by Insha Shirazi
SRINAGAR: The Indian Army is gearing up to turn their soldiers into real-life ‘Iron Man’ with the help of jet pack suits that will provide them with enhanced surveillance capabilities at the country’s borders with China and Pakistan, as well as in the conflict ridden region of Jammu and Kashmir, The EurAsian Times reported.
These suits are propelled by engines running on gas or liquid fuel and can carry a person weighing at least 80 kilograms while flying at a speed of at least 50 kilometers per hour for a minimum of eight minutes. The Indian Army recently got a demonstration of the technology from the UK-based company, Gravity Industries, owned by ex-marine and innovator Richard Browning.
🔴British Firm #GravityIndustries gave a capability demonstration of its #Daedalus Flight Pack to the #IndianArmy in Agra. Indian Army aims to procure 48 jet packs.
🎥 Video : @chiraggupta1969 pic.twitter.com/vl6INYojnz
— IDU (@defencealerts) February 27, 2023
Quoting an Indian Army official, The EurAsian Times reported that the jet pack suits are coming as an aerial surveillance platform, and their effectiveness will vary depending on the terrain, wind factor, and vegetation. However, the army is also exploring the possibility of equipping soldiers with infrared goggles to scan through thick vegetation to identify enemy combatants.
The Indian Army’s requirements for the purchase specify that the equipment should be suitable for desert, marine, and mountain warfare. Military strategists are also considering the use of jet pack suits as another significant disruptor in the tactical battle space, similar to drone technology on the battlefield.
The technology can be used as a force multiplier to counter terrorists in urban and semi-urban settings. According to Gravity Industries, the military version of the jet suit is powered by five gas turbine engines that generate more than 1,000 horsepower and produce 144 kilograms of thrust, allowing vertical lift of up to 12,000 feet.
The Indian Navy’s marine commando (MARCOS) also sees potential in the jet pack suits as a mode of insertion, allowing soldiers to gain vantage points for reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, or placing a sniper. Additionally, the suits can be used for quick exhilaration.
The UK’s Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps already use these jet pack suits in various limited roles. The Indian Army’s interest in this innovative technology comes in the backdrop of skirmishes with the People’s Liberation Army along the Line of Actual Control between India and China.