Keeping control

Protect your assets with LRAD in the energy sectors

The LRAD system could help save your assets and save lives in the energy sector

Unfortunately, most perimeter security systems can only provide detection and surveillance capabilities through the integration of radar, motion sensors, cameras and the like.

The addition of the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) turns passive surveillance systems into remote first responders by providing a powerful communications platform and a permanent perimeter presence, thus reducing false alarms and protecting field security personnel from potentially deadly situations.

The LRAD Advantage

Developed for the US Navy in response to a deadly terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, LRAD is a ground-breaking acoustic hailing system which broadcasts critical information, warnings and powerful deterrent tones at extended ranges. What makes LRAD unique is its ability to transmit messages with exceptional intelligibility and tonal clarity in a highly directional torch-like beam, even over
significant ambient noise.

Utilising advanced sound reproduction technologies, LRAD is vastly superior to bullhorns or other portable mass notification systems. While most bullhorns are vaguely intelligible up to about 20metres, LRAD provides crystal-clear voice broadcasts over distances up to nine kilometres.

Mobile LRADs begin with the portable, hand-held 100X™ which weighs in at just 7kg and has a maximum operating range of 600metres. At the other end of the
mobile spectrum is the 1000Xi™ which can be mounted to a ship rail, vehicle roof or standard tow-bar/trailer hitch and communicates effectively over wind, diesel engine and crowd noises at up to three kilometres.

The LRAD-RX packs the same punch as the 1000Xi but is designed for integrated perimeter security solutions. It provides full 360° pan/tilt drive, is TCP/IP addressable and can be operated autonomously or from remote command and control centres.

With a measured MTBF of 50 000 hours, LRAD has successfully passed 40 US
government tests including military standards for heat, humidity, salt fog, shock and vibration. The build quality is equally impressive – moulded low smoke composites, stainless steel, 6061 aluminium (as used in aircraft wings and fuselages) and robust cables and coded connectors.

In short, LRAD enables operators to communicate, establish intent and change the behaviour of potentially hostile threats thus reducing the need for escalation of force and saving lives on both sides of the device.

Thousands of LRADs are in use in 35 countries across a broad range of industries wherever there is a need to communicate loud and clear at distance.

Wind farms and solar rays

Wind power is the fastest growing alternative energy solution but it has proven deadly when it comes to bird and bat safety. According to a September 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal, as many as 275 000 birds are being killed each year in the US due to fatal bird/wind turbine collisions.

The bird strike problem has become so serious that the search for measures to protect the avian population is slowing the growth of this vital source of renewable energy. In Japan alone – according to Industrial Wind Energy News – plans to build wind farms have been suspended in five of the country’s 13 proposed sites.

At another five sites, plans have been delayed or changed due to reports of endangered birds living or nesting around the wind farms. At the remaining three sites, environmental groups are demanding construction plans be reconsidered.

The latest generation avian radar systems are optimised for detecting the range, bearing and altitude of even the smallest birds.

The result of combining LRAD with avian radar systems is a comprehensive tool for actively managing wildlife incursions. At distances in excess of 2km, LRAD clearly transmits intense, directional sounds in a variety of tones and predator calls to deter birds and waterfowl from flying through wind turbines, defecating on solar panels or landing in control zones.

LRAD systems also double as a remote perimeter security solution by warning
trespassers away with automated vocal commands and deterrent tones triggered remotely, thus reducing vandalism and asset theft.

Mining and drilling operations

Mining and drilling operations that create large tailings ponds are particularly hazardous to migratory birds and wildlife. Animals are naturally attracted to the water sources which often contain dissolved toxic minerals that can prove lethal.

A growing number of governments are instituting legislation that requires these facilities to implement measures to prevent access by wildlife or face stiff financial penalties.

One mine operator in Canada recorded more than 1,000 bird deaths in a single season as a result of landing and drinking from tainted tailing ponds. After installing LRAD with avian radar detection, the mine operator recorded only six bird deaths during the following season which resulted in no fines being levied.

Preserving wildlife is but one of many ways in which LRAD systems can benefit companies in the mining, drilling, petrochemical and other heavy industrial sectors. The potentially dangerous nature of these operations – due to the necessary use of explosives or hazardous chemicals – means that health and safety in the workplace is paramount.

Companies have a moral obligation to be able to communicate loud and clear throughout their sites no matter how loud the ambient noise levels or harshness of terrain. Harnessing the power of LRAD as a mass notification system minimises the risk to life in the event of a chemical spill, or biological, radiological or nuclear incident.

The clarity and long range of LRAD broadcasts – including being heard through barriers such as vehicles or buildings – reduces the need for additional manpower and frees security and emergency response personnel to attend to other critical duties while maintaining a safe perimeter around the incident. LRAD systems can also be deployed to provide early warning of approaching severe weather systems – such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes or flooding – as well as landslides, earthquakes or tsunamis.

Oil and gas platforms

Oil and gas companies are utilising LRAD systems off the coasts of Western Africa and Australia and in the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Bengal to warn fishermen and intruders away from oil platforms. Operators of such platforms are concerned with the safety of fishermen and their boats as well as ensuring that their platforms are not accidentally damaged.

Nuclear and liquid natural gas plants

Nuclear and Liquid Natural Gas processing facilities are deploying LRAD systems to protect their waterside approaches. By giving port authorities the means to issue instructions that can be clearly understood over distance, LRAD enforces large standoff and safety zones, determines intent, provides the time for port authorities to scale their response and prevents uncertain situations from escalating into major security breaches.

The Ports of Corpus Christi and Ras Laffan (Qatar) have installed advanced security systems featuring the remotely operated LRAD-RX to broadcast hails and warnings to inbound ships not responding to radio calls at distances up to 3km from the port entrances.

For further information on these and many other industrial applications, please visit, sole suppliers of LRAD in southern Africa.  


Steve Bunker

Director: Acoustic Deterrent Systems

Tel: +27 (0) 21-712-6929

Fax: +27 (0) 86-620-1434

Cell: +27 (0) 83-253-8849


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This edition

Issue 39