at stopping vehicles than others.
But, unlike the KarabloK hostile vehicle mitigation barrier, few of them are also blast-proof. And that could be leaving the door open to terrorists who have long-used truck and car bombs.
Why blast protective hostile vehicle mitigation barriers are needed
The Bishopsgate bombing in the City of London in 1993 saw the IRA detonate a powerful truck bomb. In 1995, a truck loaded with a home-made fertiliser bomb killed 168 people in Oklahoma City.
Truck bombs are also widely used in places where both temporary and permanent barriers have long been deployed to keep vehicles at bay. This two-phase attack seems the terrible, natural progression for terrorists: they first use the truck as a weapon and then blow it up, extending their deadly reach well beyond the barrier.
In May 2017 at least 150 people were killed in one such attack – a truck-bomb explosion in the highly fortified diplomatic quarter of Kabul, Afghanistan – after breaking through barriers and killing at least 12 police officers who tried to stop it.
It is clear that even if we succeed in stopping a vehicle attack on our streets, the threat is not yet removed.
A blast protective and bullet protective HVM system
So if you’re going to invest in hostile vehicle mitigation system, it makes sense to also consider the secondary threat, the explosive device the vehicle may contain.
Here, the precast concrete KarabloK unit comes into its own as they are not only designed for hostile vehicle mitigation but also as blast protective barriers.
They have been successfully independently tested against a variety of explosive devices and found to be effective against:
● 36kg of High Explosive
● Swingfire warhead
● 155 NATO warhead
● Milan warhead
● 30mm HE Rounds
These results prove KarabloK units to be compliant with elements of STANAG 2280 – NATO’s own standard for ballistic, blast and impact barriers.
As well as providing protection against explosive devices, the solid barriers also shield people against bullets.
The blast protective, crash protective and anti-ballistic properties of KarabloK are further enhanced when the barrier is built more than one unit high.
Other considerations in choosing a hostile vehicle mitigation system
With the genuine need to avoid turning our public spaces into fortresses, KarabloK has been designed with aesthetics in mind. The top of the central cavity – normally filled with ballast – can be planted up with shrubs or herbaceous plants to soften their visual impact. A range of factory finishes are available for the units themselves.
With no ground-fixing or foundations needed, they can not only be installed relatively cheaply but also quickly. And they are just as quickly taken down for storage and reuse, making them suitable for both temporary and permanent applications.
There is a lot to consider when choosing an HVM system. But to offer full protection to people in your location, it makes sense to choose a barrier that is blast protective too, like KarabloK.