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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … what the heck is that thing?

It weighs only 30 pounds and can be fully weaponized for assault and rescue. It has a 6-foot jet-wing that is steered with handheld rotary controls connected to its rudder. And it can hide more than 100 pounds of combat gear in a built-in compartment.image
The Gryphon attack glider, designed to penetrate combat zones at 135 miles per hour, could revolutionize the art of parachuting.

Its helmet has a heads-up display and provides on-board oxygen for the jump. To land, a soldier separates the wing from his pack and releases his parachute to slow his descent. The wing remains attached to the soldier by a cord and lands before him.

Currently, planes and pilots are put at risk because soldiers need to jump close to combat areas. Typical high altitude, high-opening, or HAHO, jumps from around 27,000 feet allow soldiers to travel only about 30 miles after exiting the aircraft.

The Gryphon could increase that range fourfold, creating an attack corridor of nearly 125 miles. Unaffected by headwinds or crosswinds because of its favorable lift-to-drag ratio, the glider would allow elite units to reach targets with increased speed, precision and stealth.

The Gryphon’s built-in oxygen supply system allows soldiers to jump from up to 30,000 feet. And with temperatures at that altitude sometimes reaching minus 64 degrees Fahrenheit, every second counts. Even in upwind conditions, the Gryphon could reduce HAHO jump duration to a third, from an average of 45 minutes to just 15, vastly reducing the risk of exposure to extreme cold.

The Gryphon’s designers, SPELCO GbR, are even planning to affix a relatively cheap and small turbo jet, which is used for unmanned military drones. Harnessing that jet, the glider would allow soldiers to jump lower, maintain altitude and travel farther than is currently possible.

image I’m not totally sold on this one. If it can fly you 125 miles instead of the 30 miles you can get from a parasail, doesn’t that mean you’re falling a lot slower? And if you’re falling a lot slower, how does that make it possible to get down quicker out of the upper atmosphere where the temperature is deathly cold? Maybe they meant that you could do a power dive straight down, and then pull up and glide those same 30 miles but from a much lower altitude.

And while the Spec Ops guys will all want to try it, after the initial thrill wears off won’t this wing-thing be just another heavy bulky item they’ve got to hump around?

I like the idea of sticking a little jet engine on it, though that will add even more weight. I wonder if it would give you enough power to take off from the ground that way, or if this gizmo is going to wind up being called the Pteradactyl because it only flies after being dropped a long long way?









thanks for the link Rancino!







Posted by Drew458    United States   on 04/28/2008 at 11:49 PM   
 
  1. Why does this make me think of Tony Stark?

    Seriously, could one imagine the effect of between thirty and one hundred of these troopers come screaming out of the sky at a supposedly ‘safe zone’ for the opposition?

    Posted by Archie    United States   04/30/2008  at  12:47 AM  
  2. Sounds good… if it works as advertised. I mean…

    “The Gryphon attack glider, designed to penetrate combat zones at 135 miles per hour, could revolutionize the art of parachuting.

    Its helmet has a heads-up display and provides on-board oxygen for the jump. To land, a soldier separates the wing from his pack and releases his parachute to slow his descent. The wing remains attached to the soldier by a cord and lands before him.”

    That all by itself makes it pure gold. Make the descent from where you left the aircraft to the LZ at 135MPH instead of whatever the descent rate of a parachute is? That should be at least a fourfold or fivefold increase in approach speed, huh? And at 135MPH, hitting a 6’x6’ flying target with virtually no heat signature would be like trying to hit a wasp in flight.

    In all honesty, the only real problem I see with this one is troopers waiting too late to deploy ‘chutes because they don’t want to give up the safety of speed in a hot LZ, and next thing you know they’ve splattered themselves across the landscape.

    Pterodactyl? Hmmm… I’m more expecting the guys who use em to start being called “flying blue monkeys.” I guess the real verdict will be if a senior Airborne General actually *likes* being nicknamed “The Wicked Witch of the West.”

    Posted by GrumpyOldFart    United States   04/30/2008  at  09:46 AM  
  3. Drop ships. Where are the drop ships?

    Posted by Macker    United States   04/30/2008  at  10:42 AM  
  4. Maybe the next Batman movie will feature this glider…

    Additional thrust and vectoring can be enhanced by eating large portions of “ham and lima beans” rations (I won’t use the more common vernacular for this tasty treat)

    Posted by Rat Patrol    United States   04/30/2008  at  03:15 PM  
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