The US Navy has ordered more Long Range Acoustic Devices from LRAD Corporation. The units can be used for long distance communication or as non-lethal weapons.
The US Navy order is worth US$1.5 million, according to LRAD, and is mainly for LRAD 1000X systems as well as support equipment.
“This is the latest in a series of LRAD orders we’ve received from the U.S. Navy since 2003,” said Tom Brown, president and CEO of LRAD Corporation. “LRAD systems are deployed by naval forces around the world to hail, warn, notify and communicate over long distances, giving naval personnel time and distance to determine the intent of potential threats not responding to radio calls and creating standoff zones around their vessels.”
The Company’s proprietary LRAD systems broadcast powerful voice commands and deterrent tones than can be heard over distances up to 3 kilometres. Apart from voice, the device can transmit a warning signal, which causes disorientation and pain to human ears. The use of earplugs and earmuffs have been used as countermeasures , but the high power transmission at short ranges is still sufficient to create a meaningful deterrent.
“We’re pleased to provide the voice for the US Navy’s escalation of force protocol to help protect sailors and keep innocent civilians safe during uncertain situations at sea,” Brown said.
LRAD was originally developed to support protection and exclusion zones around US Navy ships in response to the attack on the USS Cole over ten years ago. LRAD gives naval and commercial maritime vessels the capability of determining the intent of unidentified ships that fail to respond to radio calls. LRAD then provides security forces time and distance to react and measure their response, according to LRAD Corporation.
The device has also been used against pirates. In January the South Korean Navy used the device during their successful rescue of the Samho Jewelry off the coast of Somalia. They used LRAD to alert the hijacked crew of the rescue operation and broadcast warnings to the pirates that had seized the ship.
The luxury cruise ship Seabourn Spirit employed an LRAD while repelling pirates off Somalia in November 2005.
In September last year the South African Navy acquired an LRAD for evaluation purposes, at a cost of R202 778.63. The device may have been deployed aboard the SAS Mendi and SAS Amatola during their anti-piracy patrols in the Mozambique Channel.
LRAD devices have also been used during search and rescue operations. LRAD 100X and 500X systems were used to communicate to survivors in areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, for instance.