The Daily Mail reports on a wearable rigid wing system developed by ESG Elektroniksystem designed so that military parachutists can glide up to 200 kilometers before pulling the ripcord. The next rev of the outfit will integrate turbo jets in the wings. It sounds a lot like the jet-powered BirdMan suit that Visa Parviainen flies around in over Finland. (I profiled Visa in the latest issue of MAKE:.) From the Daily Mail article describing the ESG gear:
Fitted with oxygen supply, stabilisation and navigation aides, troops wearing the wings will jump from a high-altitude transport aircraft which can stay far away from enemy territory – or on secret peacetime missions could avoid detection or suspicion by staying close to commercial airliner flight paths.
The manufacturers claim the ESG wing is '100 per cent silent' and 'extremely difficult' to track using radar.
Once close to their target landing zone, the troops pull their parachute rip cord to open their canopy and then land normally.
UPDATE: BB reader Thomas Beckett points out that flying suits appeared in the film Lara Croft Tom Raider: The Cradle of Life. From IMDB:
In the scene where Lara Croft and partner jump off a building with "flying suits" on, the stunt was performed by the two men who invented the suits. No CGI, wires, nets, or other SFX were involved. This suit was invented by Patrick de Gayardon who was killed in parachute accident in April 1998 during testing of a new parachute type in Hawaii. Link