Jetpacks are no longer the stuff of B movies and comic books. Though they’re hardly practical, they’re more than just a proof-of-concept. What once seemed relegated to the pages of science fiction is now being adapted for military applications. One recent demonstration shows just how versatile this new technology has become.
“Richard Browning, the inventor and CEO behind Gravity Industries, recently took his jet suit for a spin over the UK Royal Commando’s Commando Training Center in Lympstone, Devon,” The Verge writes.
Browning knows the course. He served as a Royal Marine reservist before starting Gravity industries in 2017.
His new suit, the Daedalus Mark 1, has two small jet engines on the back and two more on each arm. The coordination of these six engines provides lift and thrust and allows a skilled pilot to fly. Inside the helmet, a heads up display provides data on fuel consumption and flight.
Browning has been showing off his flying suits to the public, and those spectacles have attracted more attention from the military.
“Browning stopped by the training center to show off the suit before soldiers,” The Verge writes, “flying over a training obstacle course. This doesn’t appear to have been an audition to begin equipping British soldiers with their own jet packs, but it’s not hard to see that there could be military applications for such a device, which allow users considerable speed and freedom of movement.”
While the suits are clearly gaining traction for recreational use, they have a long way to go before they’re suited for battlefield use. While noise is not always an issue in battle, these jets are loud.
The position of the arm jets also limits the use of one’s arms. Holding a rifle while flying would be a challenge. Noisy soldiers flying about without a means of self defense would make easy targets for a conventionally grounded enemy.
Well you don’t see this everyday. A Commando trained ‘rocket man’ training on our assault course! pic.twitter.com/23IsRQRlqt
— Commandant of CTCRM (@ColMikeTanner) January 18, 2019
Still, as the video shows, Browning makes quick work of the obstacles. In this sense, the potential for military usage seems clear. What would the net generation of the Daedalus look like if it were purpose built for battle?