What is Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM)?

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation

One of our PAS68 solutions being tested.

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) is a phrase used to describe measures to counter the threat of terrorist vehicle bombs when considering the resilience against attack of people or buildings and important infra-structure sites such as airports, shopping centres, railways stations, public areas etc.

A terrorist truck bomb is usually described as a VBIED (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) or more simply as an IED.

The distinction between this form of attack and other terrorism types is simply that a vehicle is used to penetrate a perimeter and then deliver an explosive device or, as in the recent France/Nice incident, the vehicle is used as the primary weapon to attack people and create maximum mayhem

The use of a vehicle as a tool of terrorism is not new.

The first attempt at destroying The World Trade Centre in 1993, the IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in 1996 and the bombing of two US Embassies in East Africa in 1998 are all examples of this type of terrorism.

Solutions offering some protection from Hostile Vehicles.

There are many different solutions available to mitigate the risk of a vehicle attack aimed at premises or people.

Our ‘crash tested’ range of products include Rising Bollards, Static Bollards, MitiGate Manual Gate, Road Blockers, Sliding Gates and Bi-fold gates.

Cova Security Gates have been at the forefront of developing Hostile Vehicle Mitigation products since the Company first commenced trading in 1987. The very first Cova Full Depth Road Blocker CSG 10503 was installed at the British Consulate General in Istanbul Turkey in 1989 and since this time a wide range of differing HVM products have been brought to market.

The introduction of the suicide bomber – has undoubtedly ramped up the threat level for this type of terrorism. In the past, vehicles were very often parked in close proximity to the intended target and the bomb exploded remotely. Nowadays the typical terrorist is intent on breaching a perimeter – in effect driving at the intended target before initiating the explosion.

In November 2003 at the British Consulate General in Istanbul, just such a terrorist attack took place. The truck attacked the entrance gate at speed – breached the entrance gate and ran into the Cova Security Gates road blocker (sometimes referred to as road wedges or wedges) located just inside the entrance. The road blocker arrested the vehicle and prevented further intrusion to the intended target – the Consulate building. The resulting explosion caused extensive damage to surrounding areas however, this incident proved conclusively that a well sited HVM product can and will protect the intended target – in this case the Consulate was left relatively unaffected.

Our road blocker provided some protection in Istanbul.

Cova Security Gates was the first company worldwide to have a HVM product tested in anger and this incident together with other terrorist events throughout the World at that time resulted in the UK setting up a separate Government body to tackle this form of terrorism. The CPNI – (Critical Protection of National Infrastructure) was thus created in 2007.

In the US independent crash testing (anti-ram) and verification of HVM product was started some years earlier with the US DOS scheme – such products as road barriers (road blockers) and rising bollards were tested using a 7.5 ton US truck at various speeds – the most common being 50mph.

Before 2007 both the Motor Transport Research Association (MIRA) and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) were able to offer US DOS compatible testing facilities and it was to these organisations that Cova Security Gates were able to independently test and verify both its model CSG10503 – full depth road blocker (2005) and CSG10506 shallow depth road blocker (2006).

In 2006 the UK introduced the first publicly available specification related to Hostile Vehicle Mitigation – PAS 69:2006 provided guidance on the selection, installation and use of vehicle security barriers to ensure that they are selected and placed as effectively as possible.

PAS 68:2007 was issued shortly after and specified a classification system for the performance of vehicle security barriers and their supporting foundations when subjected to a single horizontal impact.

During recent years the old DOS standard has been superseded by a new US standard – ASTM F 2656 and the UK’s PAS standards have been much revised currently PAS68:2013 and PAS 69:2013.

Also in 2013 an ISO standard was launched – IWA 14-1:2013 Vehicle security barriers – Part 1: Performance requirement, vehicle impact test method and performance rating

Across the range of test standards (PAS, ASTM & IWA) there are minor variations in standards most notably tested weight of impact vehicle, type of vehicle and speed of vehicle although in general the performance standard remains similar.

Typically, a PAS Test rating will provide the following classification – in this case for CSG 10640 Crash rated Bi-Folding Gate – PAS 68:2010 V/7500[N2]/64/90:2.2/0.0 this translates as; vehicle test weight [vehicle class]/speed [Kmh]/angle & penetration/dispersion.

Since 2003 when Cova Security Gates had their first HVM product tested in anger, considerable investment in research and development has resulted in an extensive portfolio of HVM products.

Nowadays Covas bi-folding and sliding PAS rated crash tested (anti-ram) gates are used extensively across the United Kingdom and internationally in many types of location from Oil refineries to Embassies.

The benefit to users is that a gate can provide both protection against vehicles and persons and when used in a vehicle ‘air lock’ situation provides a very secure environment for containing and controlling movement.

Of course the ubiquitous security barrier is still widely used, indeed a key part of London’s business district is completely ring fenced by Cova PAS rated shallow road blockers. For this type of urban environment it is important that the appearance of ‘open for business’ is maintained however, the level of protection against a VBIED is critically high.

CSG have product solution for all environments – PAS68 crash tested (anti-ram) rated security barriers (road blockers/wedges), rising bollards and fixed bollards and the recently introduced Cova Manual Crash Tested Miti-gate CSG 10900, a novel and low cost approach to securing areas to protect pedestrians and/or access areas such as town centres paved areas either permanently or temporarily – particularly where the entrance is subsidiary or only occasionally used as the MITI gate can manually be opened and closed at key times during events.

Vehicle Attacks Timeline:

  • North Carolina, Chapel Hill


  • Bastille Day, Nice


  • Ohio State University


  • Christmas Market


  • Melbourne


  • Westminster, London

    United Kingdom

  • Stockholm


  • London Bridge, London

    United Kingdom

  • Finsbury Park, London

    United Kingdom

  • La Rambla, Barcelona


  • Manhattan, New York


  • Melbourne


  • Toronto


  • Westminster, London

    United Kingdom

CSG 10140

CSG 10503

CSG 10506

CSG 10640 & 10650

CSG 10800

CSG 10103

CSG 10405

CSG 10300

CSG 10700