Admiral: ‘Iron Man’ Prototypes Coming in June

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The head of U.S. Special Operations Command said the first prototypes of a new, Iron Man-like protective suit could be ready for testing this summer.

Navy Adm. William McRaven said three unpowered prototypes of the so-called Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit — known in military parlance as TALOS and dubbed the Iron Man suit after the one worn by the Marvel Comics superhero — are being assembled and expected to be delivered in June. The plan is to evaluate the technology with the goal of fielding a system by August 2018, he said.

“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said during the 25th annual Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict conference on Tuesday┬áin Washington, D.C. The three-day event continues Wednesday and was organized by the National Defense Industrial Association, an Arlington, Va.-based trade group.

The technology may eventually include a powered exoskeleton, advanced full-body armor and situational-awareness displays, according to the command’s official request for information.

The idea for the project came about several years ago after a member of special operations forces was shot and killed while entering the door of a suspected insurgent, McRaven said. A young officer asked him a question he couldn’t answer: After all these years in combat, why isn’t there a way to better protect operators going through the door?

“With all the advance in modern technology, I know we can do better,” McRaven said.

Some 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities and 10 national laboratories are working on the program, McRaven said. “We are already seeing astounding results of this collaboration,” he said.

The command also plans to hold a “Monster Garage” event to encourage mechanics and master craftsmen alike to develop components for the suit, McRaven said. It may also seek authority from the Pentagon to distribute prize money to generate even more interest in the effort, he said.

The applied technology project has the potential to provide the U.S. with a “huge comparative advantage over our enemies and give our warriors the protection they need,” McRaven said.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Conor

    Sounds as though it’s inspired by MJOLNIR.

  • Lyton

    Local police departments in the U.S. are getting hand-me-down MRAPs from the military. Some folks are complaining about the over-militarization of our police. (The Wall Street Journal recently had an interesting article on this.) How long after the miltary gets these suits will it take for our local cops to also be wearing them, creating a true Robocop?

    • blight_

      Probably not long. Though if they’re expensive enough and in low-rate production, they are unlikely to trickle down. And if they are ridiculously expensive, law enforcement is likely to decline them.

    • Steve

      Oh and on the MRAPs that is another problem, yeah you get the vehicle for free, but the maintenance is the expensive part. Trust me, getting a “free” MRAP sounds great, but unless your doing long haul convoys they really are not very good. The US military just doesn’t need them. Plus they take a ton of fuel, so you need a mother of fuel card if you want to use it for any more than show.
      Trust me if I was a police force I would much rather have an ASV, which has been in the army before the war started and still is today. Look it up, better armor, better fire power and made to go quick and hit hard. Like a SWAT team, which is all local or large cities need.

    • John

      They’ll start selling this kit to local municipalities as soon as a couple SWAT officers get clipped. With every local suburban county having some form of SWAT unit it’s only a matter of time before we see some casualties.

      • You clearly no nothing about police operations.

    • These are not hand-me-downs, but rather are given to police departments to use while not being used for military service. It is officially federal property, so at anytime the government can take it back. By no means is this “militarizing” our police forces, as it is more expensive to use these machine than they are to keep in a garage in working order.

  • ken

    Dude on the right looks like he’s from the movie Starship Troopers.

    • tmb2

      The helmet definitely matches.

    • puresalt A1A

      Spot on!! All he needs is a nuclear tipped RPG lol….

    • Here’s the video from Objective Force Warrior that features the suit and its capabilities… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf4hTSHqrQs

      Patriotically corny but I still liked it.

      • lol i just commented saying that exact thing to my friend sitting next to me the second i saw this.

        Def looks like some influence came from starship troopers

    • Thomas

      Would you like to know more?

  • RRGED

    Totally irrelevant in a real world, our military got bog down with IED’s, now you wanna spend millions on developing expensive suits that can be destroyed by very cheap improvised weapon. The rest of the world are barely up on new high tech……Sure if we suddenly under attack from Aliens, then the high tech suit, till then chill-out , our special ops will probably opt out wearing all that stuff.

  • hibeam

    Cool. These guys can point out where the IEDs are buried to our drone operators.

