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Commentary

Cutting Edge Jetpack Boarding Suit Turns Naval Interceptions Into a Nightmare for Bad Guys

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Bad guys the world over will soon have one more thing to keep them up at night: commandos in jet suits descending on them from the skies.

British Royal Marines from the 42 Commando and 47 Commando units participated in an exercise with Richard Browning, the founder and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries, in which they demonstrated their ability to use jet suits to successfully board vessels at sea.

Video of the demonstration has since gone viral.



In the video, Browning is equipped with a jet suit and is seen flying from a small RIB and boarding the patrol boat HMS Tamar before drawing his sidearm and throwing down a ladder for his less terrifyingly equipped compatriots to board with.

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The footage presents a definitively high-tech new tool for America and its allies to explore using in the field, and looks like something that might be more expected to appear in a Star Wars or Avengers film than the English Channel.

Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord, applauded the demonstration on Twitter, hailing the jet suit as a “game-changing kit.”

Indeed, provided the jet suit continues to work admirably, it could help to replace risky boarding techniques currently being utilized, such as having units rope down from helicopters one at a time.

Should the U.S. invest in jet suits for its military?

“The vision with the Jet Suit is to provide extremely rapid access to any part of the target vessel, instantly freeing up hands to bear a weapon, and even retaining the capability to relocate on target or self-exfiltrate,” Gravity Industries stated in a news release, according to Reuters.

For all their glory, however, the British were not the only ones lucky enough to try their hand at sci-fi.

Soldiers from the Netherlands Maritime Special Operations Force also got to play with the jet suit in their own video last month, demonstrating the suit’s capabilities to allow soldiers to successfully board and exfiltrate an enemy vessel.



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To say that the awesome footage was well-received online would be an understatement.

“REAL-LIFE IRONMAN!” Pittsburgh journalist Tim Williams tweeted in response to the videos.

The suit is certainly amazing, as is the ability to drop the good guys where they need to be without having to scale the side of a ship or pull in a helicopter under fire.

But its uses are far from being all combat all the time.

Indeed, Gravity Industries released another video last year demonstrating the potential application of the jet suit by mountain rescue forces, who could feasibly leverage the suit to quickly climb and scour difficult terrain in search and rescue missions.



For now, the suit and technologies like it offer the mere potential for applications in anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and first responder organizations. It is, as of yet, unclear if or when the suit will be adopted as approved gear by any military.

Nevertheless, the future of war has appeared, and it looks totally awesome.

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Andrew Thornebrooke is a writer specializing in foreign policy and national security. He is the executive editor of The Rearguard and a MA candidate in military history at Norwich University.
Andrew Thornebrooke is an American writer working at the crossroads of communications and policy advocacy. He is an expert in intranational conflict and national security.

He is the founder of The Rearguard, a weekly column dedicated to exploring issues of culture, defense, and security within the context of a receding Western Civilization.

Andrew is a MA candidate in military history at Norwich University where his research focuses on non-state military actors, partisanship, and the philosophy of war. A McNair Scholar and public speaker, he has presented research at several institutions including Cornell, Fordham, and the CUNY Graduate Center.

His bylines appear in numerous outlets including The Free-Lance Star, Independent Journal Review, InsideSources, The Lowell Sun, and The Western Journal.
Nationality
American
Topics of Expertise
Defense; Military Affairs; National Security




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