During a company conference call with financial analysts last week, Tom Brown, the chief executive of LRAD, a military contractor, informed investors that sales were rolling in, not just from Chinese government agencies and the U.S. Navy, but also from American law enforcement.
LRAD manufactures an acoustic cannon that can be used either as a mounted loudspeaker or as a weapon to fire deafening noises at crowds of people.
Over the last year, following a wave of protests over officer-involved killings of black Americans, LRAD has seen an uptick in inquiries from police departments around the country.
The LRAD device can reach 152 decibels, a level that can cause permanent hearing damage. In December, Vice reported on the potential dangers of the LRAD cannon, noting, “Permanent hearing loss begins with a sustained sound that’s louder than 90 dB SPL — for example, a subway train 200 feet away — but you won’t start to feel immediate pain until 120 decibels, about the loudness of a shotgun blast. At 160 dB — a little less loud than a rocket launch — your eardrum will burst.”