Royal Marines are taking a page out of Tony Stark’s playbook. A newly released video shows a Royal Marine commando using a Gravity Industries jet suit to board a moving ship in a training exercise. What would have sounded like science fiction not so long ago is now a reality. The bootneck demonstrated what appeared to be an innovative way of conducting VBSS (visit, board, search, and seizure). Sure, there are some kinks that need to be worked out — such as how not to look like a giant clay pigeon — but they’ve developed their technique enough to make using the jet suits seem plausible.
The video shows three rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) full of commandos as they close in on a warship. One of the Brits levitates from the rear boat, then flies beyond the formation and lands on the deck of the target ship. The full flight takes mere seconds. He quickly tosses a caving ladder over the side of the ship and turns to provide security with a pistol.
It’s easy to spot the potential weaknesses in this strategy: The one-man boarding party is loud, extremely vulnerable, and armed only with a pistol (presumably because of the cumbersome suit). But it’s safe to say this is just the beginning of jetpack VBSS. And while the Royal Marines may be the first to make a sweet jet-suit video, time will tell what unit will be the first to employ the futuristic new tactic during a real-world mission. Last year, recon Marine and close-quarters tactics instructor Staff Sgt. Gabriel Gillespie told Coffee or Die Magazine how he wished he could be equipped with a Mandalorian-style jetpack.
“That would definitely make our jobs a lot easier — and definitely cooler,” Gillespie said. “If I could never climb one of those ladders again, that would be great.”
Mac Caltrider is a senior staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine. He served in the US Marine Corps and is a former police officer. Caltrider earned his bachelor’s degree in history and now reads anything he can get his hands on. He is also the creator of Pipes & Pages, a site intended to increase readership among enlisted troops. Caltrider spends most of his time reading, writing, and waging a one-man war against premature hair loss.
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