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Jet Packs in combat?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was trying for something more auspicious for the first post in this forum but I decided to go with an interesting idea I had the other day. :idea: It’s a what-if idea. First, however I want you to consider that Napoleon is called a military genius not for inventing new technology but using old technology in a new way…

The idea I have is using jet packs in combat. The basic info I’m working from say the military dismisses using it.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/transportation/4217989.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_pack#cite_note-0

The concepts to use them in recon, river crossings, breeching obstacles like wire or mines in pretty obvious. Add in clearing buildings and certain advances and retreats and you have the standard thoughts.

What I would like some comment on is the idea of using it for airborne and air assault operations. With any sized unit jumping out of an airplane you run the chance of winds strewing them for miles and miles and in trees. With a jet pack could you not with 30 seconds of thrust, today’s technology mind you, stop your descent and choose where to land? You could land in formation where you wanted to, no assembly time necessary. Out of a helicopter same deal without touching down or hovering.
 

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I dunno, but wouldn't stopping a free fall flight be much harder on a jet pack then simply lifting something off of the ground? First off, the jet stream needs something to react against to work, and I would expect the ground to be much more useful in this respect then when you are a quarter mile above the ground. I doubt 30 seconds of thrust would keep you from breaking your legs upon impact.

As for using them over hostile territory, you might as well paint a bullseye on you......... I think developing the technology for invisibility will be a prerequisite before this sort of technology can be useful in combat.

Now if you had more troops in these things then people shooting at them, maybe it would work. But the losses would be horrendous, and volunteers hard to come by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
maybe but...

We could figure it mathmatically, how hard your impact would be. I'll see if I find out.

Otherwise if I'm getting shot at in a bird or under a chute I'd want to be moving faster and be more manuverable...

For straight ground to ground leaps yeah I wouldn't want to be hanging up there with my wienner being the most obvious place to get shot, however if I have to cross a river, wire obsticle, mines or get to the top of hill or building going 60 mph from somewhere they haven't zeroed in sounds worth a try.

Think of this: You're the bad guy. They start supressive fire from a M249 SAW to "get your head down" and launch smoke from 203s. You look to check your lane. By chance up above in the air through a break in the smoke you see 8 or 9 guys. You mouth "WTF" and raise your weapon just as they land out of your site on your vunerable flank.

Not invisible but do-able if you don't over use the element of surprise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thinking about this

On the matter of decellerating in time: you might have to start thrust in the aircraft or once exiting, then it's all Newton's second law of motion; every action causes an equal and opposite reaction. If you're hovering at 3 inches or 3,000 feet it's the same. Just don't futz around and run out of thrust up there. I'm not sure about reaching terminal velocity and them firing the pack though. I'll look into that.

I'm more worried about tumbling from air currents from the aircraft and not being able to right myself and control my orientation.
 

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On the matter of decellerating in time: you might have to start thrust in the aircraft or once exiting, then it's all Newton's second law of motion; every action causes an equal and opposite reaction. If you're hovering at 3 inches or 3,000 feet it's the same. Just don't futz around and run out of thrust up there. I'm not sure about reaching terminal velocity and them firing the pack though. I'll look into that.

I'm more worried about tumbling from air currents from the aircraft and not being able to right myself and control my orientation.
That is the problem. The "reaction" part. I'm sure everyone has seen vehicles that hover on a cushion of air. Well, why doesn't it work if the vehicle is 20 foot up in the air rather than just 6 inches off of the ground? I think a simple experiment with a leaf blower would be instructive.

Looking at it from another angle, when you are standing on the ground in your jet pack, all it needs to overcome in order to lift you into the air is to counteract the force of gravity on your weight (or mass). When you are dropping out of the air like a rock, the jet pack not only has that same gravitational force to counteract, but also the inertia and the cumulative energy of your downward motion. The pack won't start lifting you upwards until that force has been neutralized. The question is, does the pack have enough fuel to cancel your downward motion.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well...

I looked into the question. It seems that the Hydrogen Peroxide rocket packs don’t have enough thrust or capacity for over 2-300 feet. So you could jump out of a balloon but helicopters and planes are out. The other applications are sounds but the airborne/ air assault element was what I was trying to bring to the table won’t fly. When rocket packs are common and disposable they’ll make it in combat yet.

Actual Jet Packs you could and some have used from airplanes. I recall however they are heavier (no humping it in) require building up thrust like all jets (not instant thrust like H2O2 units) and are noisy like all jets (obvious prolonged loud sound so no element of surprise).

It seems like one of those technologies with only a few million in funds you could get to work but baring an engineering breakthrough you can’t change the laws of physics.

I concede this is a No-Go.
 

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Variation on this theme. What about a balloon with some sort of electric driven, vectored thrust system. The thing I have in mind would be a helium balloon of a size to lift one soldier and his gear into the air up to a given ceiling (perhaps 1000 ft. or less?) and then deliver them to a LZ of their choosing with a small electric propeller thingamajig. Use a valve on the harness to control how much gas is in the balloon so as to control altitude. A relatively small gas canister would be enough for a hop of extended duration if the user was trained well enough. The limiting factor would be the power supply for the vector unit. Such a rig would not be of much use in high winds and would require careful control to avoid exceeding 10,000 feet unless the user was carrying oxygen.

