ATC On LRADs

Regarding your recent LRAD® article posted at this link:

https://maritimeaccident.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/does-lrad-work/

“After the USS Cole was attacked in October 2000, the U.S. Navy asked American Technology Corporation (ATC) to use our expertise in shaping sound to create a directed acoustic hailing and warning device (AHD) to enable sailors to determine the intent of approaching vessels with unknown intentions, and to help create large safety zones surrounding U.S. Navy ships. ATC introduced its proprietary LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) technology and products in 2002. LRAD uses high intensity 15º – 30º focused acoustic output to communicate well in excess of 500 meters with authority and high intelligibility. Through the use of powerful voice commands and deterrent tones, large safety zones can be created while determining the intent, influencing the behavior and gaining the compliance of the crew of an unknown vessel. Since the sound is directed away from the LRAD operator, it is much safer than utilizing conventional loudspeakers or bullhorn systems in an attempt to accomplish the same objective.

ATC has more than 1,000 LRAD’s in operation around the world including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Russia, the E.U., the U.K. And China. Last year, the U.S. Navy’s selected our LRAD 1000X as its acoustic hailing and warning device for large vessels, and the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army’s chose our LRAD 500X as their AHD for small vessels and vehicles.

LRAD is an important new tool that is vital in giving military and commercial maritime personnel the ability to determine intent at distance and has the potential to resolve misunderstandings and save lives on both sides of the device.”

MAC did ask about civilian real-world examples, to which ATC responded, and got the following response:

“There have been military instances. However, the military prefers to keep quiet about them for security reasons.”

We would emphasise, although LRAD, and some other technologies, were designed to deal with precisely the situation the Global Patriot found itself in, neither the ship, nor its on-board US Navy Security team were equipped with the device.

Unfortunately, the warning system, and rules of engagement, on the Global Patriot were not appropriate for the situation, a situation perceived following the USS Cole incident, in which a small boat might approach within a defence zone without hostile intent.

The rules of engagement evidently assumed that all craft have bridges equipped with VHF radios tuned to the appropriate channel. Bumboats generally have neither bridges nor VHF radios.

The next level of warning assumed that a loudhailer could be heard clearly above the din of a noisy clapped-out outboard on the bumboat. This seems to be an unwise assumption.

It is doubtful, therefore, whether the first two sets of warnings were perceived.

A flare was fired. Was this an unambiguous message, or was it like a driver flashing his lights at an intersection?  Evidentially, it was not an unambiguous message.

The final warning was to fire shots in front of the boat, a fairly unambiguous warning but, in this case, producing one fatality and two injuries. Circumstances suggest that at least one of the warning shots bounced off the water, killing one of the non-hostile persons aboard the bumboat.

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