JetPack Aviation makes first jetpack sales to unnamed military
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 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.
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