British troops trial 'stealthy' successor to Flying Flea

Where e-bikes dare! Crack British troops trial ‘stealthysuccessor to Flying Flea that can be parachuted behind enemy lines

  • British troops are trialling stealthy electric motorbikes for battlefield missions
  • The near-silent vehicles were tested back in November at a site in rural France
  • The £4,495 electric dirt bikes were ridden by troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade
  • British troops trained to drop behind enemy lines are trialling stealthy electric motorbikes for battlefield missions.

    The near-silent vehicles were tested in November at a secret site in rural Francia, where rugged dirt tracks and hilly terrain became substitutes for desert and jungle combat zones.

    The £4,495 electric dirt bikes, called Sur-Ron Fireflys, were ridden by troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade – the Army’s rapid response force most recently deployed to evacuate Britons and support staff from Afghanistan.

    It is the latest attempt by Army chiefs to find a modern successor to the legendary Royal Enfield ‘Flying Flea’ motorbikes that were parachuted into battle in the Second World War.

    The £4,495 electric dirt bikes, called Sur-Ron Fireflys, were ridden by troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade – the Army’s rapid response force most recently deployed to evacuate Britons and support staff from Afghanistan

    The £4,495 electric dirt bikes, called Sur-Ron Fireflys, were ridden by troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade – the Army’s rapid response force most recently deployed to evacuate Britons and support staff from Afghanistan

    The Fireflys are light, weighing just over 7st (45kg) compared to a regular motorbike’s 43st (272kg), and have a top speed of 45mph. They also leave only a tiny ‘heat signature’, making them far less likely to be detected by an enemy’s thermal sensors.

    Powered by lithium batteries, which can be detached and carried separately when troops cross water, the bikes have a range of 60 miles and are fully charged in just over three hours.

    The trials, which could see the bikes used in live operations this year, are being overseen by Captain Dan Lauder, a former Royal Marine commando who heads operations at 16 Air Assault Brigade.

    ‘The good thing about such a small vehicle is that you can get it in the back of helicopters,' Egli ha detto.

    ‘You can get several in the back of a plane, and then also, potenzialmente, you’d be able to drop it from the back under a parachute. They’re not noisy, they don’t make much thermal signature and they can be used in a way where a petrol engine would just give your position away.’

    Capt Lauder and his colleagues believe the motorbikes could be ideal for reconnaissance missions and delivering crucial intelligence across conflict zones without being detected.

    The Ministry of Defence said last night: ‘Further trials will be required before any decision is made to progress procurement’

    The Ministry of Defence said last night: ‘Further trials will be required before any decision is made to progress procurement’

    Brigadier Nick Cowley, Commander of 16 Air Assault, disse: ‘As we need to be able to fight in battlefields where we’re going to have periods of denied communications, we need to have the maximum number of ways of getting messages around the battlefield to make sure we can still manoeuvre.’

    But the Fireflys may prove problematic in some conditions. The lithium batteries can lose their charge in cold weather and a 60-mile range could leave riders looking for charging points in a war zone.

    Capt Lauder also discovered that when a battle-ready soldier with rifle, supplies and protective gear rides the vehicle hard, its range drops to a measly 25 miglia.

    Sur-Ron Fireflys are available to the public and in the past have been linked to collisions where pedestrians have been unable to hear the bikes approaching.

    The Ministry of Defence said last night: ‘Further trials will be required before any decision is made to progress procurement.’