U.S. Special Operations Command will put a human into its powered combat exoskeleton in the middle of 2019.
The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) is a complex system with many state-of-the-art technologies.
The suit is comprised of a base layer, an exoskeleton which is essentially a robotic skeleton, and a layer of armor. Concepts of the suit show armor from head to toe and include a complex helmet with built-in situational awareness and communications capabilities.
This will not become a fieldable prototype.
The exoskeleton has been problematic.
800-part exoskeleton prototypes have been built using carbon fiber plastics, which are strong enough to replicate and prove the designs.
After the design is finalized, they will make it with more expensive materials like titanium.
They have already fielded base layer systems that help with passive thermal regulations through tubes that move fluids around the body, either warm or cold, depending on the outside environment and the heat the body is already giving off.
Some elements of the system have already been pushed out to operators in real operational missions.
Some subcomponents of the system will reach a high technology readiness level by the end of the year.
Suit development has led to technology breakthroughs in sensors that monitor the physiological and biological status of the body.
The lithium polymer battery developed through the program is putting out a tremendous energy density. Solid oxide fuel cells will have to be miniaturized.
If the operators say it’s useful, then US military will get it rolled out as fast as possible.