The military has been working on creating a more reliable and lightweight armor after a frontline American commando died kicking a door in during a raid in Afghanistan.
This new armor has been nicknamed the ‘Iron Man Suit’ due to its more reliable and protective design. The new armor would contain technologies such as a battery-powered exoskeleton which would provide superior ballistic protection and in-helmet technologies to boost communication and visibility while reducing strain on the body.
“TALOS would add way more protection for soldiers and reduce the amount of casualties in combat. TALOS would be intimidating for the enemy as well.” Alecia Krapp, a North Dakota Army National Guard soldier, said.
The idea of TALOS was first presented by Admiral William McRaven in March of 2013 with the idea that the armor would provide the operator an advantage when he is at his most vulnerable. “I am very committed to this because I’d like that last operator that we lost to be the last one that we ever lose, in this fight or in the fight of the future,” McRaven said of the American commando that died in Afghanistan.
The current body armor used by elite teams only covers about 20 percent of a special operations fighter. These fighters are often carrying over 90 pounds of equipment. This new armor, TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), will be significantly lighter than the equipment soldiers have been carrying while containing the same technologies. This new suit will be made of liquid armor that can solidify on command.
TALOS is a collaborative effort between 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories. The cost to create this armor is estimated at $80 million. Many of the technologies used to create TALOS are already in existence. The creation of TALOS has been a catalyst in helping the military develop improved technologies relating to communications and lightweight armor.
“TALOS technology can benefit other areas of military by ensuring more security and protection no matter what branch of military and no matter what location,” Krapp said. “The features of the TALOS are endless and for the most part, it makes a human into a superhuman.”
TALOS may face some unforeseen challenges. The power demand may require a lot of additional weight contradicting the lightweight design. Science and technology officials have said that some of the technology required for TALOS may not be achievable until 2026. Some also see the $80 million budget as far too low considering time and technology.
“A major challenge would obviously be the cost,” Krapp said. “Soldiers wearing TALOS could also become complacent and depend too much on the uniform to protect them. In the military, it is vital to always be aware and never let your guard down, or else someone could be injured or killed.”
The first prototype of TALOS is expected to be released in August 2018.