The Royal Marines, the commando unit of the British military, are testing a jet suit that would enable them to conduct surprise operations against hostile targets.
Developed by Gravity Industries, this jet suit offers a revolutionary concept that could change the face of warfare. In a video released by the company, Royal Marines are shown with jetpacks to conduct VBSS (visit, board, search, and seizure) operations with their team.
It shows a marine taking off using his jet suit, approaching the target vessel, landing on it, and then pulling out his weapon to scan for potential threats.
This exercise is aimed at assessing how the commandos could use the jet suit to infiltrate and exfiltrate from a hostile environment.
This would also come in handy for police SWAT snipers or personnel from quick reaction teams who need to respond to an emergency call.
This jet suit uses four arm-thrusters producing 1,000 hp thrust, capable of reaching record speeds of over 80 mph- or around 130 kmph. It can reportedly reach altitudes of 12,000 feet — four times the height of Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa tower.
The same suit was worn by the company’s founder, Richard Browning, who broke his own previous record by reaching speeds of over 85 mph (137kmph) in 2019. Gravity is also working with UK ambulance services to allow paramedics to reach their required area in record time.
The speed this jet suit provides is more than most of the conventional ground military vehicles in service currently. The suit also offers flexibility in terms of the arm movements of the operator.
Last year, the Assault Teams of the Royal Navy and the rapid service support of the Royal Artillery had tested this suit.
Meanwhile, the British government has clarified the latest exercise by Royal Marines doesn’t mean that this system will be adopted by the service.
Victoria Bosomworth, an aerospace and defense analyst at GlobalData, says although the British Navy has stated the jetpacks are not currently in use with the Royal Marines and are very much still in the trial phase, integration of the technology into the UK’s arsenal could prove advantageous in many respects.
The jetpack technology potentially provides a stealthier and more mobile alternative for Marines, particularly as the technology advances and becomes increasingly streamlined.
“If proven successful in meeting necessary criteria, one of the long-term benefits jetpacks could provide is possible cost-saving within the Navy, reducing expenses in terms of infrastructure and maintenance as well as leading to potentially fewer rotorcraft procurements in the future,” according to a report published in Naval Technology.
The latter part of the video shows three marines landing smoothly on the ship’s helicopter deck, from three directions.
In a separate exercise, a Royal Marine demonstrated the ability to land on a transport ship, who dropped a rope, using which the rest of the team members boarded the ship and searched for hostile targets