Such a rig would be reusable with little more trouble than a parachute. Just fold it up when done and replace the helium canister. I know troops have a heavy loadout already, but a rig like this should not weigh much more than a scuba rig. Plus, the balloon would bear the weight until touchdown at which time it would be dropped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ballooning?

Reminds me a bit of the Japanese Fire Balloons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Balloon_Bombs.

I'd be concerned that it was too slow moving. You could conceivable rise really quickly but then you'd pretty much be hanging there until someone gets at 50cal at you. That is be fairly noticable and less manuverable than a parachute.

I don't have a reference handy but there was a completely workable plan to use ultralites to exfil SpecOps. It got canned because it didn't go through the command in charge of SPec Op Aviation.

Red Tape: the ties that bind and gag.
 

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I'd think maybein mountain terrain or an escape plan for forward positions - - but putting me up in a screaming fuel filled blow drier with bad guys with guns or stingers around wouldn't be my first pick for insertion into ***** country....:poke::poke:
 

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Army has been working on this concept since mid 50's (See my avatar from 58-9 and notice trooper/airman has our version of the FAL tested by Army .
 

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I mentioned a control valve to add or release gas from the balloon at the will of the user. I also mentioned that radar damping would be necessary. It would still make an inviting target for the above mentioned .50 BMG or equivalent.

The ultralight idea is a really good one. There is a guy around here that putters around the sky regularly in an aerobatic parachute holding up a 3 wheeled go-kart frame with a lawnmower engine powered fan on the back. He has even published a book of aerial photos he took from that platform. If it weren't so cursed loud, it would be a good infil/exfil vehicle. Incidentally, he is not required to hold a pilot's license to operate the thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
knew I'd seen that before...

http://davidszondy.com/future/Flight/aerocycle.htm

From the above @ Tales of Future Past:

"The De Lackner Aerocycle is not only the ultimate in one-man flying machines, but also the ultimate in aerial safety. Since the operator stands on a tiny platform with a pair of naked helicopter blades whirling beneath him at food-processor speeds there is a great inducement not to fall off."

Probably very near where I got the whole jet pack in combat idea.
 

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Yeah, I like to fly, but I just don't have any desire whatsoever to ever pilot a rig like that. I think I would rather the blades be over my head. I am curious as to how the designers overcame the problem of auto rotation on that thing. Does it have 2 sets of counter rotating blades? That is the only way I can see of avoiding the problem. Also, those pods at the four corners, are they fuel pods, flotation, landing pads, or what?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good question about auto rotation...

Since the description I read said pair of blades it has to be counter rotation. As for the pods? My guess is fuel pods/landing pads. Hell what do I know it's could be there as Art Deco.
 

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They would have to hold fuel. That pod in the middle is the only other thing big enough on the whole rig to serve that purpose and I would expect that it is a housing for the motor. Then again, what do I know?

Either way, I still don't want to fly the thing. I'll take a Cessna 150, 172 RG or Skylane, or 182 RG or Skylane any day of the week and twice on Sunday. They are fun and easy to fly without the need to worry about being sliced and diced. But I get off topic sometimes.

So, how are we to deliver personnel individually from point A to point B by air in such a way that they are not mass cannon fodder, are armed and equipped well enough to deliver a real fight, and are able to have quick and individual ingress and egress to their AO?
 

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They would have to hold fuel. That pod in the middle is the only other thing big enough on the whole rig to serve that purpose and I would expect that it is a housing for the motor. Then again, what do I know?

Either way, I still don't want to fly the thing. I'll take a Cessna 150, 172 RG or Skylane, or 182 RG or Skylane any day of the week and twice on Sunday. They are fun and easy to fly without the need to worry about being sliced and diced. But I get off topic sometimes.

So, how are we to deliver personnel individually from point A to point B by air in such a way that they are not mass cannon fodder, are armed and equipped well enough to deliver a real fight, and are able to have quick and individual ingress and egress to their AO?
Wow, that could get real messy in combat. Have a projectile puncture one or more of those tanks with that downdraft and all you would need is a spark to have one hell of an air/fuel bomb.
 

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No kidding, especially as I bet the thing was designed to run on gasoline. IIRC, Milspec Avgas was 130 octane at that time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Air insertion and retrival?

So, how are we to deliver personnel individually from point A to point B by air in such a way that they are not mass cannon fodder, are armed and equipped well enough to deliver a real fight, and are able to have quick and individual ingress and egress to their AO?
With current and foreseeable technology the best fit is air assualt. I know I strarted this thread but looking at it after discussing it and getting some facts this is a case of the enemy of "good" being "better". From personal experence coming in on a bird you have that moment of "Gee I hope they don't light us up" but now that I think about it, I get that feeling in a Humvee, MRAP, Bradly, Abrams and on foot. Also I've always felt well protected with an Apache overhead.
 
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