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Futuristic 'Iron Man' Jet Suits Tested By Royal Navy For 'Super Fast' Maritime Boarding Operations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - British soldiers are flying into the future, teaming up with a tech company to test a real life "Iron Man" jet suit.

The British Royal Navy tested the futurist flying machine in England's Plymouth Sound earlier this year during a Royal Marines trial. They want to see how well a pilot can take off from a small military raft and travel to a ship on open water, and then fly from and around the ship.

The jet suit is made by UK-based Gravity Industries, whose founder Richard Browning, a former Royal Marine reservist, is the chief test pilot.

"So when you're assaulting a ship coming from a ship to a beach trying to get to a hill top...trying to outflank an enemy position. All of those things become super fast without depending on a helicopter," Browning explains.

The exo-skeleton jet suit is powered by four micro-gas turbine jet engines attached to his arms and a fifth engine, which is strapped to his back. It's got a top speed of 85 miles per hour and can fly for about 5 minutes. Brown says that freedom of movement could save lives.

"We can now move individual special forces soldiers in a very very nimble way where trying to counter that becomes a real challenge," Browning says.

While the Royal Navy says the jet suit technology is "undoubtedly impressive," they've determined it is not quite ready for adoption by the armed forces.

But it's not just special forces looking to become the next "Iron Man." Paramedics have tried out the suit, too, reaching patients in remote areas in record times.

Browning says NASA has also shown interest in the technology. But plans for a mission across the pond were temporarily grounded by the pandemic.

"We're hoping as the Covid challenges start to diminish then we're back out to do a lot more with U.S. forces which would be great," he says.

Gravity's jet suit runs about $400,000 for individuals, but Browning says the cost would be significantly reduced if purchased as part of a government contract.

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