Sean Connery first used it in Thunderball while the US army used it to drop troops into battlefields.
Now if the grand plans of the Andhra Pradesh police materialise, one will soon see commandos of the the anti-terror outfit Octopus do a 007. The AP police plan to purchase a Jetpack (flying machine) to aid counter-terror ops.
The seriousness of their plan can be gauged from the fact that tenders have already been floated for the acquisition, which will be a first in the country.
Police sources disclosed to Express that after several rounds of consultations, the state police have decided to acquire one Jetpack at the earliest.
The tender was floated on Nov. 16 and the deadline for it is Dec.5.
Perhaps learning lessons from the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, where it took the NSG commandos quite some time to fly to Mumbai and then risk their lives getting atop the Taj and Trident hotels and Nariman House, the idea the AP police is to ensure that commandos reach atop buildings in double quick time to take up antiterror operations.
‘’It is a very costly equipment but is useful in counterterrorist operations. Commandos have to be trained to be able to use the equipment. Within a matter of seconds, the commando would be able to land atop a high-rise building and take up operations,’’ officials explained.
According to the tender notification, which lays down the specifications for a Jetpack, the equipment, made of composite materials and engineered to be lightweight, strong and rigid, must be able to go up to 8,000 feet in the air and have a range of 30 miles.
One of the key requirements from the company dealing in Jetpacks is that it should meet the requirements of the Directorate- General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
‘’A certificate from DGCA, stating that it (Jetpack) can be used in India without licence, should be obtained by the vendor,’’ it says.
Going into the technical specifications, the state police said the equipment must have flight and engine displays, ballistic parachutes, retractable undercarriage with a fuel capacity of 5 gallons.
“One has to weigh more than 63.5 kg and less than 108.9 kg,’’ sources said.
The Jetpack is constructed from a carbon fibre composite, has a dry weight of 250 pounds (excluding safety equipment) and measures 5 ft high x 5.5 ft wide x 5 ft long. It’s driven by a 2.0 L V4 2 stroke engine rated at 200 hp (150 kw) at 600 rpm, can reach 8000 ft (estimated) and each of the two 1.7 ft wide rotors is made from a carbon composite.
Sources said the leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art Jetpacks is the New Zealand-based company, The Martin Aircraft Company. The company is already in discussions for specialist commercial uses in defence and civil defence.
The Martin Jetpack is the world’s first practical jetpack. It consists of a purpose-built gasoline engine driving twin-ducted fans which produce sufficient thrust to lift the aircraft and a pilot in a vertical takeoff and landing, and enable sustained flight. The Jetpack can take off from a small space and is easy to deploy anywhere.
It is easy to learn to fly, has an automated hover function, and is expected to be able to be flown in reasonable weather conditions. Martin quotes 1,00,000 US dollars as the price for the Jetpack