U.S. Navy photo via Wikimedia Commons

Following the UK’s successful testing of its own Gravity Industries’ jetpacks for its Royal Marine Commandos, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting ideas for “portable personal air mobility systems.” This is Defense Department-speak for “one-person powered flight platforms, including jetpacks and powered wingsuits,” notes Popular Mechanics (PM).

These jet suits, explains PM, will allow troops to “zip across the battlefield to fight in cities, rescue downed pilots, or enter or exit the battlefield.”

The Royal Marines’ jetpacks, which cost $440,000 each, use micro gas turbines for lift and are initially intended as a way to quickly board ships at sea. As seen in this amazing video.

DARPA’s request may go in a much different direction, perhaps funding a stealthier, quieter system powered by small, lightweight batteries.

The DARPA solicitation states that:

Some examples of technologies of interest include jetpacks, powered gliders, powered wingsuits, and powered parafoils which could leverage emerging electric propulsion technologies, hydrogen fuel cells or conventional heavy fuel propulsion systems.

To get there, DARPA will pay up to $1.5 million in development costs to whomever presents the best ideas for a powered flight system capable of quickly moving a single person.

Kyle Mikozami explains what this translates to in real terms for the individual soldier, sailor, airman or Marine:

Whatever it is, DARPA wants the personal air mobility system to fit in one bag or box and be ready to go after just 10 minutes of assembly. The system should be capable of low- to medium-altitude flight and have a range of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).

Ultimately, these flying suits could be used by specialized military units for combat search and rescue, Maritime interdiction, and special operations forces (infiltration/exfiltration), as well as “augmented urban combat.” Ironman may be closer than we think.

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Omega 2
Omega 2
1 year ago

WASTE OF TAX PAYERS MONE HERE TRYING TO PLAY ” BUCK ROGERS ” HERE! THEYWOULD BE SITTING DUCKS FOR DURE!

Green Dragon
Green Dragon
1 year ago
Reply to  Omega 2

And I doubtless can guess where you would want the research money to be spent. Nice caps, by the way. Do you stress out often?

Green Dragon
Green Dragon
1 year ago
Reply to  Omega 2

It seems as if you just locked down the caps on your KB and typed as fast as you could, so you could troll another comment, complete with misspellings, and poor grammar. You might be more influential if you would work on those little issues.

Pawn
Pawn
1 year ago
Reply to  Green Dragon

grammer police. Me I am phonically impaired, have bad fingers, and just can’t spell. So I guess I am dumb with no education and experiences. But wait, I will compare either any time.

Recce1
Recce1
1 year ago
Reply to  Pawn

Why not use a spelling/grammar checker? I do as “Im ah vry por faat fingedred speeler”. 😉

To be forthright, as I was taught in high school through graduate school and in the military, good writing skills are ESSENTIAL in getting messages across, understood, and accepted. Otherwise, one DOES come across as “dumb with no education and experiences” and thus disregarded – at best.

So rather than appear benighted, show how erudite you are by not being semi-illiterate, illiterate, or aliterate while trying to be alliterative.

A curmudgeon grammar police having fun. 😉

Ray
Ray
1 year ago
Reply to  Omega 2

I wan to do it1

Robert Hardesty
Robert Hardesty
1 year ago

What a waste, the Military Services need strong Men and Women that can Fight. We do not need Encounter Groups.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Test sites: Hawaii, Edwards AFB CA, Pt Mugu CA, Yuma AZ, Miami, Las Vegas NV
No Africa, Iraq.
& with NATO forces
US Mex border