US special operators are notoriously low-profile “silent professionals.” But lately the Internet’s been abuzz over Special Operations Command’s effort to build a high-tech suit of bulletproof armor – TALOS, the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – that the normally understated chief of SOCOM, Adm. William McRaven, actually compared to the metal-clad superhero Iron Man.

Make no mistake: This is no mistake. SOCOM is deliberately drumming up the hype because TALOS is the one thing they’re doing that they actually want everyone to hear about. It’s a conscious effort to get the word out to innovators in industry, academe, and even high schools who might otherwise have never thought of working with SOCOM. Why? Because without their help, TALOS is doomed to fail.

TALOS’s goals stretch the art of the possible to the breaking point. By contrast, the regular Army is moving steadily forward with incremental improvements to existing body armor – which is already way ahead of the protection troops had ten years ago – and intends to field a “Soldier Protection System” at least 10 percent lighter than current suits by 2016. But SOCOM wants to leap ahead to a bulletproof suit so heavy that a human could hardly move in it without a strength-enhancing mechanism called an exoskeleton – and it wants a functioning “proof of concept” prototype by 2018.

“The media frenzy that you’re talking about, that’s by design,” said Michael Fieldson, the SOCOM civilian who’s in charge of TALOS. “We want to get out there because this is a very challenging problem,” he told me. “You might not get there if you stuck to the traditional approach.”

TALOS has already gotten a lot of attention: 80 companies, 11 universities, and four government-funded laboratories participated in an August planning session addressed by Adm. McRaven. Of the 46 companies that showed specific products at a demonstration in July – also attended by McRaven, who stayed twice the time allotted on his official schedule – half a dozen are already building exoskeletons. But those systems right now are “rudimentary,” Fieldson admitted. The 2018 deadline is still going to be tight, he said: “We’ll need every minute of that five-year period.”

While SOCOM’s exploring all sorts of wearable computers, sensors, and advanced armor materials for its new super-suit, the highest and most crucial hurdle is the exoskeleton to carry all that weight – and the power system to run the exoskeleton. Current battery technology won’t cut it. Without some radical improvements, the exoskeleton will need a multi-kilowatt generator of the kind that runs on gas and weighs 50 to 100 pounds. “The guy’s basically going to carry around a Honda generator on his back,” Fieldson said. “How are we going to be able to generate that kind of power?”

TALOS doesn’t even have its own budget yet, Fieldson told me: “We’re not a program. We’re not a project. Right now, we’re a vision.”

Army concepts for future armor.

Army concepts for future armor.

 

The Regular Army: Slow And Steady

Compare SOCOM’s high-risk, high-reward approach to the much more modest – and much more manageable – Soldier Protection System, which is now officially a “program of record.” (That said, no one would tell me the actual budget numbers). “We’re looking at beginning initial production in the third quarter of FY [fiscal year] ’15,” said Lt. Col. Frank Lozano, the Army’s Project Manager for Soldier Protective Equipment.

The Army has already awarded six development contracts, with more in negotiation. Ceradyne, Gentex, and Revision will develop competing helmets. Ceradyne and defense giant BAE will compete to build the body armor. AlphaMicron is (so far unchallenged) developing the eye protection, which will not only stop shrapnel but switch from sunglasses to clear at the touch of a button as troops move in and out of darkened buildings.

So who’s working on the exoskeleton for SPS? Well, nobody: It’s not going to have one.

“Different organizations look at different technologies based on their level of maturity,” Lozano told me. “I’m responsible for fielding capabilities that can be realized in three to 10 years….lighter-weight soft armor designs, lighter-weight ceramic designs, and lighter-weight helmet designs that I can get a five, 10, 15 percent weight reduction on immediately.”

In fact, Lozano expects most of the weight savings in SPS to come from more efficient design, not from new materials. “It’s probably 70:30,” he told me. Why? “Over the last ten years, we have needed to get new equipment out in the field very urgently,” he said. “That saves lives [but] you were constantly adding more material.” Now, with Iraq over, Afghanistan winding down, and the procurement system returning to a more deliberate approach, the Army actually has time to redesign its armor from scratch to get the most protection – and the least discomfort – for the lowest possible weight.

