Royal Navy testing Iron Man-style ‘jet pack’ suits to swarm enemy ships

Royal Navy servicemen using jet packs are seen hovering over New York Harbour as they head towards the HMS Queen Elizabeth - You Tube/Gravity Industries
Royal Navy servicemen using jet packs are seen hovering over New York Harbour as they head towards the HMS Queen Elizabeth – You Tube/Gravity Industries

The Royal Navy has been trialling Iron Man-style jet packs it hopes can be used to swarm enemy ships.

They have been designed by Gravity Industries and use more than 1,000bhp of jet engine power to reach speeds of more than 85mph and can fly for more than 10 minutes.

The Salisbury-based firm’s founder and chief test pilot Richard Browning served in the British Royal Marines before becoming a jet pack mogul.

Footage has emerged of servicemen using the state-of-the-art tactical suits in scenes reminiscent of Robert Downey Jr’s Marvel character or the James Bond film Thunderball.

Navy members hovered over the Atlantic Ocean with helmet-steered weapon mounts and tactical suits waving Union Jack flags - You Tube/Gravity Industries
Navy members hovered over the Atlantic Ocean with helmet-steered weapon mounts and tactical suits waving Union Jack flags – You Tube/Gravity Industries

Mr Browning flew his own 5-engine jet pack suit around the HMS Queen Elizabeth and his company released a video that showed its operators working with the Royal Marines to launch from rigid inflatable boats and land aboard the Royal Navy Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol ship HMS Tamar.

The Royal Navy has been testing out the concept of jet suit assault teams for about two years and last year confirmed jet packs could be used to storm boats in dangerous stealth missions.

A spokesman said: “Marines use stealth and speed to board suspect vessels and are specialists in terrorist takedowns and anti-smuggling and piracy operations around the world.

“The commandos work in small teams in fast raiding boats to board suspicious vessels with the help of maritime snipers in Wildcat helicopters and drones.

“The trial looked at the utility of the jet suit – which allows the user to fly – in maritime boarding operations and the specialist vertical access techniques associated to them.”

The Royal Navy has been testing out the concept of jet suit assault teams for about two years - You Tube/Gravity Industries
The Royal Navy has been testing out the concept of jet suit assault teams for about two years – You Tube/Gravity Industries

Last month the Navy showcased the suits when HMS Queen Elizabeth was in New York to host the Atlantic Future Forum (AFF), which is described as a “defence, security, trade and technology summit hosted by the UK Government”.

Alex Wilson, an air engineering technician, was one of the servicemen to circle the Harbour in the revolutionary flight.

A pair of servicemen have been filmed soaring over New York Harbour and landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth in a spectacle shown as part of the two-day AFF.

Passengers on other ships looked in awe as they hovered over the Atlantic Ocean with helmet-steered weapon mounts and tactical suits, waving Union Jack flags.

Richard Browning, founder and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries, served in the British Royal Marines before becoming a jet pack mogul - Anthony Upton
Richard Browning, founder and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries, served in the British Royal Marines before becoming a jet pack mogul – Anthony Upton

The AFF focuses on Anglo-American military, political and strategic relations and looks to explore “international security and the future technologies which will define the next decade and beyond”.

Officials also sought to “strengthen the trade and economic pillars of the Euro-Atlantic alliance and reinforce our security and defence partnerships with like-minded, democratic allies”.

The £3.2billion 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth set sail from its home base in Portsmouth earlier in September to act as a stand-in for sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales – which was meant to be sailing to America but broke down near the Isle of Wight hours after departing.

At 280 metres long, with a lifespan of half a century and a flight deck of four acres, the aircraft carrier is Britain’s largest and most powerful warship ever built.

Published by anthonyhayble

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