by David Crane
August 16, 2005
Our U.S. Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc
could have really used this thing. The PowerQuick Powered Ascender
, a.k.a. PowerQuick personal lifting device, a.k.a. PowerQuick personal lifter, a.k.a. PowerQuick personal climber, if it lives up to it’s billing, will enable Mil/LE operators tasked with assaults over terrain, VBSS/MIO (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure/Maritime Interception Operations), GOPLATS (Gasoline and Oil Platforms) boarding operations, and any other types of structural assaults–including building assaults during urban warfare operations–to execute those missions more quickly, safely, and easily. In addition, it should allow them to keep at least one hand free (and potentially two hands free) to fire at the enemy while ascending or descending. Manufactured by Quoin International, Inc.
(Carson City, Nevada), PowerQuick
is being funded by DARPA DSO
(Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Defense Sciences Office
) as a DoD SBIR
(Small Business Innovative Research
The current version of PowerQuick is an…
automatic/motorized technical rope access/industrial mountaineering system that can lift 145 kilos (319 lbs) at a speed of 1 meter per second with a 110% lift load factor. This version relies on either a battery-powered (electric-powered) or helicopter-powered motor, and is single-person-operated. Basically the operator shoots a grappling hook over the top (or a harpoon into the side of) a structure and hooks the PowerQuick Powered Ascender/personal lifting device (attached to his harness) to the rope, presses the button, and up he goes towards the objective. It’s that easy. PowerQuick can also allow an operator to escape the structure by lowering him quickly, although DefRev doesn’t yet know the maximum descent rate–but we’ll find out.
According to Michael Jacobsen, president of Quoin International, however, there’s a new version of PowerQuick
on the horizon that’s being developed specifically for U.S. military operators–including Special Operations Forces (SOF). It will be 1/3rd smaller than the current version, yet it will lift 100 kilos (220 lbs) at an impressive rate of 3 meters per second. This military version will reportedly utilize a solid propellant power supply, rather than battery/electric power.
Industrial Mountaineering/Technical Rope Access is a relatively recent technique started in Russia that applies adapted mountaineering and caving techniques to scaling commercial buildings/construction sites. Quoin International basically took this technique and added some old-fashioned American ingenuity and laziness, and motorized it. When I say “laziness”, I mean the good kind of lazy–the kind that leads to innovation–i.e. where we invent devices that make our lives easier by enabling us to acomplish the same task in less time, with less work. It’s a fine American tradition, and Quoin International is now a part of that tradition. The bottom line is, the PowerQuick Powered Ascender
, in either it’s current form or developmental militarized version, will allow Mil/LE operators to conduct structural assaults against enemy forces or criminals with greater speed, safety, and ease. An additional benefit is the more energy military Spec-Operators (as an example) save while scaling a wall, ship, or cliff, the better they will be able to perform once they get up and over it.
Tactical Rappelling Schools:
The Vertical Option
, run by tactical rappel instructor Tom Foster, is located in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Foster can be contacted by phone at 407-432-0114, or via email at [email protected]
claims to make ”the lightest single rope in the world”. You can contact them by phone at 770-834-7515, by fax at 770-836-1530, and by email at [email protected]
claims to make ”the finest selection of technical rope rescue equipment for high angle, confined space, industrial, rope access, and water rescue.” You can contact them by phone at 770-832-9694, or toll free at 800-334-3368. Fax number is 770-832-1676.