Military Review

Sonic weapons: its capabilities and prospects

Sonic weapons: its capabilities and prospects

The whole sphere of energy weapons, high-energy lasers and beam weapons require critical analysis, since these systems not only offer significant prospects for the growing needs of the armed forces in the next two decades, they also represent areas in which extensive research has already been done and significant investments have been made - with surprising results in some cases.

Trying to reveal the topic of defense technology as broad as a coastline in a relatively short article is the same as starting to calculate integrals without passing through the course of simple arithmetic. Without an understanding of the current state and how the latest developments will provide a springboard to the future, it is impossible to determine with any accuracy what path most likely will follow further development. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to look back in order to see the way forward.

Despite the problems associated with the power requirements and limitations of the current technology, significant advances have been made in understanding and implementing technologies of weapons of directed energy. Some progress was made after the end of the Cold War, but it is sad to realize - even taking into account a certain period of maturation, which is necessary for a part of our technological progress - that research in some of these spheres dates back to the end of World War II!

That's really not so surprising, however, is the fact that, despite the relatively long periods of development of such weapons, it is sometimes difficult to accurately determine how successful its development has been until now. Before considering the practical and even ethical reasons underlying a certain veil of secrecy, it makes sense to look at the technology itself. The simplest thing to start with is the field of acoustic weapons.

Sound has been regarded as a weapon for several decades. Radiating shrill sounds at irregular intervals, the Curdler system in Northern Ireland, as a means of crowd control and curbing unrest, worked below the pain threshold and was more destructive than exhausting or disorienting. In this connection, a brief study of the desired impact of an acoustic weapon and its cost in the context of technology and possible limitations suggests itself.

The use of high intensity sound — for example, loud music — is aimed at the inner ear in an attempt to cause spatial disorientation by saturating this organ with intense noise, which it cannot quickly process. This can be compared to a buffer overflow, for example. On the other hand, the low-frequency sound of high intensity is aimed not at the ears, but at other organs, it makes them resonate and thus causes various unpleasant consequences, even death.

With a further decrease in the frequency below 20 Hz, the sound goes beyond the limits of hearing and the possibilities offered by existing technologies become more flexible. High intensity infrasound weapons, for example, can be tuned for their impact. Personnel inside cars or buildings can become a target and be attacked by a similar weapon, which, depending on the intensity of the sound waves used, can cause disorientation and deterioration of motor functions.

However, the majority of such decisions were considered impractical until now, since relatively large loudspeaker arrays and enormous capacities are needed. In addition, it was almost impossible to control them regarding the ability to focus on specific goals, it all came down to broadcasting the sound. Over time, a solution to this problem appeared in the form of so-called differential tones, which limit the effect of projected sound waves transmitted from several remote loudspeakers on a specific object. However, the need for careful calculation of the interference pattern created by sound waves in order to tune their impact for a specific object eliminates the elegance of this solution for tactical deployment.

Long Range Acoustic Device LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) on the flagship

Acoustic technology for military and security applications

The development of acoustic technology for the military or security forces is not discussed in such detail as, for example, the development of a new-generation fighter, frigates or armored vehicles. This is also because there are reasonable grounds to keep these studies behind closed doors, based on operational security, and, moreover, due to the fact that there is a congenital rejection of the use of such technologies aimed at natural insecurity in some ways that some consider perfidious. Ethical disputes over the use of so-called peripheral technologies as weapons (sound was one of the most fiercely discussed) have been going on since the middle of the 20 of the 20th century. However, they did not stop research and development in this direction, although some authorities sought to limit the use of appropriate technologies to crowd control or the suppression of unrest rather than lethal effects.

Interest in non-lethal weapons increased significantly after the end of the Cold War, mainly as a result of the rapid expansion of the range of threats. Since the “textbook” military actions became for many people the object of historical analysis and they were replaced by “hybrid”, “asymmetrical” and “low intensity” conflicts - at the same time, on the horizon, the increasing spread of non-military activity of various forms, for example, riots or large-scale civil unrest, so there was an interest in how to deal with riots that do not have the lethality levels of current techniques and weapons offered by the market. It is assumed that providing more options, including systems of temporary defeat (less than lethal), could increase the flexibility and speed of reaction of the current commanders.

