LRAD (Long Range Accoustic Device) is becoming the latest non-lethal weapon in the hands of army, navy, law enforcement agencies, oil companies to counter effectively several potentially threatening situations without firing a single bullet.
LRAD is already being used by US Army, Navy and Border Patrol, Israeli Special Forces, Navy and Coast Guard of UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Singapore and Imperial Navy of Japan. Exxon Mobil and Shell have installed LRADs on offshore platforms following hijackings and attacks.
American Technology Corporation developed LRAD specifically in response to US Navy’s request following attack on US Navy’s Missile Guided Destroyer - USS Cole by Al-Qaeda terrorists on October 12, 2000 while it was harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 others were injured in the blast which caused financial loss upto US $ 1 billion.
Director INSTASOL Sachin Suri representing American Technology Corporation told Hindustan Times, “The officers of the US Navy did not fire M60 machine guns at the approaching boat carrying the two terrorists with boatful of explosives because their intention was not known and they kept on making friendly gestures till the suicide bombers came very close to the ship and exploded.”
He said in normal hailers, bull horns, loudspeakers with sound radiating and scattering in 180 degrees the effective distance of communciation is just 30 to 50 metres.
The unique element of the technology developed in LRAD (which product has got 300 US patents) is that it can focus sound waves to a point by electronically squeezing it into a tight beam like laser making it highly directional and crystal clear even at a distance 1.5 kilometres, he said.
"LRAD also uses sound as a non lethal weapon to exclude people from a given area. While 0 dB is the threshold of hearing, 120 dB is considered threshold of pain and 160 dB causes permanent damage by perforating the ear drum of humans.The LRAD’s intensity has been kept in between 120 dB and 151 dB which is below permanent damage but starts at the threshold of pain or a sufficiently sharp sound which cannot be ignored,” he added.
So from a sufficiently safe distance, he said, persons can be warned and if unauthorised approach still takes place showing mal-intention intensity of sound can be increased gradually to a very uncomfortable level. If a person still continues towards the restricted area, LRAD can also produce intensely ear piercing tone which could cause nausea and extreme pain in the ear. If the person does not yield his mal intention would be established and other authorised form of aggressive options could be used to stop him.”
Interestingly there is also the facility for pre recorded messages and automatic translation of commands into 40 languages, he added.
It can be used for emergency evacuation in major disasters, at border check points and for crowd control, he said.
The Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation has already procured LRADs and is using it on their oil exploration platform and off shore vessels, he said. The device has already been demonstrated to Indian Navy,Coast Guard and ONGC, he added.
Within next 6 months we plan to come out with a hand held version of LRAD which every police car can be fitted with for crowd and traffic control, he added.