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Boarding An Enemy Vessel Via Jetpack? The Royal Navy Can Do That.

In a simulation, the seaman took off from a pursuit boat and landed aboard the target ship in motion.

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The Royal Navy recently released video footage of trials it has been conducting to evaluate the use of personal jet suits to board enemy vessels, which sounds as cool as this looks. In the video, the seaman takes off from a pursuit boat that’s traveling at a good clip, turns and then flies to the enemy boat, boards it and lowers a rope ladder for his compatriots to join him on deck. Yes, we would have loved it if he’d landed with laser beam weapons blasting, but hey, this is real life we’re talking about. The lasers will come in due time.

The jet suit in the video is the very aptly named, JetSuit, a product of the very poorly named Gravity Industries. They should be “Anti-Gravity Industries,” amirite? The suit, which features arm-powered engines, has more than 1,000 hp behind it, claims the manufacturer.

When it comes to the Royal Navy’s trials, yes, we had questions too. Is the din of  the jet suit engines audible from the deck of the ship? You know it’s got to be loud. And if so, what would prevent someone on the ship from just shooting at it. And if the pilot did land successfully, might they be able to bring a better ladder? And why aren’t all of his comrades in jet suits, too?

Seriously, though, the technology, as cool as it is, seems to be hunting for use cases. One jet suit maker had a video of one of its folks flying to offer medical air to a hiker (it was all make-believe) who had gotten hurt high on a mountainside. Not that high, but high enough. It saved time, for sure, but does that situation really cry out for a jet suit? Especially since you can’t even carry a medical kit and you sure can’t carry anyone back down the hill with you.

In this case, boarding an enemy ship, we can think of few instances where this would really make a lot of sense, perhaps breaching an enemy compound, as with the Osama Bin Laden raid carried out by U.S. troops, coincidentally, almost 10 years ago to the day. Even in the case of such a raid, how much firepower could commandos bring with them? And, again, the noise is a huge issue. People are just going to hear it coming, right? 

Still, we love this video and are excited to see what cool ideas folks come up with next for the technology, which, I think everyone would agree, would be made even better with lasers.

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