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June 06, 2006

Flyin' Special Forces

Flyin' special forces!

Elite special forces troops being dropped behind enemy lines on covert missions are to ditch their traditional parachutes in favour of strap-on stealth wings.

The lightweight carbon fibre mono-wings will allow them to jump from high altitudes and then glide 120 miles or more before landing - making them almost impossible to spot, as their aircraft can avoid flying anywhere near the target.

Now German company ESG has developed the strap-on rigid wing specifically for special forces use.

Resembling a 6ft-wide pair of aircraft wings, the devices should allow a parachutist to glide up to 120miles, carrying 200lb of equipment, the manufacturers claim.

Fitted with oxygen supply, stabilisation and navigation aides, troops wearing the wings will jump from a high-altitude transport aircraft which can stay far away from enemy territory - or on secret peacetime missions could avoid detection or suspicion by staying close to commercial airliner flight paths.

The manufacturers claim the ESG wing is '100 per cent silent' and 'extremely difficult' to track using radar.

Once close to their target landing zone, the troops pull their parachute rip cord to open their canopy and then land normally.

Weapons, ammunition, food and water can all be stowed inside the wing, although concealing the 6ft wings after landing could prove harder than burying a traditional parachute.

ESG claims the next stage of development will be fitting 'small turbo-jet drives' to the wings to extend range even further.

Flyin'. Special. Forces.

PS, I don't believe a word of this story. Still, it's fun to pretend.

Thanks to Chris.

VIDEO UPDATE: Cool video of "wingsuit jumping." Not really the same thing; "wingsuits" are flexible-cloth wings used to glide, whereas the pic above is of a rigid wing.

Still, the basic concept works.

And, admittedly, a bunch of dudes with M4's flying down at you on these things would be pretty scary.

Thanks to Ilbis.

Even More Video: With a wing-landing instead of a parchute one, and no Red Hot Chili Peppers, if you don't like them, or did like them until they started doing crap like "Aeroplane." Here.

Thanks to JSinger.

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posted by Ace at 12:22 PM

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