Jet suits are commonly associated with science fiction movies or shows, but high-tech miniature turbine engines have quickly advanced this new type of mobility to become a reality.
Now Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is searching for an Iron Man-style jet suit as per its new solicitation on website Sam.Gov (System for Award Management). DARPA is calling on private industry to deliver jet suits or "Portable Personal Air Mobility System."
DARPA requests, "these platforms could serve a variety of military missions, enabling cost-effective mission utility and agility in areas such as personnel logistics [and] urban augmented combat." Some requirements include a range of at least 3.1 miles, can take off anywhere, and assembly in under ten minutes. "Systems may be air deployed to allow for [infiltration] to hostile territory, or ground deployed to allow for greater off-road mobility," DARPA wrote.
Jet suits have already been well-established technology in the last five years.
British jet suit company, Gravity Industries, unveiled its "flying" medic jet suit in October. The company showed how first responders could use the flying suit, powered by multiple kerosene-fuelled micro gas turbines, to respond to emergency incidents in rugged terrain quickly. Here's a clip of a mock rescue:
WATCH: U.K.-based company, Gravity Industries, has been working with paramedics in the rural Lake District to test their jet suit's capabilities in emergency situations. pic.twitter.com/AvOHsUgr5C— NBC News World (@NBCNewsWorld) September 29, 2020
The Royal Navy has also been testing a real-life version of Marvel's Tony Stark jet suit. The service may use the jet suits "to rapidly swarm and board ships," according to the U.S. Naval Institute.
#FunFactFriday - The Royal Navy has been testing Jet Suit assault teams to determine if the Iron Man-like suits could be used to rapidly swarm and board ships. U.S. Special Operations Command is also evaluating a jetpack that can reach speeds of more than 200 mph. pic.twitter.com/mo5FoGWkDu— U.S. Naval Institute (@NavalInstitute) October 16, 2020
California-based JetPack Aviation is working on a version of the jet suit that could carry soldiers 200 miles an hour, for up to 10 minutes.
The request also states: "When deployed, the platform will be designed with simplified operations in mind, so that someone unfamiliar with the platform could be educated in its safe and effective use with relatively little training."
Jet suits are on their way to the modern battlefield and perhaps could be in civilian use before the military.