Feeds

Zoom up ropes on silent electric drive

James Bond underwater assault gear goes public

Intelligent flash storage arrays

DSEi British gov-wartech spinoff Qinetiq is showing a bunch of stuff here at the DSEi battleware fest, but one of the most eye-catching displays is undoubtedly the "Upstart" motorised rope-climb rig.

Freeze, creep! Sh*t, I keep spinning round

It isn't quite James Bond kit: the UpStart isn't going to fit under a dinner jacket. It's a motor and battery pack which you could clip to a climbing harness or perhaps use as a traveller unit on a Tyrolean Traverse. It's rated to hoist 400lb up 650 feet before needing a recharge, though the Qinetiq live DSEi guinea pig said he's tested it to 550lb without any trouble, still getting decent endurance.

A snazzy gadget to be sure, but who wants it? Lots of people rope up and down from helicopters, but it makes a lot more sense to put the winch in the helicopter.

The main people at the moment who need to get up ropes silently with lots of heavy kit are the Special Boat Service (SBS - the seaborne equivalent of the SAS). They've spent decades specialising in methods of approaching ships, oil platforms and the like underwater - or perhaps partially immersed. Then they need to get up on deck fast, quietly and with all their weapons, body armour, entry devices and the rest of it. In the past, they would use various kinds of kit attached to ropes, or folding ladders or whatnot; but it was all still muscle-powered. People have been known to say that the climbs are one of the hardest parts of SBS assault exercises.

Funnily enough, Qinetiq's spec sheet (pdf) assures us that the UpStart is IP68 sealed for "underwater insertion", and there is an optional inflation pack for achieving neutral buoyancy on the underwater swim or ride in to the objective.

In fact, rumour has it that kit like this may have been in use with the SBS for a while. The public appearance of UpStart is probably more a matter of selling it to other people, in particular the American maritime spec-ops community.

That said, there could be other customers. UpStart might be handy for mountain rescue people needing to lift casualties in locations where no helicopter was available; or it might be used to scale buildings in urban rather than feet-wet operations, perhaps by SWAT cops as opposed to military types.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.