Last year's redesign of the long-awaited Martin Jetpack was accompanied by plans to begin commercial sales in 2014, starting with emergency response services and individual sales to follow thereafter. The release date for the first responder Jetpack has since been revised to 2016, a prediction bolstered by the fresh announcement of a partnership between Martin Aircraft Company and US company Avwatch to develop air-based, first responder solutions for the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.

The latest iteration of the Martin Jetpack is founder Glenn Martin's 12th prototype since he started work on the aircraft more than 30 years ago. The most notable change in design was repositioning the Jetpack's ducts, resulting in better performance, namely through enhanced maneuverability.

In its current state, the Martin Jetpack has a maximum speed of 74 km/h (46 mph) and a flight time of 30 minutes on a full tank of premium gas. According to the company this should allow for a flight time of 30 minutes, enough to cover a distance of around 30 km (20 mi).

"The Martin Jetpack is a disruptive technology, much like the helicopter was when first developed, with substantial capabilities which will be very complementary to our solutions we can offer our customers," says Avwatch founder and former coast guard rescue pilot Chris Kluckhuhn. "This is an exciting partnership that allows Avwatch and the Martin Aircraft Company to offer a unique and capability enhancing solution."

Kluckhuhn started Avwatch in 2008 to develop new technologies that would aid first responder services. Its partnership with the Martin Aircraft Company will see the provision of Martin Jetpacks with a view to advancing technologies that could be implemented in search and rescue, ambulance security, police, fire and natural disaster recovery applications.

"It is an honor to be working with Avwatch and together creating the increased value that the Martin Jetpack can bring to Avwatch and to their associated US Government customers," says CEO Peter Coker.

The First Responder Jetpack is slated to cost around US$200,000, plus customization, while the recreational Martin Jetpack "remains at under US$150,000 plus delivery, taxes and duties" according to the company.

View gallery - 3 images