SOCOM Says Exoskeleton One Year from Testing

The suit is a complex system of intricate arrangements of cutting edge technology that looks like a tactical version of the Iron Man suit.

A photos of the prototype Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) being developed by SOCOM, which says the exoskeleton will be ready for operator testing this time next year.
A photos of the prototype Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) being developed by SOCOM, which says the exoskeleton will be ready for operator testing this time next year.photo from defensenews.com

We've reported before that the U.S. military is looking into exoskeleton technology for the soldiers of the future, like this device that would, theoretically, steady a troop's aim.

Now, according to this story from defensenews.com, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been working on a high-tech battle suit for special operators that would provide power and resiliency beyond normal human capabilities. Not only that, but the report says the project is just one year away from actual testing.

"We knew going into this that it was going to be a real challenge," Jim Smith, USSOCOM's acquisition chief said in the story. "You put a world-class athlete into a powered exoskeleton, that is going to be a difficult challenge and we are realizing a lot of those challenges."

"Right around this time next year, we will put an operator into a powered exoskeleton and lead the Department of Defense on learning what that really means for operations and what is in the art of the possible," he added.

SOCOM is officially calling the suit the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), which is actually a complex system of intricate arrangements of cutting edge technology that bears a bit of a resemblance to a tactical version of the Iron Man suit or Robocop’s armor (the remake, not the original).

The story says the suit is comprised of a base layer, and exoskeleton, which is basically a robotic skeleton, and that's all finished with a layer of armor.

The exoskeleton, when it’s finished, will use a network of robotic actuators to move the operator’s body effortlessly through strenuous tasks.

Concept art of the suit show armor from head to toe and an advanced helmet with "built-in situational awareness and communications capabilities," the story says.

The project’s original goal of five years had the suit ready for testing this August, but Miller said the exoskeleton itself has proved problematic to develop, with redesigns and changes of materials having been necessary.

However, some components of the projects are ready to be pushed to operators now and other will be ready by the end of 2018.

"There are components or aspects of the base layer, be it the thermal-state management, the constellation of sensors for different biological and physiological reading awareness that certainly have applications, useful applications, not only to the military, there are plenty of opportunities there," he said in the story.

The project has also made breakthroughs in sensors to monitor physiological and biological status of a person’s body.

Read the full story from defensenews.com here and check out these clips below from Edge of Tomorrow to see what science fiction says suits like these could be capable of down the road.