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Martin Jetpack

Dubai firefighters will soon be wearing jetpacks to help them quickly reach blazes on the upper floors of tall skyscrapers, according to a New Zealand-based aviation company.

The Dubai Civil Defence department has placed an order with Martin Aircraft Company for 20 jetpacks worth around US$250 each that will give firefighting ‘pilots’ the ability to stay in the air for more than 45 minutes and to reach altitudes of 3,000 feet.

It means blazes in tall buildings will be better controlled in a shorter time frame.

The deal for the jetpacks, which will be delivered in 2016, was signed at the recent Dubai Air Show.

It’s a move described by Martin Aircraft Company CEO Peter Coker as “a significant step forward for the advanced delivery of first responder services in the United Arab Emirates”.

He said the signing ceremony was attended by Lt Col Ali Hassan Al Mutawa, director operations, on behalf of Major General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, director general of Dubai Civil Defence, and senior representatives of both the New Zealand and Dubai government.

Mutawa said: “The vision of Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) is protecting lives, properties and environment and to provide fast professional service, efficient investment of human and material sources to give best results. Dubai is one of the fastest growing future cities in the world with its modern skyscrapers and vast infrastructure. It has always been a world leader in adopting new technology to improve and save people’s lives. The introduction of Martin Jetpacks into our fleet of emergency response vehicles is another example of how Dubai leads the world.”

Coker described the Martin Jetpack as a “disruptive technology, much like the helicopter was when first developed, with substantial capabilities and is able to be flown by a pilot or via remote control”.

“The Jetpack can take off and land vertically (VTOL) and because of its small dimensions, it can operate in confined spaces such as close to or between buildings, near trees or in confined areas that other VTOL aircraft such as helicopters cannot access,” he added.