An Army soldier wearing today's protective -- but bulky and awkward -- body armor.
An Army soldier wearing today’s protective — but bulky and awkward — body armor.

The Army’s approach doesn’t bet the farm on high-tech breakthroughs. “We’ve really pushed the limits of technology where we are right now,” Lozano told me. Unlike digital technologies such as computers and smartphones, body armor depends on inventing new physical materials: “The technology evolves very slowly,” Lozano said.

But TALOS requires a revolution. SOCOM wants “a transformational change,” Fieldson told me. “We’re really trying to take more than just that little 10 percent increase in capability.” That’s part of why McRaven invoked Iron Man, to make clear that this is something different, Fieldson said: “We don’t want people to think of this as the next incremental improvement on what kit the operators currently have.”

That’s why SOCOM has put out a computer-generated video showing a TALOS-armored trooper shrugging off AK-47 rifle rounds at point-blank range. That’s why Adm. McRaven, addressing industry at the July demonstrations, declared: “I am very committed to this. I am very committed to it because I’d like that last operator we lost to be the last one we ever lose in this fight or the fight of the future, and I think we can get there.”

That’s a utopian goal given the nature of war. And even if such invulnerable armor could be developed, could the United States afford it for every single servicemember in harm’s way?

A Florida National Guard soldier mourns a fallen comrade.

A Florida National Guard soldier mourns a fallen comrade.

Armoring The Elite, Or Everyone?

While today’s body armor is issued to almost everyone, from special operators to support troops driving supply trucks, TALOS is currently intended only for a subset of a subset of a subset. It’s not for the whole ground force. It’s not for ordinary Army or Marine Corps infantrymen, who suffer the most casualties in most modern wars. It’s not even for lower-priority special operators like Civil Affairs, advisor teams, or, quite possibly, even the Army Rangers. It’s only for “direct action” units like the SEALs – of which McRaven is a veteran – that go on the highest-risk missions against the highest-priority targets, such as Osama Bin Laden in 2011 or, less successfully the Somali-based terrorist Ikrimah earlier this month.

“We really don’t think everybody in SOF and certainly not everybody in the army would end up with one of these things,” said Fieldson. “It would be cost-prohibitive.”

“Of course they say that!” exploded Robert Scales, the retired two-star commandant of the US Army War College, who’s been pushing since at least the mid-1990s for better equipment, including exoskeletons, for every infantryman. “This needs to be something that applies to the ground services [in general],” he told me. “A dead soldier from the 10th Mountain Division counts just as much as a dead special operator.”

“It’s not about cost: It’s about priorities,” Scales said. “You’ve seen the cost of the latest F-35?” (The latest installment of Joint Strike Fighters went for $7 billion).  Yet no fighter pilots have died to enemy action, as opposed to accidents, since the Iraqi air defense system was destroyed in the “shock and awe” attacks of 2003, compared to thousands of ground troops killed in the decade since.

Why isn’t the nation investing billions in keeping infantrymen alive? Scales fumed. “Why isn’t that a priority?”

But protective technology has its limits, especially in the mud and dust of ground combat. The brutal chaos of land battle is less susceptible to high-tech solutions than combat in clear blue sky, countered retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, a former senior commander in Afghanistan now at the Center for a New American Security. Technology could and did transform air warfare. American aviators suffered heavily from World War II right through Vietnam, where radar-guided anti-aircraft missiles joined traditional flak and fighter threats. Then a trio of innovations – long-range missiles, precision guidance, and stealth – allowed the US to take down air defense systems with minimal losses.

“We have got the technological capability in our society, in our industrial base, to be able to dominate the air battlefield,” Barno told me. “There is no such technology on the ground.”

Might TALOS be that breakthrough? Maybe, someday. In its current form, however, “there will be an incremental improvement,” Barno said. TALOS troopers could carry heavier armor and weapons, but basic tactics will remain the same as they have for a hundred years.

Trench warfare in World War I.

Trench warfare in World War I.