For example, the American Army’s Armaments Research Center (ARDEC) has studied the use of so-called “acoustic bullets”. Acoustic bullets are, in fact, small columns of air generated by high-speed pumps or explosives that have a focused effect at relatively close distances. A couple of significant flaws were identified regarding the effects of such weapons: rapid power dissipation with distance and a relatively small number of simultaneously irradiated targets. Nevertheless, the center conducted several years of research in the framework of the program on ammunition with little indirect damage, on the state of which at the moment there is no accurate information. The research organization Scientific Applications and Research Associates (SARA) from California was once awarded a contract to continue the development of an acoustic bullet formed by an antenna with a diameter of 1,2 meters. The development of this system would have overcome some of the problems associated with the dissipation of the power of the acoustic wave, and provide law enforcement agencies with an instantly deployable mob management solution, but the project was apparently closed.

According to some reports, in the Moscow laboratory of testing devices with non-lethal effects on humans (included in Burnazyan Medical Biophysical Center) a weapon was developed based on the acoustic bullet principle, which has an actual radius of several hundred meters. The advantage of this system, which experts describe as “a weapon that creates acoustic impulses the size of a baseball ball,” seems to be its scalability and ability to tune to varying degrees of impact, ranging from causing pain, nausea and vomiting, and ending in death. Russian developments dating back to the end of 90's were conducted in parallel with work in the United States, where similar technologies and their effects on humans were also studied.

Sound beyond the upper threshold of the hearing threshold

Infrasound — from frequencies of a few hertz to the hearing threshold around 20 Hz — extends over large distances and can generate an effect ranging from disorientation to a local earthquake. Indeed, earthquakes of natural origin and volcanic eruptions are examples of the incompletely studied possibilities of infrasound. Infrasound retains its frequency when it encounters a living organism, which allows weapon designers to use some of the advantages associated with predictability of impact. The higher the power level, the stronger the impact, and this is one of the strong arguments put forward by supporters of the so-called non-lethal weapons. Its impact can be customized to the requirements of a specific task and be monitored and changed “on the fly” if necessary. This nullifies the term "non-lethal" in some circumstances, but this irony does not seem to be paying attention.

On the other hand, a sound above the upper limit of hearing about 20 kHz is considered ultrasound. In nature, some types of whales and dolphins use ultrasound, and not only for hunting and target localization; high-energy ultrasound spikes also serve to stun their victims. Research into such potential sonic weapons capabilities was undoubtedly conducted in the United States and Russia, and analysts are confident that at least four more countries have experimented with ultrasound weapons, including China and North Korea.

Another trend in acoustic weapons is the so-called Vortex Gun, also known abroad as Vortex Canon, Wind Canon and Shockwave Gun. Modern developers offer using such systems to cause objects from a distance of 40-50 meters of blunt injuries, although the German scientists in the 40-s considered original technology for possible use in anti-aircraft weapons. Further development in the United States seems to have focused on the use of the “vortex force” created by this weapon to deliver a combat charge, such as chemical stimuli, to a certain distance with an almost instantaneous effect. It is assumed that Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom showed interest in similar developments; in addition, there is evidence that France has also experimented with this technology.

The US Navy describes its EPIC (Electromagnetic Personnel Interdiction Control) system as an evolving technology aimed at using acoustic energy pulses to worsen a person’s sense of equilibrium by impairing vestibular functions that control equilibrium and eye movements. According to the developer-company Invocon, the EPIC system will be able to work through walls and similar protective barriers, which makes it an ideal means of non-lethal intervention in urban combat.

According to US military sources, the LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) LRAD Corporation long-range acoustic device was designed from the very beginning as a warning system for delivering to individuals and small groups at a certain distance. The LRAD system is effective at a distance of up to one kilometer, and its sound warnings will not be heard by those outside the well-defined sector. Additional advantages of LRAD, available in several versions, are low mass, simple control of energy consumption and all-weather conditions.

LRAD Corporation (formerly American Technology) has also developed the Directed Stick Radiator system, which is proposed to stimulate behavioral change or for operations in the context of psychological warfare. A one-meter-long portable weapon shoots a focused acoustic bullet at a distance of approximately 100 meters and can be configured to generate sound effects up to 140 decibels, which is significantly above the pain threshold. Such devices, such as Acoustic Defender (developed by Universal Guardian Holdings) and Sonic Firehose (developed by SARA), affect the distance from 100 to 1000 meters.

