User Login    
 + Register
News : Special Operations Forces May Get "Iron Man" Suit
Posted by Randy on 2014/5/21 4:09:47 (498 reads) News by the same author

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- In the 2008 movie "Iron Man," the main character becomes a superhero after building a suit of armor with an exoskeleton that gives him incredible strength.
Click to see original Image in a new window

Today, elite US special operations forces may be a few short years away from donning a similar suit, one that can monitor the user's vital signs, give him real-time battlefield information and be bulletproof from head to toe. The suit might eventually have other features unheard of only a few years ago, including an exoskeleton made of liquid armor, smart fabrics that could help stop hemorrhaging, enhanced sensory capabilities and Google Glass-like visuals.

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) project is coordinated through the Special Operations Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Prototypes are expected to be shown to military commanders in June, with hopes that the suit will be given to high-risk units in 2018.

While the project sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, its mission is simple, said James Geurts, the Deputy for Acquisition of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill.

"We've lost a lot of guys to gunshot wounds and explosions," he said. "If there's anything I can do to more rapidly field technology, give better protection, better capability, any progress, I think we've done well."

Some companies working on the TALOS project are in Tampa this week for the International Special Operations Forces conference. The four-day event showcases special military technologies, gadgets and tools - from pen-like systems collecting chemical vapors to underwater robots. Several top analysts and military brass are also scheduled to speak, including SOCOM commander, Adm. William McRaven.

McRaven is widely credited with initiating the TALOS project. Last year, he described SOCOM's unique approach to the project: By harnessing the expertise of professional engineers, the creativity of students and possibly even "local garage tinkerers," the military will end up with a truly innovative project.

"I am very committed to it because I'd like that last operator we lost to be the last one we ever lose in this fight or the fight of the future, and I think we can get there," McRaven said last July.

What might be more remarkable than the whiz-bang technology of the suit is how Geurts and his team are reaching out to recruit contractors in non-traditional ways.

SOCOM has held "Monster Garage"-type events for people with potential ideas, and even Geurts acknowledged: "It's certainly not the traditional Department of Defense model."

"Looking for (hash)collaborators to help (hash)invent the next generation of (hash)sof combat gear via (hash)talos (at)SOFTALOS," Geurts tweeted in September.

Frost & Sullivan Aerospace and Defense Senior Industry Analyst Brad Curran said this approach is novel for the military.

"A trend of toward seeking more academic and industry input is picking up as DoD seeks to save research and development funds, shorten acquisition schedules, and leverage commercial technology," said Curran.

The biggest current challenge is making the suit light and comfortable for the soldier.

"For every pound the operator has to carry in armor, there's an additional energy supply," said Dan Stamm, a research scientist at Battelle, an Ohio-based defense contractor that's the lead contracting consultant on the TALOS project.

Dan Rini, president of Rini Tech in Orlando, is one of the contractors on the project. His company has made a "personal thermal protection system" for the military that runs off a 3 1/2 pound battery and uses cold water and tubes to keep people cool.

Rini said he's trying to adapt that invention to the TALOS suit.

"We don't want that person inside the suit to get overcome by heat stress," Rini said "He might have to be in it for a long time."

Michael Fieldson , the civilian TALOS project manager, said the battery pack for the cooling system and the exoskeleton present the biggest weight hurdles.

"Nature did a pretty good job of designing the human body and we're trying to mimic that," said Fieldson. "Hollywood did a pretty good job of showing us what Iron Man could do on the screen, and the system may do some of those things - but we're not planning on flying."

Whether the suit is adopted by special operations forces, even in part, will remain to be seen, said Curran. He suggested that partial exoskeletons to help ease the strain on solder's knees would be likely used first.

"It is more likely that certain aspects of the suit research will be applied incrementally, rather than a complete rollout all at once," he said. "Integrated helmets with communications, night vision, and heads-up visor displays that are used by pilots may be deployed by ground troops as well. Lighter weight and less bulky body armor with better ballistic protection is needed by all. I think at least some aspects of the research will be applied in the near future."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/9/2 16:50:00 - New Band Of Pirates Ready To Make Mark On '15-'16 Season
2015/9/2 16:25:24 - Chiefs Tight End To Sit Out Governor's Cup Game
2015/9/2 16:21:07 - Lady Bulldog Volleyball Loses At Plattsburg
2015/9/2 16:13:38 - Bulldogs Slip By Midgets In Tight Golf Duel
2015/9/2 16:08:12 - Trenton Tennis Routs Bishop LeBlond, 8-1
2015/9/2 16:03:56 - Gordo's Back! Royals Make Flurry Of September 1st Moves
2015/9/2 15:30:00 - Body Found Under Bridge At Cameron With Gunshot Wound
2015/9/2 14:54:06 - Princeton Tiger Coaches Shows For Wednesday, 9/2/15
2015/9/2 13:43:43 - Farmer's Electric Customers Being Targeted By Scammers
2015/9/2 13:35:51 - Humphreys Woman, Galt Man, KC Man Indicted By Grand Jury On 15 Counts Of Meth And Firearms
2015/9/2 13:18:21 - Nebraska Fires PA Announcer, Facebook Post Blamed
2015/9/2 6:50:24 - Hillsboro High Students Walk Out Over Transgender Dispute
2015/9/2 6:29:10 - Catfishing Turns Into Cat Fishing
2015/9/2 6:06:34 - Hunt For 3 Suspects In Illinois Officer's Death Continues
2015/9/2 4:10:53 - Missouri Executes Man For Girl's 1989 Killing
2015/9/2 4:10:00 - Lee's Summit Man Arrested After High Speed Chase Reaching 118 MPH
2015/9/1 17:50:00 - THS Stays Unbeaten With Road Win At Lawson
2015/9/1 17:29:54 - Savannah Student Expelled After Bringing Loaded Handgun To School
2015/9/1 17:26:19 - Chillicothe Lady Hornet Tennis Doubles Up Trenton
2015/9/1 17:13:10 - Royals Add Veteran Bat For Playoff Push
2015/9/1 17:10:27 - Mizzou's Browning, Leftwich Ruled Out For SEMO
2015/9/1 17:04:55 - Ketcham CC In Trenton Announces Labor Day Weekend, Winter Hours
2015/9/1 16:38:23 - Eight Squads, Two Pools, Make Up Saturday's PC Softball Tournament
2015/9/1 16:23:56 - Missouri Tigers Agree To 3-Game Series With Middle Tennessee
2015/9/1 15:40:00 - Royals Clubhouse Hit By Chicken Pox
2015/9/1 11:40:00 - Gilman City Coaches Shows For Tuesday, 9/1/15
2015/9/1 10:20:00 - NCMC Women To Open '15-'16 Season In Hutchinson, Kansas
2015/9/1 8:00:00 - Tri-County Coaches Shows For Tuesday, 9/1/15
2015/9/1 7:40:00 - Free Outdoor Fun Day Set For September 12 At Chillicothe
2015/9/1 7:40:00 - Firefighters Respond To SUV Fire



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM