DARPA and Special Ops Commands plan a 2018 debut for the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS — exoskeleton to give make commandos more lethal while being better protected. They are particularly wanting this for the vulnerable first soldier to breach a compound. The TALOS program has churned out several prototypes and is on track to deliver a first-generation suit by August 2018.
Research on the TALOS suit has also been a boon in other areas, helping the military develop improved technologies related to lightweight armor and communications systems.
“We have powered exoskeletons on contract being developed; the foundation is the exoskeleton,” he said. “All I can say is ‘we are shooting for the vision,'” which calls for “increased armor protection, increased situational awareness, increased lethality, increased, human performance.”
The TALOS program is costing an estimated $80 million.
An amalgam of academics, defense industry types and Pentagon personnel are trying to fine-tune the battery-powered exoskeleton, which would reduce strain on the body, provide superior ballistic protection and in-helmet technologies to boost communications and visibility
Manufactured by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SOCOM (Special Operations COMmand ) intends to outfit the TALOS with a revolutionary type of electrically-activated shield called liquid body armor. While wearing the suit, the operator simply triggers a magnetic or electrical current on the TALOS and the body armor transitions from liquid to solid in a matter of milliseconds.
In 2013, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) partnered with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to engineer a next-generation, super-soldier style suit for military operators. According to Defense One, the team’s early blueprint aimed to outfit the suit with full-body ballistic protection, integrated heating and cooling systems, 3D audio, embedded sensors and computers, and life-saving oxygen and hemorrhage controls — among other advanced tech.
A full-size mannequin was shown wearing Revision Military’s Kinetic Operations Suit looked alien with its fully-enclosed helmet and quad-tube night-vision device.
Revision’s suit features hard, body armor protection, capable of stopping rifle rounds, that covers 60 percent of the operator – compared to the 18 percent armor coverage operators currently wear.
It also features a powered, lower-body exoskeleton, to transfer the additional weight of the armor down to the waste belt and supports it with motorized actuators on each leg, according to Brian Dowling, program manager.
General Atomics officials presented its plans to supply TALOS with a hybrid-electric power unit that consists of an internal combustible engine that fits in the palm of the hand that will run at 10,000 RPMs.
The problem with commercially-available motors is most of them are “very noisy,” according to the General Atomics official. A possible solution would be a new, liquid-piston engine that is now in development and is projected to run quiet.
The system could run for a limited amount of time on battery power when stealth is necessary
The commando only needs to be quiet approaching the target. Once they breach (aka blow the door or wall) then the exoskeleton engines can make a lot of noise and it will not matter.
SOURCES – CNN, Military.com, Digital Trends