The future of military aviation could possibly involve strapping on a gas turbine jet pack and zooming more than 50 miles per hour toward a target.
That’s according to Gravity Industries, manufacturer of the Jet Suit, which demonstrated its high-flying personal jet pack technology during a NATO mountain warfare rescue exercise held last month in Slovenia.
The Jetson-esque personal jet suit is powered by five gas turbine engines that generate more than 1,000 horsepower and produce 144 kg of thrust that allows vertical lift of up to 12,000 feet, according to the company. The personal propulsion system moves at speeds of more than 50 mph and has a typical flight time of up to four minutes. It runs on jet fuel, diesel, or kerosene.
Gravity Industries, which launched in 2017, says the technology is prime for search and rescue and medical rescue operations, such as that demonstrated during the NATO Mountain Warfare Exercise conducted in December.
The NATO Mountain Warfare Center hosted a small units leader course in Slovenia from December 6 to 17. While Gravity Industries was not involved in the course, it participated in an exercise with demonstration of its jet suit.
“This was the first time this technology was used during a NATO mountain warfare exercise,” NATO Mountain Warfare Centre spokesperson Master Sgt. Marko Pogorevc told FLYING.
“A privilege to take part in a NATO Mountain Warfare Exercise supporting a gorge rescue,” the company wrote on its YouTube page highlighting the exercise. “The scenario sees a soldier require extraction from a very challenging scenario and receive urgent medical care. The demand for blood plasma is provided by the Jet Suit pilot who can respond instantly and cover any terrain very quickly in any weather.”
The December demonstration is among the latest for the company, which has showcased the technology’s potential military applications during the past year. Last spring, Gravity demonstrated the Jet Suit during separate ship boarding exercises with the Royal Marines, as well as Dutch Maritime Special Operations Force in the Netherlands.
In May, Gravity tested the Jet Suit’s capability during boarding of the HMS Tamar, a Royal Navy offshore patrol ship. Video of the exercise could have been plucked from a Hollywood thriller: Three patrol boats approach the ship at speed, as a man wearing the Jet Suit launches from the last boat, flying above the ocean’s surface before landing with precision on the ship’s deck.
A similar demonstration was conducted in April alongside Dutch special operations forces and “shows how the Gravity Jet Suit can rapidly provide first foot security, access and boarding ladder installation, plus target relocation and self-ExFil,” or extraction, Gravity said.