Does military want New Zealand Jetpack?

Inventor says yes; outside observers say probably not

Is the U.S. military interested in a New Zealand’s inventor’s “jetpack?” The inventor says it is. Outside observers say it probably isn’t. The military hasn’t said.

According to a report in The Register, Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft Company claims to be in talks with the Defense Department for the device, which is actually a 250-pound mass with engines powering fans that provide lift. There are no actual jets, and it’s heavy enough that calling it a “pack” is stretching it.

Still, company founder Glenn Martin calls it Jetpack, so that’s the name.

Martin is also the source of the claim that the company is in talks with DOD, a claim there is good reason to doubt, wrote reporter Lewis Page in the Register.

“It's always possible that the U.S. military might want the ‘Jetpack’ for some reason, but it's hard to see why," Page wrote. "There are already various working one-man aircraft which offer superior portability and would be just as good for most jobs - and the U.S. military isn't interested in those, either."

A New Zealand Herald article reported that the company may be working on an unmanned version, but Page points out, there are also many unmanned aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities already available.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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