Seriously, how awesome does that look. Imagine Special Forces soldiers zooming through the skies at 100kph, covering distances of 50km or more without being picked up by radar. It could actually happen.
A group of German companies with expertise in parachute systems have joined forces to create the Gryphon Next Generation Parachute System. Designed for high altitude jumps, the Gryphon has a 6-foot wingspan and a glide ratio of 5:1, meaning that a solider can glide up to 50km in the air—100 if they go ahead with plans to add a small engine like the one used by Yves Rossy to cross the English Channel.
"All equipment is hidden in a lifting body optimised for stealth, the radar-signature is extremely low," says the Gryphon data sheet (PDF). "Detection of incoming Gryphon soldiers by airborne or ground radar will be extremely difficult."
Gryphon would also include a guidance system and heads up display navigation, which is all well and good, but it seems that the problem of landing still has to be worked out. Skydivers and daredevils using similar technology must deploy a traditional parachute in order to return to Earth in one piece. In order to get the most out of the stealth capability, it would be necessary to develop a way for soldiers to return safely to the ground using the wings alone. So far, there hasn't been any details on who might be interested in funding such a project, but this seems like too good of an idea to ignore. [Spelco (PDF) via Danger Room via The Raw Feed]