After six years of work, Special Operations Command’s goal to develop an “Iron Man suit” to protect commandos during raids has fallen short and won’t be fielded as envisioned, SOCOM’s senior acquisition official said Feb. 6.
The idea for the tactical assault light operator suit (TALOS) sprung from former SOCOM Commander Adm. William McRaven, who announced the campaign at the 2013 National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict conference. He wanted more protection for the first special operator to go through a door during raids. The “Iron Man” suit — as it was more popularly known — would protect against bullets and blasts and have enough power for it to operate untethered.
Nevertheless, a lot of technologies the command “is very excited about” has emerged as spinoffs from the program, including lighter body armor, increased weapon stabilization, a visual augmentation system that projects information onto goggles and the exoskeleton itself.
While it is not ready for the mission McRaven envisioned, Smith said when the final prototype is delivered this year, it will be the best exoskeleton in the Defense Department.
“It will not be something that our operators would feel comfortable putting on a close-combat environment today. So moving, shooting, communicating in the face of enemy fire, not quite there yet,” he said. However, it could be used in other missions such as logistics and during long-distance marches.