Directed Stick Radiator System by LRAD Corporation

All these are signs that, apparently, acoustic weapons are becoming more common. But at the present time, its distribution is most likely limited to law enforcement agencies, rather than military structures. However, this may change as technology advances. For the military at the moment, the shortcomings of acoustic weapons are very significant: range, portability, but first of all power consumption. But with devices such as, for example, EPIC and Directed Stick Radiator, which are now quite portable, and in the latter case, even powered by batteries, it is quite possible to speak of the need for a preliminary assessment stage. Undoubtedly, the wall of silence, rising when trying to get more information about current developments, suggests that there are reasons to hide the true essence of current research and development in this area.

Although the most important question, perhaps, is how research in this area has affected our understanding of the characteristics of waves of all types, be it acoustic or some other. As we fully understand the physical properties of sound waves and the technologies by which such waves can be controlled and focused, our capabilities in developing weapons that can actually deliver a controlled effect will increase, and the need to resort to lethal force will decrease in some cases. Technology beliefs that are worth promoting.

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  1. Banishing liberoids
    Banishing liberoids 27 June 2016 06: 22
    So far, this can’t be called a weapon - everything is too heavy, large, bulky, ineffective and terribly expensive. But over time, when suitable cheaper and more compact models appear, then we bet.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 27 June 2016 06: 49
      Quote: Expelling Liberoids
      So far, this can’t be called a weapon - everything is too heavy, large, bulky, ineffective and terribly expensive. But over time, when suitable cheaper and more compact models appear, then we bet.

      I would not say that. Sonars on submarines work both in infrasound and in ultrasound. And then, it is not necessary that the weapon kill, it is enough that it disorganizes. I can say that when checking and adjusting the equipment we used a conventional sound frequency generator and at certain frequencies, we felt severe discomfort. Read N. Cherkashin "The Dream of St. Peter", not everything there is fantasy.
      1. Tatar 174
        Tatar 174 27 June 2016 07: 24
        Quote: Amurets
        I can say that when checking and adjusting the equipment we used the usual sound frequency generator and at certain frequencies we felt very uncomfortable

        And the fact that some music lovers install powerful sound systems with subwoofers on their cars and drive them at full power to drive through the streets of the city, what can be called sound weapons directed against the rest of the population? This is also a sonic weapon, it makes me feel bad from these booming dumb sounds, I’m ready to take a loaf of music and fuck such a music lover on the windshield ... Even if you take about a dozen such cars with such acoustic systems and put together some kind of hevimetal there , then it’s just around a hundred or two meters will be bad. Maybe it is worth legislatively prohibiting the use of powerful acoustics outside special rooms for concerts and studios ???
        1. Alex_Rarog
          Alex_Rarog 27 June 2016 07: 39
          Hevimetal! on Subic doesn't sound at all! he can’t play high frequencies normally !!!! but a bit and everything that goes at low frequencies !!! it's a bang! By the way, at traffic lights sometimes I felt real discomfort and a sense of anxiety from low frequencies!
          1. brn521
            brn521 27 June 2016 11: 14
            Quote: Alex_Rarog
            but a bit and everything that goes at low frequencies !!! it's a bang! By the way, at traffic lights sometimes I felt real discomfort and a sense of anxiety from low frequencies!

            These are some fans who are sausages from ultralow. Sometimes even the sound is not heard, only the rhythmic pressure on the brain, about thirty meters or more. Pretty unpleasant. And the owner is in the car, or even inside. Sometimes there is no sound at all, only the body rattles - it is clearly noticeable when different kinds of pimped are pumped in this way.
      2. Bort radist
        Bort radist 27 June 2016 14: 57
        Quote: Amurets
        Quote: Expelling Liberoids
        So far, this can’t be called a weapon - everything is too heavy, large, bulky, ineffective and terribly expensive. But over time, when suitable cheaper and more compact models appear, then we bet.
        I wouldn’t say so. Submarine sonars work both in infrasound and in ultrasound.

