“A ground breaking capability to communicate with and dissuade individuals or groups at ranges greater than 250m (800ft).”
Designed in accordance with detailed advice and feedback from the UK Police, the A-WASP® is intended to be a practical tool that is a new softer alternative to the early use of less-lethal technologies – giving the user more options in defusing a conflict or safety situation before it escalates and also providing an additional step before deploying harsher methods if ultimately unavoidable.
The A-WASP® allows the projection of extremely clear audio messages out to a range of 250m (800ft) or more.
It is also capable of projecting a highly directional beam of sound towards targeted individuals or small groups in “intense-sound-mode”. The sound is a complex waveform which employs psycho-acoustic principals to maximise the impression of intensity at the target, i.e. it seems a lot louder than it really is. This makes it possible to operate the device within existing Health and Safety legislation in both the EU and North America.
As an extremely assertive warning system, its effect is to assure the attention of individuals or small groups and communicate with them providing clear messages or instructions at range. However, the device is harmless in its use and therefore presents a new tactical option to Police forces that fits between a simple direct verbal warning, which can only be delivered at short range, and currently available Less Lethal Weapons within the overall force escalation spectrum.
The device is designed to be worn on a shoulder strap by a Police Officer and to be highly intuitive to use. It is configured as a “sound gun” with a handle and a trigger and so is very easy to understand. There are only four buttons – the trigger and a safety switch on the grip; and buttons for pre-recorded verbal messages and to activate the laser range finder on the top – so the interface is very straightforward. It is designed to be used by one Officer and is fully man-portable.
There is a sunlight-readable LCD which displays the live feed from a coaxial camera along with overlaid user information.
The LCD displays cross-hairs for easy targeting by the user. In addition, there is a time and date stamp along with a battery life indicator. The information at the top corner is the distance measured by the on-board laser range finder, plus the safe daily exposure time calculated for the sound level at that distance.
Effect of A-WASP®
As a precursor to tools within the Force Escalation Spectrum, the A-WASP® cannot be classed as a Less Lethal Weapon (LLW); it is in fact a projected warning system – but a very assertive one.
As a communication tool the A-WASP® can be used to alert, warn and communicate with individuals or groups at ranges up to 250m (800ft) or more.
If this proves insufficient; it can generate a narrow intense beam of sound to target individuals or small groups – “intense-sound-mode”. This proprietary acoustic waveform is designed to be as stark and piercing as possible by using a mix of psycho-acoustic principals. At range it cuts through loud ambient noise, even at 120m, acting as a clear warning to the target. The warning is aided by shrouded high brightness LEDs which draw the eye of the target to the device. Experiments have demonstrated that it can act as an effective warning at >>120m (400ft) with ambient sound levels at >90dB LAeq.
Expert opinion states that alerting a target to direct Police scrutiny is often enough to get them to desist.
At closer ranges the intensity increases exponentially. From 60m (200ft) or below (depending on the target) it starts to become unpleasant, from 20m (66ft) or below it is extremely unpleasant and acts as a significant deterrent.
In many cases this should be enough to end a conflict situation but if a target continues to approach or persist with their unlawful behaviour then the Officer has demonstrated intent and may be vindicated in moving up the Force Escalation Spectrum to deploy more hazardous LLWs.
So, the A-WASP® bridges the gap between warning and a LLW; providing a ranged communication and warning which can seamlessly escalate into a deterrent if need be.
It will not stop a very determined target but will serve to demonstrate intent and thereby vindicate a more forceful additional response.
As use of the device conforms to a pre-existing legal framework, the A-WASP® will be highly defensible in law.
The system incorporates a video camera, range finder and other telemetry which record how it is used. This audit trail will vindicate use of the device both in a court of law and in the court of public opinion.