US Special Operations Command Engineering ‘Iron Man’ Suit

US Army

Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

U.S. Special Operations Command or SOCOM, is developing an Iron Man-like exo-skeleton that smashes preconceptions of warfare in the 21st century, Scout Warrior reports.

The first prototype of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, is to be completed by 2018 and will provide “superhuman strength with greater ballistic protection” for America’s special forces operators like the Navy SEALs, an Army statement said.

Adm. William McCraven, former head of SOCOM, expanded research into the project in 2013.

“I’m very committed to this because I would like that last operator we lost to be the last operator we ever lose,” McCraven said.

In addition to improving the physical capabilities and survivability of its wearer, the suit will also provide an information advantage. Operators will have improved situational awareness of the action around them through the use of wide-area networking and on-board computers, the Army statement said. In addition, the suit will include subsystems to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels.

“[The] requirement is a comprehensive family of systems in a combat armor suit where we bring together an exoskeleton with innovative armor, displays for power monitoring, health monitoring, and integrating a weapon into that,” said Lt. Col. Karl Borjes, a science advisor assigned to SOCOM.

SOCOM spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Matt Allen told Scout Warrior that a slew of next-generation technologies will be used to meet SOCOM’s expectations for the TALOS project.

Scientists at the Michigan Institute of Technology are contributing a state-of-the-art “liquid body armor,” according to the Army statement.

The liquid, which is likely to make up one of the suit’s protective layers, transforms into hardened body armor within milliseconds of contact with a magnetic field or electrical current.

“The idea is to help maintain the survivability of operators as they enter that first breach through the door,” Allen said.

SOCOM has requested that demonstrations for the suit’s potential technologies take place in early July outside MacDill Air Force Base.