Saturday, June 10, 2006
Not your average strap-on
UK Special forces to use strap-on 'stealth wings'
Elite special forces troops being dropped behind enemy lines on covert missions are to ditch their traditional parachutes in favour of strap-on stealth wings.
The lightweight carbon fibre mono-wings will allow them to jump from high altitudes and then glide 120 miles or more before landing - making them almost impossible to spot, as their aircraft can avoid flying anywhere near the target.
How cool is that?
Resembling a 6ft-wide pair of aircraft wings, the devices should allow a parachutist to glide up to 120miles, carrying 200lb of equipment, the manufacturers claim.
Fitted with oxygen supply, stabilisation and navigation aides, troops wearing the wings will jump from a high-altitude transport aircraft which can stay far away from enemy territory - or on secret peacetime missions could avoid detection or suspicion by staying close to commercial airliner flight paths.
The manufacturers claim the ESG wing is '100 per cent silent' and 'extremely difficult' to track using radar.
Once close to their target landing zone, the troops pull their parachute rip cord to open their canopy and then land normally.
Weapons, ammunition, food and water can all be stowed inside the wing, although concealing the 6ft wings after landing could prove harder than burying a traditional parachute.
They're made in Germany by ESG. They look like a good idea, even if that guy looks like a cross between the Darth Vader and the X-Men.