  • Lance

    More waste more computers in a person? Hate to see a EMP off that immobilize our solders…. literally. Get better tactics a Iran man suit is not needed they didn’t report here but on another web sight that they cant make this work so far because there no battery that can work it and be detachable for a solder. Waste of money while me need new ships subs and more F-22 and F-15 upgrades this sci fi crap this moron Admiral wants is rubbish.

  • Big-Dean

    let’s all pray its operating system is not MS windows!

  • Hunter76

    Let’s hope we’re exploring options for protective wear! We’re not committing providing this to every GI. Exoskelton? How about just a half-skelton? Enable the laden soldier to walk for hours without total exhaustion. Put most of weight on the hips.

  • rtsy

    “56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities and 10 national laboratories”

    Sounds like a procurement nightmare aka: money pit.

  • Auyong Ah Meng

    Space Marines!!!

    O.o

    Wow.

    • Johnny Cinco

      next people will be kidnapped for skeletal augmentation like SPARTAN project.

      • To hell with kidnapped, I’m looking for volunteers

      • UFOO

        Yay – I think there is no more kidnapped people from aliens from space :-(

  • joe

    It’s not necessarily intended for standard battle dress. It’d be unnecessary and – as pointed out – actively harmful in plenty of situations: long distance patrol where power supply is an issue, sneaky ops where silence is key, vehicle-based patrol where the last thing the crew of up-armoured, cramped vehicles want is MORE bulk strapped to their persons.

    But for a “breaching”, kick-in-the-door role, as described, I can see it being valuable – for police SWAT as well as security/occupation military forces. It doesn’t have to last long, and it allows you to carry more armour than would otherwise be possible whilst retaining combat effectiveness.

    I can see a similar principle being useful for an EOD expert, too.

  • oblatt2

    Our soldiers need every advantage they can get because right now they are beaten by farmers.

    But the fundamental problem is that they don’t want to be there. No amount of body armor is going to make a solider who just wants to go home into a soldier that wants to win.

    • scott

      how do you figure their getting beaten by farmers we’re the ones with better tactics and weapons.

      • Vers

        Seems like your Voyeurism is more pathological than those at the NSA. Or is it schizophrenic hallucinations.

        • William_C1

          Oblat lives to invent false information, I’m just taking a page out of his book. Although he does seem to have quite the love for the Taliban.

    • fuishu

      How about a change in the ROE the ROE has caused more hesitation and more death than anything else. I’m all about better armor for the operators the more ballistic protection the better as far as I’m concerned but, none of that matters if the operators can’t engage without prison being in the back of their minds.

    • MOMO

      FIRST OFF WE KICK EVERYONES ASS AND 2ND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT

  • SleepNoMore

    Gee, I always thought that when the “special Operators” go into a house, they blow the door through and toss grenades in first…then kill anything that moves…oh wait, that was Haditha…and the Marines…so I wonder what Marines on Steroids do?

    • James

      They will just make their own door instead of using the pre-existing one and still blow the holy he!! out of anyone or thing inside the building. Either that or just level the building and then blow away anything/one that survived having a building dropped on its head.

      • W.R.Monger

        works for me :)

    • James

      Iwas in Haditha and we didn’t go around indiscremanatly killing but if you would like to step through one of those doors and look around first then be my guest we can kill them after they kill you that would be fine with me. Unless you have been in that situation you should keep your mouth shut. Simper Fi

  • wtpworrier

    I always thought it would be a ROBO COP type suit, but hey! Iron Man will work.

  • raf qpsk

    Just what we need now. Another money burning program. I hope the rich who are getting richer(once more) on this buy themselves new shiny stuff that no one else needs.
    God forgive they would buy something for us poor sods.

  • Robbie

    I realize the end goal is to revolutionize overall protection, but if the near-term driver is just getting the first guy thru the door unhurt there has to be a way to quickly field something merely adequate while we wait on something exquisite.

    Cops already use a large, clear “plexiglass” shield to good effect, for example. Couldn’t our brainiacs design a smaller, lighter, collapsible/foldable version that fits in a military breachers’ backpack?

    You know, something simple to quickly address the immediate problem…….

    • Jlee

      Like the Bat-Shield from ’60s Batman TV show?

