One of the US government’s top contractors has used some of its expertise to develop a new security weapon. This one will not be used to defeat the terrorists abroad, but the “terrorists” at home. These homeland terrorists would be protesters and other assorted miscreants who need policing in the sternest manner possible; military-grade pepper spray, tasers, stun guns, billy clubs, rubber bullets and sound machines not being severe enough to keep us safe from each other any longer.
There is no reason to assume that Raytheon received a contract from the government to manufacture these new goodies, and I am not claiming they did, or that they received any subsidy to do so. I assume they just had some left-over profit they wanted to invest back into the company and this is what they came up with. The purchasers will be local police departments. The latest item for the arsenal is the Acoustic Riot Shield, patent pending.
US defence/aerospace contractor Raytheon has filed a patent for a new type of riot control technology.
Its groundbreaking riot shield design adapts an approach already used by other security devices but never before in this way. Named the Man-Portable Non-Lethal Pressure Shield, it’s intended to suppress rioters through emitting sound waves capable of ultimately causing temporary subject paralysis.
While traditionally riot shield-like in appearance, the product would have integrated what the patent application terms a ‘sonic pulse generator’ and a linked control mechanism, which the operator could deploy at the appropriate time. Fired at a low frequency, the sound waves could either be released as a single burst or as a stream.
As a result, rioters on the receiving end of Raytheon’s acoustic shield would have their upper respiratory tract activated to the extent that breathing becomes difficult. The effect would be more powerful in instances where these shields are deployed en masse, producing a more focused and further-reaching wave form as a result of, essentially, being networked up together.
US law enforcement officials already have one type of acoustic crowd control technology in use – the LRAD sound cannon. This works in a slightly different way, using sound itself as a means of bringing on headaches and/or nausea in rioters.
Whether this acoustic riot shield technology is capable of causing anything other than temporarily interrupted breathing hasn’t yet been reported. “We do not have sufficient technical detail yet to determine if there are any hidden medical implications”, Steve Wright, from the UK’s Leeds Metropolitan University, told the New Scientist publication “These are always a concern because of the risk to sensitive bodily functions such as hearing, or even inducing panic attacks in asthmatics.”
Chief among the concerns so far expressed is the idea of the acoustic riot shields being used to gain control in a political sense.”If authorities in Egypt or Syria had this, would they use it for dispersal or to shove crowds into potentially lethal harm’s way?”, Wright concluded.
Security Technology will revisit Raytheon’s acoustic riot shield design in future News coverage.
I want to emphasize something here. The shields are much stronger when networked together. I have not been able to find any information on how many of these shields linked together, to create a stronger sonic pulse, it would take for these weapons to be notated as lethal rather than “non-lethal” weapons.
The new shield described by Raytheon produces a low-frequency sound which resonates with the respiratory tract, making it hard to breathe. According to the patent, the intensity could be increased from causing discomfort to the point where targets become “temporarily incapacitated”.
Acoustic devices haven’t seen wide adoption because their range is limited to a few tens of metres. The patent gets around this by introducing a “cohort mode” in which many shields are wirelessly networked so their output covers a wide area, like Roman legionaries locking their shields together. One shield acts as a master which controls the others, so that the acoustic beams combine effectively.