Aircraft

JetPack Aviation makes first jetpack sales to unnamed military

JetPack Aviation makes first j...
The JB-11 jetpack, a six-turbine monster from JetPack Aviation, which has sold two of a classified JB-12 model developed from this platform
The JB-11 jetpack, a six-turbine monster from JetPack Aviation, which has sold two of a classified JB-12 model developed from this platform
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The JB-11 jetpack, a six-turbine monster from JetPack Aviation, which has sold two of a classified JB-12 model developed from this platform
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The JB-11 jetpack, a six-turbine monster from JetPack Aviation, which has sold two of a classified JB-12 model developed from this platform
JetPack Aviation's JB-11 jetpack has self-balancing thrust, making it safer than ever
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JetPack Aviation's JB-11 jetpack has self-balancing thrust, making it safer than ever
The North Shore of Sydney Harbour makes a terrific background for Mayman as he rides his extraordinary creation
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The North Shore of Sydney Harbour makes a terrific background for Mayman as he rides his extraordinary creation
Ferocious jets whip up the water below David Mayman as crowds line the stairs of the Sydney Opera House
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Ferocious jets whip up the water below David Mayman as crowds line the stairs of the Sydney Opera House
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California's JetPack Aviation (JPA) has been building and flying some of the world's first genuine long-endurance jetpacks for many years now, but while founder, CEO and chief pilot David Mayman has been having most of the fun (and taking a lot of the spills) early on, the plan has always been that the JB-series jetpacks would one day go on sale.

Today, the company announced its very first jetpack sales: two JB-12 units, which sold for US$400,000 apiece to an "undisclosed military customer in South-East Asia," deliverable within about six months.

Images of the JB-12 jetpack itself are classified at this stage, but like the current model JB-11, it uses three small Jetcat turbines per side. Mayman told us in 2019 that this time, the jets are configured in a triangle, rather than a line. It's triply redundant, from the new flight computers to the jet engines, giving pilots an excellent chance of surviving a failure in one or two systems. And yes, flight computers; the JB-12 is likely getting considerably smarter and more idiot-proof than JPA's previous jetpacks, which have very much been manual affairs.

The North Shore of Sydney Harbour makes a terrific background for Mayman as he rides his extraordinary creation
The North Shore of Sydney Harbour makes a terrific background for Mayman as he rides his extraordinary creation

The JB-12 will weigh 105 lb (48 kg), so it's by no means a small thing to wear on your back. It'll max out at 528 lb (2.34 kN) of thrust, and it'll be capable of speeds up to 120 mph (193 km/) for soldiers with the cojones to push it.

“The ratification of this deal demonstrates that the JB12 JetPack provides defense forces with exceptional aerial capabilities to fulfil a wide array of mission requirements," says Mayman. "The maneuverability of the JetPack, its small form factor, which fits inside a set of standard Pelican cases, and ease of integration with our Speeder platform to complement the JB12’s capabilities, were all factors that informed the sale. This order represents a significant step forward for us as it confirms that our development program is meeting military needs.”

The idea of integrating the jetpacks with JPA's Speeder flying motorcycle platform is an interesting one. We're interested to learn exactly what this anonymous South-East Asian military force plans to do with the jetpacks. They're ear-splittingly loud, and they're not the sort of thing you can just throw on and jump into the sky, requiring fireproof suits, helmets and little buckets of water to douse the jets in when you land.

David Mayman wears an early JB-9 jetpack
David Mayman wears an early JB-9 jetpack

On the other hand, they're also incredibly impressive in action – fast, agile and capable of staying aloft on kerosene fuel some 10-20 times longer than the rocket belts of old, which would run out of hydrogen peroxide in 30 seconds at the absolute most. So it's a very new kind of vehicle to slot into a military portfolio, and we're fascinated to learn where they find their place.

Source: Jetpack Aviation

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13 comments
13 comments
paul314
They would scare the living daylights out of unarmed crowds.
Steven Clarkson
I like the jetpack but i do not like to comment wrt military application.
I would like to see it being used in a peaceful way.

michael_dowling
Stealth is out with these belts-the bad guys could hear you coming half a mile out. I can see how they might help in getting first responders to difficult to access locations.
MikeDalton
For military use, jet pack vs drone immediately comes to mind. No thanks.
paleochocolate
Probably Singapore or Brunei.
paleochocolate
@Steven Clarkson Any advantage is welcome in the military. There is actually no better application for new tech like these than military one. It may be greatly beneficial for a country's geopolitics. After all we don't live in a post scarcity world, nations still need military leverage to attain parity and keep the peace. The significance of power shouldn't be dismissed, the utopic idea of universal peace is so far away, current peace is extremely fragile and more conflict is still to come in the next 20 years given the current geopolitical climate. And this isn't wrong per se, just logical and inevitable.
Pablo
At 3-6 minutes air time, they’re not going to sell like hot cakes yet, but when they’re quieted down, run time goes up 10x and price comes down 10x...
HoppyHopkins
I really like the two engine deign, but I would raise their location a bit higher for a bit more stable center of gravity and to allow a greater fuel load and increased flight duration. If it could fly for 30 minutes or an hour, it would be a tactical advantage, and would make a great self rescue device for downed pilots.
That said, I would find it hillarious if the buyer was Vietnam and they used it against China's spurious claims to the South China Sea area
Edward Taylor
It's going to be really interesting to see how the fly-by-wire JB12 evolves alongside the human-movement version by Gravity in the UK... Same outcome but two very different approaches. Also @Loz Blain, do you have any data on fuel burn and expected flight time? I suspect this was one of the limiting factors with 15 - 20 minutes of flight being the likely window with JET A-1...
ridgetopboy
Que the flying monkeys
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