Controversial weapons known as ‘sonic cannons’ will be used during the London Olympics, the Ministry of Defence revealed yesterday.
The devices emit a pain-inducing noise, said to be as loud as a military jet taking off, which can be used to disperse crowds.
The Long Range Acoustic Device, which is made in America, will also be used to control possible riots at the football European Championships this summer.
The devices were tested by the MoD last week during a major security exercise before the Olympics.
They can emit noises of up to 150 decibels and are said to be highly directional, meaning security forces are able to point the devices at clear target groups.
A video of the device being used at a G20 protest in the US shows demonstrators running away covering their ears.
As well as emitting ear-splitting tones, the device can also be used to communicate verbal messages to crowds, such as telling them to disperse.
A spokesman for the MoD said the weapon would be used ‘primarily in loud hailer mode’.
The device has previously been used by the US Army in Iraq, while the US Navy has used them in operations against Somali pirates.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘As part of the military contribution to the police led security effort to ensure a safe and secure games, a broad range of assets and equipment is being used by our armed forces.’
The MoD is undertaking a huge security operation to deal with possible terrorist threats during the upcoming Olympic Games.
The security services caused controversy last month when they confirmed that surface-to-air missiles would be placed on top of residential flats close to the Olympic Stadium.
The ‘Higher Velocity Missile system’ will operate on the roof of Bow Quarter in east London, which houses 700 residents.
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