Olympics-Britain to deploy "sonic gun" at Olympics

Fri May 11, 2012 5:39pm EDT

* UK military to have non-lethal sonic weapon at Olympics

* High-powered loudspeaker used against pirates and protesters

* Britain prepares for biggest peacetime security operation

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - Britain's military will be armed with a sonic device that can be used as a high-volume loudspeaker or a non-lethal weapon to disperse crowds at this summer's Olympic Games in London, the defence ministry said on Friday.

The equipment, which can project a piercing sound over hundreds of metres causing physical pain, has been used during protests at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 and against pirates operating off the Somali coast.

The Ministry of Defence said it expected to use it primarily in loudspeaker mode to communicate with boats it wants to stop on the River Thames.

Defence chiefs have already caused controversy by announcing plans to put surface-to-air missiles on the top of residential buildings near the Olympics site in east London.

Fighter jets roared over the capital and helicopters were seen hovering over the Houses of Parliament this month during a nine-day military exercise to prepare for Britain's biggest peacetime security operation.

The LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), made by U.S. company LRAD Corporation, can be mounted on the side of a ship or on the top of a vehicle. Some versions are roughly the same size and shape as a dustbin lid.

It can generate noises up to around 150 decibels, similar to a gunshot, and has a maximum range of 3 km or 1.8 miles.

The device can also emit a warning alarm that sounds like a police siren and "potentially prevents the use of harmful or deadly force", LRAD says on its website.

Police and military planners say they are preparing for a range of security threats at the Olympics including protesters trying to disrupt events and attacks using hijacked airliners.

Around 13,500 soldiers will help the police during the Games, which run from July 27 to Aug. 12.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (9)
Zoney wrote:
Nothing like a good old socialist police-state that is willing to ear-bleed the unwashed plebs as part of “preemptive measures,” is there?

May 11, 2012 11:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SoundOfMind wrote:
Atlas shrugged predicted this very thing. A fine weapon to turn towards your own citizens. What will the socialists think of next? Oh, that’s right, the drones!

May 11, 2012 12:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mark_kaskin wrote:
Just wear noise-canceling headphones from Bose.

May 11, 2012 12:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.