      • Robbie

        Something simple and rudimentarily effective. An inflatable kevlar fabric shield?

    • orly?

      “Cops already use a large, clear “plexiglass” shield to good effect, for example.” – Robbie

      Those don’t offer ANY ballistic protection.

      The giant ballistic shields are usually very very heavy. The clear polycarbonate CANNOT defeat rifle rounds.

      This isn’t COD.

    • Rich T

      They have it, they just didn’t buy it. San Tan Gear RDS System, they are on the web, A few of the police units are starting to use them in WVA and AZ

    • tiger

      Uh, Ala Captain America?

  • tankjas

    What would Gen. George S. Patton think?

  • Matthew Ferguson

    Would be great if it came with a constitution compliance protocol overide in the law enforcement version.

  • Alvar

    Gone are the days of cheek weld…

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    This week’s problem might be a man with a rifle. Next week it might be a better booby trap, the equivalent of a Claymore facing the front door. Armor sufficient to protect the wearer from an explosion on that scale is probably going to need to be powered.

    Joe, I wonder if the first use of an exoskeleton in battle might not be to let a team run to the X from a drop-off point well away from the X, to set overwatch on something with tripod-mounted equipment, in expectation of a later pickup by air or vehicle when discretion is no longer needed.

  • jack

    Sounds good, but if they have an AI assisant, it needs to be called JARVIS

  • J. J.

    I spent 30 years in U.S. military, and a very big thing I learned in those 30 years was: One of the jobs of our military is to keep our civilians employed !

  • Darnelle

    i say we should make an ODST suit from halo…….it looks more bad ass and maybe more confortable…..but expensive for the helmet with all the tech and stuff that it comes with.

    • the helmet would probably be about 1000 for an advanced model. First you’d need a computer built into the armor, programmed with a well written targeting software. On top of that, you’d need a view screen, about 4 inches wide, positioned in front of your dominate eye, that could be retracted when not needed. Cameras built into weapons sights could give you heads up scope view without ever raising the rifle to your shoulder, and could include IR for night firing. Finally, 2 light sets, built into the sides of the helmet, one set IR and one high intensity. The face shield would be polarized, and there would be a night vision camera built into the visor, to add heads up night vision. built into the arms would include tactical next gen GPS, and a keyboard/touch pad mouse combo, for interface with the onboard computer. something small, enabling you to recieve up to date info from command, while in the field. If you can’t tell, I have put a lot of thought and planning into the system

  • Connor

    This suit, I believe, will not be used much more than logistical armor. One of the main purposes for the TALO suit is to carry more supplies farther and faster on the standard soldier. While special operators may get armor for close quarters, it is highly unlikely that it will be used as a weapon.

    And Lance, a couple things.
    One- You may be right about us not needing this right now, but this could still help save lives, and make others easier.
    Two- Despite their common occurrence in Call of Duty, EMPs have never been used in a conflict. An EMP is a by-product of a nuclear weapon’s explosion.
    Three- We currently have the worlds most powerful military. We do not need more billion dollar ships or fighters.
    Four- Get a dictionary and learn to use punctuation.

  • Jason

    Now all they need is an arc reactor and Jarvis. Then this will be a success.

  • Heimskr

    Talos the mighty! Talos the unerring! Talos the unassailable! To you we give praise!
    We are but maggots, writhing in the filth of our own corruption! While you have ascended from the dung of mortality, and now walk among the stars!

    But you were once man! Aye! And as man, you said, “Let me show you the power of Talos Stormcrown, born of the North, where my breath is long winter. I breathe now, in royalty, and reshape this land which is mine. I do this for you, Red Legions, for I love you.”

    Aye, love. Love! Even as man, great Talos cherished us. For he saw in us, in each of us, the future of Skyrim! The future of Tamriel!

    And there it is, friends! The ugly truth! We are the children of man! Talos is the true god of man! Ascended from flesh, to rule the realm of spirit!

    The very idea is inconceivable to our Elven overlords! Sharing the heavens with us? With man? Ha! They can barely tolerate our presence on earth!

    Today, they take away your faith. But what of tomorrow? Do the elves take your homes? Your businesses? Your children? Your very lives?

