Legacy Effects, an American special-effects company, is currently working on a project to create “Iron Man”-style armored suits for the U.S. military. They would protect soldiers and enable them to carry heavy high-tech gear in the future.
The company’s designers, who have created outfits for the title characters in films such as “RoboCop” and “The Terminator, as well as “Iron Man,” are reportedly part of a U.S. Special Operations Command project to build the next generation of protective suits for elite U.S. troops within the next four years, the Wall Street Journal said. The newspaper noted military officials recently examined three prototypes of the armor.
“We are trying to be revolutionary,” Mike Fieldson, the U.S. military’s manager of the project to construct what is known as the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or Talos, told the Journal.
In addition to Legacy Effects designers, the Talos project team also includes bioengineers, experienced soldiers, technology experts and a Canadian researcher who is studying insect armors for possible ideas.
The project also brings together prop-making companies, small technology firms and defense giants such as the General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE:GD), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) and Raytheon Co. (NYSE:RTN).
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According to developers, the suit could weigh as much as 400 pounds, but it would enable impressive agility and speed, thanks to a powered exoskeleton to move the armor. While the fictional “Iron Man” suit is fueled by a mini “arc reactor” the protagonist Tony Stark wears on his chest, Pentagon researchers said the nonfictional suit currently envisioned by developers would require 365 pounds of batteries for power, according to the Journal.
In February, Adm. William McRaven, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said he wanted the new armors to be used in combat by August 2018. However, he also said that such a suit is unlikely to have a power source strong enough and small enough in place by then.
“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,” Lt. Col. Karl Borjes, a science adviser at the U.S. Army's research, development and engineering command, was quoted as saying by BBC News when the Talos project was first reported last year.