        As I understand it, the problem is with precise, local exposure. Work on "squares" for large masses of people has long been tested. Although the installations are energy-intensive, they cope with their tasks, disperse the demonstration causing fear, panic, diarrhea, ..........
    2. Alex_Rarog
      Alex_Rarog 27 June 2016 07: 35
      One meter long portable weapon fires a focused acoustic bullet at a range of about 100 meters -
      Something like this! if you already have a prototype! then this is a small signal!
    3. Azitral
      Azitral 27 June 2016 09: 08
      There is a way out. New technologies have made unexpected contributions. Some explosives can be made in the form of single crystals (or mono-pseudocrystals, "pseudocrystals" - a new class of substances, interesting). These are "mineral" explosives like lead azide, zinc azide, mercury azide, mercury fulminate, and detonating silver. A single crystal of explosives is characterized by the property of "super-blasting": it gives ONE wave, the so-called "soliton", which carries away a very significant part of the explosion energy. The length of this wave depends on the size and shape of the "checker". Very long sound waves (about 45-48 m) penetrate through the main walls, through a meter of armor, hit people, and bring down buildings. Research, so far, at the very beginning, but encouraging. "Pseudocrystal" - according to the available data, ordered structures of cyclic (like benzene or cycloparaffins) molecules that are linked together not "chemically" but geometrically, in the manner of chain links. Very promising things - but terribly expensive according to 2014 data. Since then - silence.
    4. Simple
      Simple 27 June 2016 23: 38
      I did not understand your conclusion "banishing"!
      What to do then?
      - is it cut and score?
      - this is know how and study?
      Or is it "we'll see later"?
      Briefly resume if possible!
  2. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 27 June 2016 06: 29
    But how much can any infection be placed in the service of the destruction of man? How many fields ...
  3. Ingvar 72
    Ingvar 72 27 June 2016 07: 25
    Sound weapons have long been used in the form of modern music directions.
    1. salavat
      salavat 27 June 2016 08: 21
      Particularly inhuman weapons in the form of Russian pop.
  4. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 27 June 2016 07: 39
    Quote: Exorcist Liberoids
    when suitable cheaper and more compact samples appear, then we bet.

    At the end of the 90x, we tested ammunition, the principle of which was that a hundred warheads consisted of hundreds of tablets, which were detonated successively with a time difference creating a sound wave with a frequency of 10-20Hz. There is no energy consumption, and the firing range could really be large. Unfortunately, the fate of these ammunition is not known.
  5. evil partisan
    evil partisan 27 June 2016 09: 20
    Our pop music - why not a sound weapon? Captured all of Ukraine yes. They don’t know how to root it out, they hang themselves. Already take special laws ...
    But seriously, the acoustic weapon, in my personal opinion, is quite an effective thing, but with an extremely small radius of action. It is quite possible to come up with acoustic sound systems, for example, at home with terrorists seated in it. Not much will seem to them. yes Although ... Better, of course, with a neutron beam good shine in their direction. And then wait a bit ... repeat
  6. Anchonsha
    Anchonsha 27 June 2016 11: 25
    How much is being done to destroy man. And recently, we don’t even need to physically destroy us, but simply disable us for a while, for example, on the battlefield and in a certain area. In addition, it is now not profitable to use laser systems over long distances due to huge energy consumption. Something else must be in order to generate and store energy in compact, for example, capacitors. And what can be in nature creating energy? For the formation of lightning, cumulus clouds are needed over a vast territory, and therefore no longer suitable. The splitting of an atom, but it is dangerous for humans in the event of a catastrophe.
    1. gridasov
      gridasov 27 June 2016 12: 36
      In my opinion, the worst weapon for or against young modern people is not the weapon itself, but the method which consists in simply turning off the Internet.
      In fact, apparently only specialists can distinguish what or what criteria we use to separate the capacitor from the battery. What are the criteria for an induction coil with so-called capacitance and inductance. The essence of all these devices is the same and the same capacitor can be fundamentally changed and its capacity increased on the basis of the density of magnetic force flows. Therefore, the current level of inventors is determined by what methods they use. And they want to create some unique in quality devices and effects in the long run, which are built on an inefficient elemental base. Moreover, the simple truth is that any body or phenomenon has its own potential and polarization relative to other bodies and processes should prompt scientists to think that objects of different electrical conductivity are such because, in fact, a single pulse of an alternating magnetic field is applied to them qualitatively. in other words . It is worth changing this quality and any object or body can be electrically conductive. And the same superconductivity is a natural process in the same hydrodynamic flow between its jets. Therefore, the inquiring minds of geniuses have long known how to do this. We only repeat their discoveries.
      1. evil partisan
        evil partisan 27 June 2016 15: 04
        Quote: gridasov
        superconductivity is a natural process

        I’ll tell you more about Gridasov: ordinary conductivity, well, one that is not burdened by Cooper pairs is also a natural process. yes
        Quote: gridasov
        that the objects are different in electrical conductivity because they apply, in fact, qualitatively one pulse of an alternating magnetic field.

        belay Well, firstly, right (as in the Encyclopedias) yes And secondly, I want to praise you: today you are especially in shock! good Well done. Taking off my hat. hi But do not forget to take pills. And then this physical world beckoning you with its terms will let you go for a while ... yes
        And finally: why are you smoking there? what Share ... repeat
        1. alean245
          alean245 27 June 2016 16: 14
          And finally: why are you smoking there? what Share ... feel

          I think he smoked all the volumes of Landavshits. And he still does not let go. smile
          1. evil partisan
            evil partisan 27 June 2016 17: 06
            Quote: alean245
            I think he smoked all the volumes of Landavshits.

