Iron Man Is Beyond Current Tech But Armor and Weapons Upgrades Are Here

The $80 million Special Ops TALOS exoskeleton failed to develop real-life Iron Man exoskeleton armor. The energy systems and other technology are not ready. However, a dozen components will be developed.

Special Ops will spend $16 million to develop components like body armor, exoskeleton, internal battery pack, and vital systems monitoring technologies. These will make US special ops commandos into “Hyper-Enabled Operators.”

The biggest success is lighter body armor that will cover 44% of the body instead of 19 percent from current chest and back plates. The more than doubled protection will not weigh more than the chest and back plates. Special forces are already wearing the improved armor in combat situations.

Instead of just chest and back protection, lightweight vest armor systems will cover the entire torso and have long sleeves and armor shorts.

The Army is developing a better helmet. If successful it will weight 3 pounds instead of the 5 pounds and provide better protection. The best current helmets can provide protection against rifles and not just handguns.

* shirts that monitors heart rate and body temperature while also cooling overheated wearers are nearly ready
* cloud-based computing will be provided using secure communication links
* augmented reality will be projected on a heads-up display in the helmet
* small ankle and knee exoskeletons will help commandos to carry heavy loads

SOURCES- Twitter Scott Gourley, SOFIC 2019, Youtube, Military Times, Breaking Defense
Written By Brian Wang,

20 thoughts on “Iron Man Is Beyond Current Tech But Armor and Weapons Upgrades Are Here”

  1. It really isn’t that difficult, in the military they have made innovations with silicone. None of us are experts in this field, how about we leave the thinking to professionals instead of a housewife?

  2. Iron man will always be beyond current tech because the market requirements of superhero fiction mean that it HAS to be beyond current tech.
    Otherwise you get stuff like Dick Tracey with a small, portable radio phone. Impressive and futuristic when introduced, it’s just a joke now.

  3. We do have proven historical examples of major military weapons, weapon systems, even entire strategies, which were developed at vast cost only to prove completely ineffective.
    So it isn’t a ridiculous idea.
    A classic example is the late 1950s, early 1960s missile armed interceptor aircraft. (eg. F-4) The entire USAF adopted these as the major air superiority weapon, only the find that in vietnam them were fairly ineffective, and that jury rigging old fashioned machine guns to the aircraft was necessary.
    There are even stories of pilots abandoning the electronic aiming systems and using a lump of chewing gum on the inside of the windscreen as an aiming sight.

  4. Iron Man will always be beyond current tech because Iron Man conveniently ignores inertia. Most stunts Tony pulls would kill anyone inside the most protective suite one can imagine. The brain simply goes squish against the skull.

  5. Night vision became real compact, affordable and lightweight – of course the army bureaucracy wasn’t happy about lightening the load and reducing the cost per piece.
    They had to insist on sensor fusion (near infrared light magnification + real infrared thermal vision combined) and huge enlargement of field of view.
    So night vision like that is heavy, bulky and expensive again.

    I suppose two-piece low light gen 3+ goggles (individually movable to get them out of the way for aiming with sights), a weapon-mounted thermal clip-on sight and a safety-activated IR laser is the optimum combination. It can be had for about 1.5 kg incl. batteries and the thermal clip-on sight is useful in daytime and when there are dazzling ILLUM effects as well.

  6. That panoramic headset doesn’t look like it’ll be practical. Except as a means of terrifying small children…

  7. Antennas and wiring to external subsystems are the problems.

    AFAIK you can easily harden even plastic-cased electronics by galvanizing some conducive metal on its surface. You cannot really do away with the antennas of radios and the wiring of motor-controlling computers, though.

    Everything with antennas may need to have backups in properly sealed containers.

  8. Probably yes
    EMP protection is possible but will increase costs. It will probably be tempting to skimp on it for cheaper systems.

  9. When I read about it, it seems quite difficult, especially with cheap mass produced electronics. A Faraday cage works and is fairly simple but it’s impractical to encase every electronic object in metal.

  10. Won’t robots and drones have the same downsides as electronic gear with the added problem that a fried robot is an art installation while a fried augmented infantryman is still a regular infantryman?

  11. “I predict ground warfare will head the same way as air warfare. Robots and drones will be at the front line and humans will stay a bit behind and orchestrate the fireworks.”

    Years ago I wrote about such a pattern.
    (1) New technology is often expensive, bulky, heavy, energy-hungry – and thus used on warships.
    (2) New or evolved technology that’s still expensive, but not heavy or bulky is then used in combat aircraft.
    (3) A reduction in costs leads to employment in armoured vehicles or generally in ground vehicles.
    (4) Later, the technology is so small, lightweight and cheap that it’s going to be used with the infantry and finally (such as recently radios) by the individual infantrymen.

    It’s possible that what we’re seeing now in naval and air war realms will move towards armoured and infantry combat like that. Some tanks have hard kill defences against munitions now, a concept that has naval origin. Radio jamming has moved from warships to aircraft to AFVs and infantry. Software-based intra-squad radios are obvious candidates for individual radio jamming these days.

    I suspect the land warfare of the future is about many small AUTONOMOUS drones that execute missions given or at least signed off by humans. They will exist in many sizes, but I suspect there will be a trend towards smaller ones, towards mostly small bird size with a few bigger ones held in reserve.

  12. So they dialled the exoskeleton down to unpowered and only up to the hip instead of Robocop.
    Well, that’s actually what I arrived at when I looked at ultralightweight infantry equipment options. I assembled all the lightest must-haves and arrived at around 22 kg, still too much IMO. My conclusion was to hope on a passive exoskeleton legs to support the load bearing belt in order to give the infantry high tactical mobility.

  13. There is no EMP mine yet as far as I know. However, it is logical to develop one as soon as there are use cases for it. EMP weapons are being deployed on missiles already. Google NNEMP and “CHAMP missile”.
    Mines are very cost effective close range weapons but requires the enemy to come to you. The biggest problem is they kill your own troops and civilians too and causes problems long after the conflict has ended.

    An EMP mine will have less of these problems. It will have better yield range than explosive weapons but still rather short. I believe current EMP weapons are often fueled by explosives, which means they are one time use. One could imagine lower yield weapons that could be recharged and be used many times. Could be used in ambushes to disrupt enemy sensors and equipment for a short period within a precise sector.

  14. I submit the theory that many of the fancy weapons designed are for the main purpose of making money. Many deployed weapon systems are a result of this and it’s pretty well documented.
    Electronic support systems will probably work OK (for a while) against third world countries, which seems to be the most common practical use case for western military. A qualified enemy is another thing.

  15. You are so much smarter than the designers and engineers on these projects, I bet they never thought of that!

  16. “EMP mine”?

    Is there really such a thing and wouldn’t a regular old mine be more effective. One would assum they will not use consumer electronics in these systems.

  17. Anything with electronics will probably become a risk. Things like exo-skeletons, networking, HUDs and augmented reality are very addictive and will quickly work their way into the tactics. Computer (game) simulations will no doubt show the advantage of this.
    However, EMP weapons are not that difficult and can render army units helpless. After being exposed to an EMP mine or something, the troops will have to either throw their expensive stuff on the ground or carry a few kg of garbage around. Then they will have to continue fighting old-school without having trained for it much.

    Another predictable development is weapons that sense and target electromagnetic fields. Sharks are a good inspiration. Troops with electronics will be a magnet for such weapons.

    I predict ground warfare will head the same way as air warfare. Robots and drones will be at the front line and humans will stay a bit behind and orchestrate the fireworks.

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