First export success of the JetPack Aviation JB12
The armies of different countries are showing interest in the subject of jetpacks and are even studying available samples. Various tests are being carried out, the purpose of which is to determine the real possibilities and prospects of such technology. At the same time, not a single sample has yet been adopted for supplying the army. However, from the last News it follows that this may happen in the very near future. One of the leading developers of such equipment, JetPack Aviation, received the first order from the military department.
Demonstrations and contract
The creators of the future JetPack Aviation have been experimenting in the field of individual aircraft since the nineties. In 2016, they founded a new company, which is now developing ideas and creating various designs. To date, several samples and projects of various kinds have been created.
The company's latest and most advanced jetpack product is the JB12. It is a military modification of the previously created civilian JB11. For reasons of secrecy, the appearance of the military knapsack has not yet been revealed, although some of its differences from the base model are known.
The JB12 is already capturing the attention of potential customers. So, in the fall of 2019, a demonstration of such a knapsack was held to the special forces of the US Navy SEAL. The details of this event were not disclosed, but one can imagine what happened there and what kind of check the knapsack passed.
Recently it became known that the JB12 product became the subject of a real contract for the first time. The armed forces of an unnamed country in Southeast Asia ordered two of these backpacks for their needs. The cost of the contract is USD 800 thousand. The customer will receive the equipment within the next six months. For what purposes the satchels are purchased is not reported.
The manufacturing company notes that the first order confirms the high potential of the JB12 product. The contract also speaks of the compliance of the knapsack with the requirements of the armies. The strengths that interested the customer are also listed. So, the backpack is small in size, and high flight characteristics allow it to be used in a wide range of missions. In addition, the product can easily be integrated with another development of JetPack Aviation - the Speeder light aircraft, which has already been of interest to the US Air Force.
The military jetpack JB12 is based on the JB11 product. The latter is an ultralight aircraft capable of lifting itself, the pilot and some small cargo into the air. The unladen weight of the structure is 115 lb (52 kg). A flight is provided at a speed of up to 120 miles per hour (193 km / h), the duration of the flight, depending on various factors, reaches 10 minutes.
The jetpack is built on the basis of a complex frame on which all the main units are installed. In the center of the structure, there is a seat for the pilot with a belt system, behind which is a large fuel tank. On either side of the pilot and the tank are two sets of three compact turbojets with a total thrust of 530 lb (240 kg). Control is carried out using two front handles equipped with screens for issuing flight information.
Takeoff, landing and altitude maneuvers are carried out by changing the total thrust of the turbojet engine. Maneuvering is performed both by changing the thrust of the motors and by swinging them in a vertical plane using a separate drive.
JetPack Aviation has developed an original digital control system for jetpacks. It is able to track the position of the product and the pilot in the air, flight parameters, etc. In addition, the automation constantly monitors the operation of the engines and maintains their parameters in accordance with the current flight mode. It is possible to compensate for a failed engine.
The developer notes the ease of use of the JB11 backpack. The basic training of the "pilot" requires only 10 days with theoretical and practical lessons. An advanced course of longer duration is also provided. Apparently, the training of a special forces fighter, including piloting in different conditions and other aspects of the combat use of equipment, will be even longer.
According to known data, the JB12 military jetpack is slightly lighter than the base one - 105 pounds versus 115. The flight performance remains the same. Other details were not published.
The jetpack from JetPack Aviation has been shown at least once to representatives of the US military. It can also be assumed that a similar demonstration took place prior to the signing of the first supply contract to an unnamed country. Obviously, during such events, the company showed the main capabilities of its development, incl. with simulation of application in real operation.
It is known that the US Army considers jetpacks as an individual air transport capable of increasing the mobility of a soldier on the battlefield or in other conditions, even with some restrictions. In addition, with the help of such a technique, it is possible to carry out a quick transfer of entire units. An aircraft for military purposes must show the maximum possible flight characteristics, and also have a capacity reserve for transporting a fighter's equipment.
The ability of jetpacks to increase the mobility of fighters has already been demonstrated many times in various tests and demonstration events. For example, not so long ago, the Royal Navy of Great Britain studied the possibility of using the Gravity Industries knapsack in maritime operations. Then the tester took off from the motor boat, quickly caught up with the battleship, "landed" on the deck and helped the main group to board. After a short battle with a conditional enemy, the tester flew back.
However, the JB11 and, probably, the JB12 retains the characteristic shortcomings of the entire class of technology. There is a limited amount of fuel on board the backpack, which reduces the possible flight duration, which also depends on the modes. In addition, the product has extremely low combat resistance and survivability. There is no protection of vital components, and its installation is simply impossible.
Nevertheless, it is believed that special forces and other structures of the armed forces can master jetpacks and receive new capabilities or advantages. However, this requires a competent organization of the operation, taking into account the pros and cons of technology, as well as reducing possible risks of a technical and combat nature.
In leading positions
It should be noted that JetPack Aviation is not the first company to manage to bring its jetpacks up to demonstration and testing at a military base. At the same time, she turns out to be a leader in another - she managed not only to interest the army of a third country, but also to get a real order, which is also an important achievement.
Under the terms of the contract, the contractor has not yet named a buyer. However, it is obvious that the unknown country of Southeast Asia will not hide for a long time, and at the first opportunity it will show an unusual technique. According to the test results, JB12 backpacks can be adopted and ordered a series. In this case, this army will become the first official operator of jetpacks in stories.
It is unlikely that this step will give the customer army any real military advantages. However, it will become a reason for pride, which can also be important. Meanwhile, the development company, satisfied with its latest successes, is developing various projects, making bold plans for the future and looking forward to receiving new profitable orders.
- Ryabov Kirill
- JetPack Aviation, Gravity Industries
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.