The Indian Army might soon have its soldiers in jet pack suits to defend the borders with China and Pakistan. According to a report by the Eurasian Times on Tuesday (May 9), the army might soon have soldiers in “Iron Man” suits in semi-urban and urban warfare scenarios. Speaking to the publication, an army officer in Jammu and Kashmir, who chose to remain anonymous, said the jet pack suits are coming as an aerial surveillance platform.
The officer pointed out that the effectiveness of these suits would vary from place to place. “For instance, it will be less effective in terrain with thick vegetation. Also, the wind factor has to be catered for in higher reaches of mountains,” the officer added. Eurasian Times reported that with the conversation with the officer, it appeared that jet pack suits could soon debut in the valley.
Another officer highlighted that jet-packing would not be just about propelling through the air. The soldier could be equipped with other technologies such as infrared goggles to scan thick vegetation to identify enemy combatants.
In February this year, the Army Borne Training School (AATS) in Agra got a demonstration of jet pack suits from Gravity Industries, a British company founded by Richard Browning, an ex-Marine. Taking to Twitter, the Indian Aerospace Defence News (IADN) shared a video of Browning giving the demonstration of the jet pack system to the Indian Army.
As per Gravity Industries, the jet pack suit is powered by five gas turbines which can generate over 1,000 horsepower and produce 144 kg of thrust. The speed of the suit is typically in excess of 60 kilometres per hour (km/ph). The jet pack can run on Jet A1 Kerosene and Premium Diesel.
In January, the Indian Defence Ministry said that it intended to buy 48 jet pack suits under emergency procurement through Fast Track Procedure (FTP) under Buy (Indian) category and sought participation in the procurement process from prospective bidders subject to requirements.
“The Government of India invites responses to this request only from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) or Authorised Vendors or Government Sponsored Export Agencies (applicable in the case of countries where domestic laws do not permit direct export by OEM) subject to the condition that in cases where the same equipment is offered by more than one of the aforementioned parties, preference would be given to the OEM,” the ministry said in its proposal on January 24.