The U.S. military is getting closer to having a fully operational exoskeleton armored suit -- in other words, an "Iron Man" suit -- a top U.S. Navy commander says.
The ambitious plan is being pushed by the commander of U.S. Special Operations, Adm. William McRaven, who said Tuesday that such a suit will be tested in June. Its name: Talos, or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit.
The idea behind the Talos suit is to give better capability to Navy SEALs and U.S. Army Special Forces as well as other elite units that fight in some of the most hostile environments in the world. While McRaven wants the Talos to be used in combat by August 2018, he also accepts that they are unlikely to have a power source strong enough and small enough in place by then. He said that a suit could be powered by a generator but that it wouldn’t be practical for the operations that the special forces do. So unlike the suit that Tony Stark wore in the blockbuster movies, the military’s suit is likely to be unpowered.
The project was launched last year and prototypes from the military are due to be delivered in June.
The main inspiration for the suit, says McRaven, was a commando who lost his comrade in combat.
It’s expected that the suit will be filled with a special futuristic liquid that hardens when a magnetic field and electrical current is applied. It’s also going to include communications antennae, sensors linked to the wearer’s brain, and a range of computers.
McRaven is not sure what the military will come up with or what the suit will cost, so he wants to open up the field and offer offer a $10 million prize for anyone who creates a successful prototype. It’s likely the suit will cost a lot more than that.