USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea -- Carefully formed messages surged out of the portable communication device as the MV-22 Osprey circled the ship. Over the thunderous sounds of the rotor blades and the considerable distance, the men and women on the deck received the message loud and clear.
Marines with Military Information Support Operations, Command Element, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, tested the effectiveness of the Long Range Acoustic Device 100X from an MV-22 Osprey here, Sept. 17.
The LRAD 100X is a small, portable speaker capable of fitting in a backpack. It is used to clearly broadcast messages at distances up to 1,000 meters.
The test ensured the device could be operated effectively over the noise of the Osprey. Two LRAD devices were tethered together in order to boost the volume and compensate for the surrounding aircraft noise. The LRAD met expectations by providing a crisp, clear message over the thunderous sound of the aircraft’s rotors from more than 500 meters away.
“We had to make sure the message could be heard in both helicopter and airplane mode on the Osprey,” said Sgt. Miguel A. Lopez, the 27-year-old MISO team leader with CE, 31st MEU, and a native of Santa Anna, Calif. “Even though we tested in less than optimal conditions with multiple other aircraft operating in the area, we were able to confirm the messages could be heard.”
The LRAD is a valuable asset for humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, surrender appeals to enemy forces, and visit, board, search, and seizure operations. The multi-faceted piece of equipment has broad potential for implementation.
“It is really up to the imagination of the commander on how the LRAD can be utilized,” said Capt. Kyle Wolfe, the 30-year-old commanding officer of Company E., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st MEU, and a native of St. Joseph, Ill. “The LRAD can be used in anything from communicating to a large group of people to simulating a vehicle or weapon system coming from a different location than the actual raid force.”
Although success was expected by the MISO team, one of the results was not. The team expected the speed of airplane mode to be more challenging to the equipment.
“We were surprised to find out that the messages were clearer in airplane mode than in helicopter mode,” said Sgt. Wesly T. Weber, the 25-year-old military information support operations non-commissioned officer in charge with CE, 31st MEU, and a native of Rochester, N.Y.
The MISO team will continue testing the LRAD system in every available situation while attached to the 31st MEU in order to identify its usefulness for a wide range of contingencies. The 31st MEU is currently conducting their regularly scheduled Fall Patrol. The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness for the Asia-Pacific region and is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU.