- A recent viral video depicts a man boarding a warship in a jetpack.
- The video is real, but the man is a Royal Marine aboard a Royal Navy warship, not a U.S. Navy.
- The jetpack was also recently used in a NATO search-and-rescue exercise.
A video from last spring — depicting a Royal Navy using a jetpack to launch itself from a moving boat to land on a nearby land patrol boat– started spreading like wildfire across social media this week, leaving people wondering if any of it was real. It appears that a number of Western armies are experimenting with the same jet suit, which also appeared in a recent NATO exercise.
The video was reposted dozens of times on social media, in some cases echoed with awful music that made it seem even less legal. But the footage is actually genuine. It illustrates a maritime boarding exercise that saw a Royal Navy take off from a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) and land on the stern of the offshore patrol vessel HMS. Tamar.
You can watch the full video (above) courtesy of the jetpack’s manufacturer, UK-based Gravity Industries.
A number of Western armies are experimenting with the Gravity Industries jet pack, including the United Kingdom’s Royal Marines. The Royal Marines, with 8,000 staff members, are significantly smaller than their American counterparts, but training is longer and more grueling. The Royal Marines are trying to embrace new technologies and tactics to make up for a lack of numbers, hence their interest in the jetpack.
Gravity Industries founder Richard Browning is a former Royal Marines reservist:
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The HMS Tamar boarding incident is eight months old, as the video dates back to May 2021, but a more recent use of the jetpack took place at the NATO Mountain Warfare Center for Excellence in the mountains of Slovenia. The CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) scenario involved a missing person in a ravine, and rescuers needed blood plasma to keep him alive. Participants used the jetpack to quickly bring life-saving plasma to the rescue team.
The Gravity Industries jet pack is powered by a system of five microturbine engines: two per arm and one on the pilot’s back. The turbines generate a theoretical total of 1,050 horsepower, giving the pilot a top speed of 56 miles per hour. Browning say the company is also working on electric and winged versions.
Gravity Industries’ publicity comes at a time when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigating single-plane aircraft for short piles across the battlefield. The system can take the form of a jetpack, but it can also be something else, such as a powered glider. Gravity’s jetpack, which meets the five-kilometer flight requirement, appears to have the edge over competitors. If so, we may eventually also see U.S. Marines tying up those jetpacks.
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