Army orders sound blasters for Iraq convoy

April 28, 2006 at 7:06 AM
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SAN DIEGO, April 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has ordered more high-powered loudspeakers to help keep people away from military convoys in Iraq.

American Technology Corp. (ATC) said Thursday it had received a $300,000 order for its LRAD 500, a souped-up loudspeaker system that emits powerful tones that can be heard and understood more than 500 meters away.

The LRAD is mounted on the weapons turret of Humvees used to escort convoys through the often-dicey streets of Iraq. It gives vehicle commanders a means of communicating with Iraqi civilians using either native speakers or loud warning tones that can be clearly understood above the din of engines and crowd noise. The effect is warning bystanders to stay well clear before they get too close.

"This LRAD 500 configuration provides the operator with a critical tool to hail, notify, warn, to gain compliance ... before escalating to a non-lethal or lethal response against unauthorized individuals or groups approaching Army convoys on foot or in vehicles," San Diego-based ATC said in a news release.

The Army's Rapid Equipping Force has been conducting field trials of the LRAD 500 in northern Iraq since last fall with Army, Navy and Marine Corps units on both land and sea.

ATC Vice President A.J. Ballard said the device had proved effective with ground forces at checkpoints and detention centers as well as on the road with military convoys. In addition, LRADs have been used on the water for maritime interdiction and the perimeter protection of offshore oil facilities in the Persian Gulf.

"Detailed reports from Iraq indicate that both the LRAD 1000 and LRAD 500 have been very effective in a host of land- and sea-based applications," Ballard said.

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