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August 20, 2005
Military sound system tested by hovercraft and Coastguard teams

Andy Philips and Mark Webster of Audio Nation

A powerful new communication system used by the military and police to provide advice and warnings to people several hundred metres away was tested by Burnham-On-Sea's marine rescue services this week.

The Medium Range Acoustic Device (MRAD) could be used to communicate with casualties in mud and sea rescues along the Somerset coast if it were to be purchased in the future.

Coastguards try out the communication systemThe system was set-up near Brean Down Fort this week to let the Coastguard and BARB, the group that runs the hovercraft, carry out informal tests by communicating with crew members more than 500 metres away at the trig point on the top of the Down without the need for conventional radios or handsets.

The tests were carried out during a two-hour long search and rescue exercise on the Down.

Andy Philips, a director at Weston-based Audio Nation, the company that is distributing the equipment in the UK, explained how the hailing system works.

"It turns sound into a beam effect and lets people throw their voices over several hundred metres. It's unaffected by wind noise or bad weather conditions - the sound of someone's voice will still get through."

"It's already used on a day-to-day basis in Iraq by the military to clearly communicate with with civilians, some of whom are hostile, from a safe distance.

"It could be used here by the hovercraft or Coastguard to send warnings to casualties in mud or on the sea, advising them that help is on the way or offering them safety advice."

Pictured at the top of this page are Mark Webster and Andy Phillips of Audio Nation.


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