Is it a bird? Is it Iron Man? No, it’s the Royal Marines.
Wiltshire-based jet suit developer Gravity Industries has teamed up with the Royal Marines to assess how their Jet Suit product can help in maritime boarding operations.
Marines tested out the futuristic kit over the water above the fast-moving rib before landing safely on the HMS Tamar off the UK’s south coast. The exercise was said to be a success.
Until now, maritime boarding – not to be confused with water boarding – involved helicopters and fast-roping soldiers moving one at a time onto vessels. The operations were slow, left marines vulnerable – and weren’t quite as fun.
The Royal Marines are not the only ones to have experimented: it’s been tested by paramedics in the Lake District hoping to reach casualties in a fraction of the time it would take by car or on foot.
The suit is already on sale commercially for a cool £340,000, although it’s currently out of stock at Selfridges. If you can’t wait, it’s possible to try out the suit while tethered to the ground at Goodwood Estate for just £2000, plus VAT. Or you can sign up for an individualised Jet Suit Pilot training programme at £6,000 a shot, plus VAT, and join only a handful of qualified pilots around the world. The Hound is contemplating having a go.