            No. Here the "Berkeley course" smacks of yes . Or Feynman? what
            1. gridasov
              gridasov 27 June 2016 18: 51
              I have no offense, I just do not understand, if someone wants to achieve something, then you need to search and learn, try to understand and seek new methods. Well, how can aircraft engines be designed without realizing that the main energy component of the complex process is air and water. So study their properties under those other conditions. Everything is in sight, which means you will immediately see that modern engines fundamentally contradict natural processes. Was I getting smoked? It’s really better to be an idiot with you than endlessly pour from empty to empty. I presented one project of this turbine with calculations to one company. The guys are young, ambitious. Hear them soon.
        2. Simple
          Simple 27 June 2016 23: 41
          Partizan (angry) - if you entered into a dispute = MEAN YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT FROM VINEGREDA comrade. Gridasova ??????
          I didn’t understand the full deer, what was he talking about?
          Capacitor and battery? What is the primary chicken here is an egg?
  7. black
    black 27 June 2016 13: 26
    While you are discussing the possibilities of such a weapon, it has been actively used and implemented since the end of the 80's. And it looks quite compact. Like what, I will not tell. But that model that I saw worked very well on a single object.
  8. Whowhy
    Whowhy 27 June 2016 15: 21
    Sound weapons are not easy, but very simple .... bully
    There is such a phenomenon as the thermoacoustic effect (Perelman "Entertaining Physics"). It works simply - a pipe, and a heating element in it at a strictly defined distance. If you put it vertically, then everything itself works, if horizontally, you need an additional fan. My friend and I once made it out of a simple asbestos-cement pipe in the country. The effect was stunning (both literally and figuratively), although we did not get infrasound, but the power was such that right up to w ... wassat
    So, if you take a similar thin-walled metal pipe (of appropriate length) and hang it above the enemy’s territory, for example, under a balloon or a parachute (the heating element will at the same time provide some lifting force), then the power will be terrible and the price is minuscule. Plus, you can calculate the dimensions of the parachute and the balloon so that the resonance happens ...
    You can even make it on sound, and organize infrasound due to the beating effect (just a slightly different length of pipes), then it's even simpler - you can pack these pipes into MLRS "Smerch" rockets. That is, it will be possible to hang ~ 32 pipes in a salvo - after being used on a huge territory, not a single person will remain in consciousness ...
    For example, you can use ... soldier
  9. evil partisan
    evil partisan 27 June 2016 15: 48
    It dawned on me here fool . But the Germans used sound weapons in the 45th. Truth from hopelessness request. Well, when, due to the lack of aerial bombs, our fighters were bombarded with empty barrels from under an aircraft fuel yes . Those falling issued a heartbreaking howl ...
    1. Simple
      Simple 27 June 2016 23: 47
      Before the beginning of 2mv.
      Ju-87 unit and "Jericho pipes", special sirens acting from the incoming air flow during a dive
  10. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 27 June 2016 19: 56
    It is difficult to make acoustic weapons lethal, the atmosphere is quite discharged, the energy dissipation is large, and it is difficult to make it pointed. Although, what are we talking about? This is one of the most ancient weapons in the world (pipes of Jericho!). laughing
  11. realist
    realist 27 June 2016 20: 28
    What can a person not think of for causing injuries to his own kind .....
  12. pinhead
    pinhead 28 June 2016 11: 17
    a million worth bunch ...
  13. N100
    N100 11 December 2016 19: 58
    Acoustic weapons are a terrible thing, I don’t remember exactly like seven hertz deadly to humans.
  14. abu_
    abu_ April 14 2017 22: 58
    All weapons are with the Jews. Received by deception. It is used against the so-called goys. Therefore, it is necessary to give up all affairs and tackle the extermination of Jews. Run on the shaft. Otherwise, the number of Jewish cattle will never decline. No time.