Yes, that's right, the US Segway Corporation wants corpulant corporals and obese officers to get even fatter and slink around on 15-mph upright scooters. However, an ITN reporter on this afternoon's ITV lunchtime news doesn't believe the military will be that interested: "It's hard to imagine the SAS finding their way around Afghanistan on one of these," he said.

Segway gets its UK debut at Farnborough military expo

The Segway Human Transporter (HT) – along with inventor Dean Kamen and an entourage of PROs – is at Farnborough International 2002 to publicise the fact that BAE Systems of the UK is to market Segways to the UK aerospace and defence industries.

BAE makes guidance systems for missiles and other weapons, and also helped to design and build part of the Segway’s gyroscopic balance unit. The BAE pavillion at the Farnborough expo features the Eurofighter jet as well as the Segway.

Various US military branches are said to be currently evaluating Segway for "both tactical and logistical support operations."

Inventor Dean Kamen said:

"The ability to move quicker, travel farther and carry more is critical to military operations. In tactical operations, the Segway HT can help to lessen soldier fatigue while expediting troop deployment. For logistical operations, the Segway HT consumes a fraction of the space and weight of other transportation alternatives and moves easily between indoor and outdoor applications."

At 65lbs, however, a Segway with a dead battery is going to be a cumbersome beast for a soldier to lug around.

BAE designs the Segway parts via an offshoot called Silicon Sensing Systems of Plymouth, with the actual manufacturing being done by Sumitomo Precision Products of Japan.

There are no Shimano parts on the Segway!

The ITV coverage of the UK Segway launch was far from gushing. The piece was introduced thus: "Hitting your high-street soon means what it says [with the Segway]. Allowed only on pavements, pedestrians beware."

The reporter was also cynical: "All this is reminiscent of the Sinclair C5 launched in a blaze of publicity 20 years ago…If [Segway] does catch on, watch out for pavement rage on a street near you."

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