    And what does the Empire do? Nothing! Nay, worse than nothing! The Imperial machine enforces the will of the Thalmor! Against its own people!

    So rise up! Rise up, children of the Empire! Rise up, Stormcloaks! Embrace the word of mighty Talos, he who is both man and Divine!

    For we are the children of man! And we shall inherit both the heavens and the earth! And we, not the Elves or their toadies, will rule Skyrim! Forever!

    Terrible and powerful Talos! We, your unworthy servants, give praise! For only through your grace and benevolence may we truly reach enlightenment!

    And deserve our praise you do, for we are one! Ere you ascended and the Eight became Nine, you walked among us, great Talos, not as god, but as man!

    Trust in me, Whiterun! Trust in the words of Heimskr! For I am the chosen of Talos! I alone have been anointed by the Ninth to spread his holy word!

    • TotallyNot_a_thalmor

      Shut up you filthy nord. there are 8 divines. EIGHT. Talos worship was outlawed in the white-gold concordat. A Thalmor peacekeeper will arrive at your home to educate you shortly.

  • Tracy

    I always wondered why the soldiers didn’t have full body light weight suites like Star Wars that would prevent the IED from having an affect on brain tramua

    • blight_

      After Earnhardt died, they moved to HANS devices in addition to six point seatbelts. A HANS device protects the head from whiplash type injuries, so an IED that flips a Humvee over will inflict considerable head injury.

      However, protection from the blast wave may be more challenging. Even with a HANS device, the pressure wave will still hit a person, and transmit force to the brain. Wearing an enclosed suit would help only with proper bracing like with a HANS, since a wearer of an enclosed suit tossed in a overturned vehicle will experience considerable TBI.

    • Hunter76

      The Imperial Stormtroopers not only couldn’t shoot straight, their armor was totally ineffective.

      • blight_

        It seems like a mismatch between the weaponry and the armor. If the weaponry is well ahead of the armor, why bring it?

        We stopped wearing armor when guns could beat them, and didn’t go back to armor until kevlar and hardened plates.

  • CouchFighter

    These gonna be the juiciest targets since tanks have been sent inside crowded cities…couldnt wait to see them in the crosshair with a .50 caliber AP round attached…

  • Tad

    “With all the advance in modern technology, I know we can do better,” McRaven said.

    Of course you can. The Germans used these things called tanks to roll right through doors and houses, with little-to-no risk to the (special) operators of the tanks.

  • YodamanUK

    Well ADM McRaven, all you need now is some volunteers to have plutonium reactors implanted in their chests to power this crap! And you’re a 4-Star Admiral. Really?!?!?!?

  • YodamanUK

    And, what is this going to cost the American taxpayer, Admiral?

  • YodamanUK

    Take your pick; Storm Troopers–clones, or mechanical drones. ADM McRaven has picked Storm Troopers. We are doomed, and our military leaders are the problem, not the solution.

  • kirk

    I have to agree with a lot of you. to noisey / just more to carry / an E.M.P. would take out the computers! / no power sorce. be sides: ware would you keep this thing. what person would walk around in it all day and sleep in it as well. in witch brings back the power sorce problum. the plex glass sounds real good! and put this thing on the worng cops and ware all in trouble.

  • Rob

    I see possibility for future glove designs similar to hockey style. Kevlar wrapped they would seem to very protective
    https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A

  • Bat

    It looks like the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” suit has arrived ! A WW I British “Doughboy” hat.. Wouldn’t call it a helmet, makes a dashing statement Field wear is about ruggedness, and threatening the enemy, not posing for Womens Wear Daily or Vogue magazine ! You need not fire a shot when the enemy will die laughing !

  • This is my first time visit at here and i am really impressed to read all at alone place.

  • jan

    No match for a good old fasion molotov coctail :) Fail suits..

    • blight_

      So you think a dishdasha and flipflops, or a IBV with SAPI is “Fail suits” because it fails to pass the molotov test?

  • vikas

    Nice thinking but use more thrust to fly this protoype

  • vikas

    Or one question plzz answer this question
    which technology is used display in helpmate?
    our is not able to see in distance less than 15 cm then how to able to see?

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