A new Iron Man like suit for U.S. Military special forces?
Many a geek and engineering aficionado has taken a liking to Tony Stark’s exclusive array of powered exoskeletons. And, now it seems, even U.S. Military has their fair share of fascination with the antics of the one and only Iron Man. How so? Well, according to the grapevine, a project has already been started by U.S. Special Operations Command to create a futuristic suit for their special forces. Christened quite smartly as the TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), the contrivance will entail a powered exoskeleton that will comprise of an integrated oxygen tank, cooling system and sensors that could transmit back the vital signs back to headquarters. As for its boisterous features, the suit will allow the soldier to nullify the effect of most bullets by virtue of its superior armor and also allow him to move faster. Gamers would surely notice these similarities to the nano-suits we encounter in the Crysis universe.
The very first obvious challenge to the bold endeavor is surely the self-sufficient power source, which ‘ironically’ (no pun intended!) is the same predicament encountered by Tony Stark. Size, weight and flexibility all play their crucial roles as benchmarks for such an installation. However, where TALOS truly loses out to Iron Man is the limitation of practicality. In this regard, the suit would forgo the advantage of flight at jet speeds. And, more than just available technology, Pentagon has clarified that flight is not really essential to TALOS’s core purpose.
Since, we have brought up this topic, what exactly would be the purpose of TALOS? Well, according to Lieutenant Commander Li Cohen, the first batch of soldiers in their suits will take part in ‘kinetic missions’ where combat and weapons firing are expected.
Finally, coming to the ‘availability’ of TALOS, U.S. Military expects the first generation to arrive by as early as summer of next year. In fact, several firms have shown their interest in pursuing the power suit project, with Pentagon’s long term contractor Raytheon expected to lead the TALOS race. You can check out a YouTube video of 2010 (below) that actually demonstrates Raytheon’s prototype exoskeleton on which the company has been working on many years.