This is part 1 of a 10-part series covering U.S. Special Operations Command’s Top 10 technology needs leading up to the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, May 21-25, 2018. Today: The Iron Man Suit.
There perhaps has been no higher profile Special Operations Command technology development program over the past few years than the tactical assault light operator suit, or TALOS.
The idea sprung from former SOCOM Commander Adm. William McRaven in 2013. He wanted more protection for the first special operator to go through a door during raids. The suit would protect against bullets and blasts and have enough power for it to operate untethered. He set August 2018 as the deadline for the first working prototype and received $80 million for the first four years of development.
Meanwhile, the mainstream press picked up on the story after comparisons were made to the Iron Man superhero. Early SOCOM illustrations of the concept and a video it created with a fully-armored operator bursting through a door with bullets ricocheting off the armor certainly influenced the nickname, although officials have since downplayed the moniker.