Iron Man has been a gleaming beacon of armored heroics for over 50 years, and the U.S. Army is looking to create their own version with TALOS.
While the fiction of a futuristic suit of armor has been a dream for Sci-Fi fans for years, the real-life applications are being considered by the U.S. Army. The extreme difficulties inherent in producing an armored battlesuit that would protect soldiers has resulted in a request for submissions from “research and development organizations, private industry, individuals, government labs and academia to support the command-directed requirement issued by Adm. William McRaven, USSOCOM commander” as was reported on the U.S. Army Official Homepage.
The proposed suit even has a name and objective rife with comic book potential; The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) hopes to “provide superhuman strength with greater ballistic protection. Using wide-area networking and on-board computers, operators will have more situational awareness of the action around them and of their own bodies.”
“There is no one industry that can build it,” said SOCOM Senior Enlisted Advisor Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Faris during a panel discussion at a conference at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., recently, reported Defense Media Network.
“[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 — a whole bunch of stuff that RDECOM is playing heavily in,” said. Lt. Col. Karl Borjes, an RDECOM [Research, Development and Engineering Command] science advisor assigned to SOCOM.
TALOS will have a physiological subsystem that lies against the skin that is embedded with sensors to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are currently developing armor made from magnetorheological fluids — liquid body armor — that transforms from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied. Though still in development, this technology will likely be submitted to support TALOS.
“RDECOM cuts across every aspect making up this combat armor suit,” Borjes said “It’s advanced armor. It’s communications, antennas. It’s cognitive performance. It’s sensors, miniature-type circuits. That’s all going to fit in here, too.”
SOCOM demonstrations will take placeJuly 8-10, at or near MacDill Air Force Base.
The initial demonstration goal is to identify technologies that could be integrated into an initial capability within a year. A second goal is to determine if fielding the TALOS within three years is feasible.
While this potential advancement in military equipment certainly bodes well for the protection of soldiers, it also brings the dangers of escalation, as any Batman fan can attest to. However, the result may be far from the assumed product, which we can see in the animation below.
The dream of having our own suit of Iron Man armor to play with might still be far-fetched, but the reality of seeing something similar in action might be something to look forward too.
Images: Marvel Studios, U.S. Army