June 6, 2006

Wow.

Strap-on stealth wings.

24 comments:

jeff said...

Looks like fun. Look for a civilian market to pop up.

Realize now that people will die using these things for various reasons, many of which probably won't have to do with the wings themselves.

Jennifer said...

Greeeeeeeeeat. Yet another way to toss my husband from a plane. Thank god that's Britain.

Ann Althouse said...

Jennifer: It's supposed to be safer than parachuting because the guy is less of a target. I would think incredibly cool equipment like this would entice some guys to enlist. And as Jeff says, I assume extreme sports types will want this sort of thing just for fun.

Dave said...

This type of thing already exists for civilian skydivers.

My guess is that the military version is somehow more stealthy and made out of a high tech material unavailable to civilians.

But I've seen skydivers use these types of wings before.

Besides, the story references some guy who flew across the English Channel on a similar pair of wings.

Bissage said...

At twice the price, those wings are a psyops bargain!

Forget about giant condoms. No terrorist wants to mess with that!

Death from above, indeed!

Jennifer said...

Ann: I'm sure it is safer than jumping into a combat zone, but they don't do a lot of combat insertions that way these days. Mostly helicopters. Which, I suppose are just as dangerous.

You're probably right that this kind of thing entices recruits. Of course, in our Army it wouldn't look quite as cool because they'd have to go and green it all up.

SippicanCottage said...

It's an interesting intellectual exercise to imagine persons from history transported to our contemporary times, and trying to predict their reactions to modern things.

I picture Mozart transfixed by the car radio, and wonder if he'd like country music or rap or something. I'd love to see George Washington's reaction to the last five or six presidents.

I'd love to dig up Leonardo Da Vinci and show him those wings.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I just wanted to remark how cool Ann Althouse is.


P.S. Yeah, I thought about enlisting for a second.

Simon said...

And there I was thinking Always had been making those for years.

Pogo said...

Best. Invention. Ever.

Now I can be just like those women with lesbian superpowers.

altoids1306 said...

I wonder what the purpose of the delta-wing is - at those low speeds, the delta-wing is probably not as aerodynamically efficent as a straight wing. Also, I seriously wonder if the centre of lift is anywhere close to the centre of gravity.

My guess is, of course, that they shaped the wing that way to look cool.

I wonder how practical these will be for special forces - they'll have to fly for 30 minutes, using up their mental/physical stamina, even before landing. Force recovery will be more difficult as well, since they probably don't want to leave the wings behind at the scene. Still, there must be some military use for them. Perhaps the psychological shock value of bat-winged infidels noiselessly gliding in overhead?

The Drill SGT said...

OK, folks to put some reality back into this one.

1. Military parachuting is nearly a obsolete skill in the classic sense. Yes, we have a whole division (82nd) that stands ready to jump into combat, but a quick look at this table shows that well mostly thats for show.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/airborne-jumps.htm

2. Why? First rule of modern combat. If you can be seen you can be hit and if you can be hit, you will be killed. Cause the big slow planes are big slow targets and 1000 folks floating down on chutes are small slow targets. IF there is opposition and if there isn't then why jump?

3. Generally, insertion by helicopter is a much better solution. It's easier to do a helo insertion at night. Helo's fly "nap of the earth" meaning below hills and power lines, weaving and dodging down valleys. a Helo insertion assures you that even at night, everybody gets to the same spot at the same time, ready to fight. You don't get that with a mass drop. Oh, and did I say the helo can get you out again?

4. Do the wings have a purpose? I suppose so, if used for covert insertion of a small team deep into enemy ground, and if recovery was not an issue.

5. Are they sexy? sure. will they find a place in the special ops tool kit? sure. Are they boy toys for big boys? sure.

Bissage said...

Pogo: They are, after all, strap-on stealth wings!

(Am I going to get in trouble for that?)

MadisonMan said...

So, I was the only one who thought of Sasha Cohen's skating outfit? Until I clicked on the link, that is. But stealth wings connoted something else entirely to me.

Joe said...

They do look incredibly cool, but won't the wearer be landing at a pretty good velocity? Like Wile E. Coyote in that canyon?

Jennifer said...

Joe - The article said the wearer would deploy their chute before landing, so it should be no different than a standard jump. I don't know what happens to the wings. Maybe they click back in like Buzz Lightyear's? :)

Troy said...

The wings help absorption right?

Getting killed by Hawkman would be so humiliating. I also now have to worry about some potted up adrenaline junkie landing on me as I barbecue in my backyard because he lost his way over Palm Springs.

Joe said...

Ah, thanks. Let that be a lesson to me. Read the article.

HaloJonesFan said...

I like how they have this picture of a guy trying to look all high-tech and badass, and ninety percent of the audience is thinking "Hey, I think I had that GI Joe guy..."

Zach said...

The delta shape has a very low radar cross section, as I recall. Straight wings have a huge cross section.

Wickedpinto said...

I held off, but I will summarize.

Baby? don't you say Strap on, and get me going, after john's pictures of you.

GRRR!

and I don't mean Wings.

(is that too much? or is that referential enough to be humorous?)

Hazy Dave said...

A squadron of these Darth Vaders gliding (or rocketing) into the desert would be an awesome sight. Even if they're never used in combat, they'd be a cool (if dangerous) addition to an airshow. Batman comes to mind also, but Wile E. Coyote is probably closer to reality.

jeff said...

The advantage of this over conventional parachute operations in the distance away from the target you can leave the airplane at.

Think about it - you can put a small team (like the ram air chutes in use by SF HALO teams, these will not be used in mass jumps) into a nasty area from over 100 miles away - perhaps from an aircraft mimicing a perfectly innocent airliner in a widely used airway.

pete2k4 said...

Reminds me of William Gibson's Neuromancer. Spec Ops hackers hang-gliding over Kiev.