When I say the headline above in the title, my immediate reaction is how can something be semi-lethal? I know that this technology has been around for a while with the potential for crowd control and weaponization. Lets hope it is used in a non-lethal manner.
The cannons are built by farming company PDT Agro, which originally designed the sound blasters as a means of warding birds away from crops. Eventually, someone realized the powerful sonic blasts could do the same to people.
The weapon runs on LPG, a common cooking gas, which mixes with oxygen to generate powerful bursts of sound. Each sound burst lasts around 300 milliseconds, and generates a shockwave that travels from the cannon at almost six times the speed of sound.
Although it's intended to be less than lethal, the Thunder Generator cannon can cause death to people within 30 feet of the blast. For people farther away than 30 feet, the sonic boom will deafen them and knock them back, and hopefully disperse an unruly crowd.
The Israeli military hopes to use the sound blaster as an alternative to the rubber bullets and caustic chemicals they currently deploy against rioting Orthodox settlers and rock-throwing Palestinians alike. Either way, it sounds less dangerous than a weirding module.