* UK military to have non-lethal sonic weapon at Olympics
* High-powered loudspeaker used against pirates and
* Britain prepares for biggest peacetime security operation
By Peter Griffiths
LONDON, May 11 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
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.