Martin Jetpack
The Martin Jetpack in flight.Youtube Screengrab/ Martin Jetpack

Dubai's civil defence force has struck a deal on 11 November with the New Zealand-based company Martin Jetpack for purchasing 20 such jetpacks, simulators and a training package, for an unnamed amount.

The jetpacks are priced at $250,000 in its catalog. 

The Martin Jetpack, an innovation 30 years in the making, was finally launched for practical use at the Dubai airshow. The jetpack, which has been on the list of Time Magazine's Top 50 innovations for 2010, has been designed for first responders, military, commercial, and recreational use.

Stating that the jetpacks will be used for reconnaissance and rescue, Lt Col Ali Hassan Almutawa, director of the Dubai Civil Defence Operations Department said, "We see them performing a first-responder role", BBC reported from the Dubai airshow.

Dubai added that the aircraft be useful in case of fire in Dubai's skyscrapers. They will test the jetpacks for 'mule train' i.e. one manned aircraft being followed by a string of unmanned aircrafts, so that stranded individuals on building tops can be strapped in and rescued.

The jetpack, operates with a two-litre, two-stroke 200hp V4 engine, with a top speed of 74km/h (45mph) up to 1,000m (3,000ft) in altitude, and can fly more than 30 minutes, the Martin Jetpack Company claims.

The aircraft, which is a revolutionary idea, would be useful in various search and rescue operations as well. In India, for example, there have been instances when civilians were stranded on top of buildings for days during the Kashmir floods but helicopters were not able to reach them.

The jetpacks, able to carry up to 120 kgs, will also be useful in carrying medical equipment, reports BBC.

Accessing disaster struck or remote areas will be facilitated by the "disruptive innovation", as the company calls the product. Peter Coker, chief executive of Martin Aircraft, said, "Getting off the ground is as quick as jumping in a car or onto a motorbike. If you're a first responder situation, you'd be all ready to set off anyway."

Coker, is also looking forward to launching the jetpack for recreational use, though Google, which had looked into the same earlier, claimed, "Wouldn't it be great to have a jetpack that isn't also a death trap?"