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Defeating the Ultimate Terrorist Mowing Machine


222HVM“Protective barriers saved the lives of school children in the attack at Westminster this year,” said Paul Barnard from the City of London Police at the recent ASIS 2017 event in Texas. So, what is being done to mitigate what seems to be an ever-increasing threat from vehicle borne terror attacks? Philip Ingram has a look for HQ Magazine.

So far this year, there have been 11 vehicle borne attacks in 6 countries resulting many dead and injured.  It seems that a vehicle is becoming the weapon of popular choice and has been ever since Al Qaeda referred to them in an article in their ‘Inspire’ magazine in 2010, as the ‘Ultimate Mowing Machine’.

Vasco Amador from Global Intelligence Insight who track online terrorist activity said, “ISIS and other extremist groups are actively encouraging supporters to use anything as a weapon and carry out attacks; it is certain more attacks using vehicles will happen.”

The terror use of vehicles as a weapon was brought to the fore in the 2010 article but the first use in the UK was when Fusilier Lee Rigby was hit by a car before being butchered by Michael Adebolajo, and Michael Adebowale, both of whom were associated with Al Qaeda.

Extremists are adept at picking soft targets in crowded places as we saw in London, Barcelona, Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris and more, some can be protected by increasing fixed anti vehicle infrastructure such as bollards or specialist architectural barriers.  Some areas do not lend themselves to permanent fixed structures.

Ian Crosby, Marketing Director Perimeter Protection at Heras, the Dutch barrier manufacturer said, “The problem is complex and we don’t just want to repackage some of our existing products and sell them as something new so we are examining the issue and thinking of new and innovative capabilities.” He added; “we would love to sit down with the cities who have been victims of these atrocities and help develop appropriate solutions.”

The attacks have brought an older technology to the fore, developed by the UK innovation giant QinetiQ, their XNet, originally developed in 2006, was recently deployed in London by the Metropolitan Police to protect a parade by active-duty sailors and naval veterans in the Whitehall.  The MET have the XNet as part of their Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) arsenal they call “Talon”.

XNet can be deployed by 2 people and has the ability to stop a 17 tonne truck.  It looks like a giant police stinger attached to a net and barbed spikes in the leading edge of the net pierce the front tires, then the net envelops the tires and is pulled tight under the vehicle to stop the wheels and halt the vehicle in a non-lethal manner. Read article here222HVM