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Now That's What I Call High Mobility

This vehicle, which I cover in New Scientist magazine's web edition today was one of the few gadgets to elicit an instant a reaction of 'I want one of those!'Chimera2.jpgIt's called the Chimera and it's designed for infiltration and exfiltration of Special Forces. The two-seater buggy has unique capabilities: it can be dropped from high altitude, fly stealthily a few dozen miles under its own power and land on a postage stamp. Pack away the parafoil and it's a ground vehicle capable of 60 mph.After the job is done comes the clever part. With fifty yards of rough track it can get airborne again and head back.Looked at one way, it's an extension of existing tactics. Special Forces have long jumped with motorbikes or other vehicles to give them added mobility. Atair, who make the Chimera, once rigged up gear for Swedish Special Forces to jump with their 1400lb snowmobiles - in fact they have a whole range of powered and unpowered parafoils for tactical use.Chimera1.jpgLooked at another way, it's a genuine, practical flying car you can park in your garage. Not just an off-roader, it's an off-off-roader, capable of crossing rivers, jungles, swamps, ravines...or traffic snarl-ups. Even if it only flies at 40 mph, that's about 39.5 mph faster than you can travel at street level.I can't see them ever being allowed for urban commuting, but this would be something like the ultimate fun vehicle for cross-country trips.(John Cleese voice:) "Do try and bring it back in one piece, 007..."-- David Hambling

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