War Never Changes

For all the technological advances of the last 100 years, “infantry combat has not undergone any radical change since the latter years of the First World War,” said Bruce Gudmundsson, a military historian and professor at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va. The invention of the machinegun forced the infantry to stop marching shoulder-to-shoulder in the regular lines and columns in which they had fought – whether with rifle, musket, pike, or sword – for the thousands of years since recorded history began. Instead troops had to disperse into small teams trained to take cover, maneuver, and most importantly to make decisions on their own.

“The key element is training,” Gudmundsson told me. “If a Western special operations guy trades equipment with a Third World militiaman, he retains the great bulk of his advantage.” In fact, all the essential categories of equipment are available to either sides: assault rifles, machineguns, grenades, rocket launchers, and nowadays even handheld radios, body armor, and night vision goggles. “While the versions of these weapons that Western soldiers have may be better than the ones used against them,” he said, “the degree of improvement is far from revolutionary.”

Powered exoskeletons – probably not TALOS itself but its descendants – have the potential to be a revolution. Imagine powered armor that let soldiers run through rifle fire at superhuman speed, like two-legged tanks. “Instead of moving three miles per hour, if you can move at a sustained rate of 10, 15, 20 miles per hour, that’s going to change that infantry combat equation immensely,” Barno said. “That’s really paradigm breaking.”

“I think it’s smart to experiment with it,” Barno said. “You don’t want to go whole hog into this without knowing it works.”

Special Operations Command, Barno said, is the ideal pathfinder into new ground-troop technology because it’s organizationally agile and ruthlessly pragmatic: “If it doesn’t work, they throw it in the trash and move on to something else.”

If it does work for SOCOM, it’ll trickle down over time to the rest of the armed forces, Barno went on. “Individual kit on a 10th Mountain Division soldier now looks like what a Delta Force soldier would have had twenty years ago in a lot of ways,” he said, “and they [regular infantry] are better equipped than a Ranger squad in Afghanistan ten years ago.”

Scales agreed, up to a point. When the military went into Iraq without adequate protective gear, he recalled, “it took a milli-microsecond for the parents of America to wake up and say tell me again why my son got through the chest because he didn’t have adequate body armor, but it was SOF that led the fight in those days and came up with technologies that soldiers use today.”

“If SOF is the lead agent in this, if SOF is the real small-unit S&T program for the Army, fine,” Scales sighed. “The degree of resources lavished on small units is the be-all and end-all of Special Forces.” But that SOCOM has to lead the way “shows the bankruptcy” of the current system, he added: Ground troop tech like TALOS should be tri-service programs, he argued, with the costs shared by and different variants developed for the three ground forces, SOCOM, the regular Army, and the Marines – much like the Joint Strike Fighter for the three services that fly combat jets.

No matter how well organized the effort, however, no matter how innovative the technology, ground combat will remain an ugly business in a way air war is not.

“In close combat, you inevitably get into situations you can’t control,” Barno warned. “We’re still going to have soldiers that are in hand to hand combat, that kill people with knives, that wrestle an enemy soldier to the ground and hit him on the head with a rock.”

Nor is there any way to remove the human from harm’s way, as is beginning to happen in air warfare with armed drones. With all sorts of obstacles, including innocent civilians, the ground environment is much more complicated for a computer to process than the open sky. So at least for now, said Barno, “we don’t have the technology to have a robotic vehicle that has the same capabilities as a soldier… that can see, perceive, decide, act.”

“That’s the most crucial part of what doesn’t change,” agreed Fieldson, SOCOM’s TALOS chief. “You want to keep the special operator’s ability to make decisions. Otherwise we wouldn’t have a person in the suit.”

Comments

  • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

    Of course the corporate pigs are lining up for this ponzi scheme that’s nothing but a goldmine for them. We no longer have admirals and generals we have corporate CEOs running the military and bringing us to our knees. Obama is no civilian leader of the military he’s just a common fascist along with his coward congress that keeps supporting this corporate ponzi scheme.

    America has lost it’s ability to win wars against low tech women and kids and just continues to bring us into a state of failure for corporate profits. Put the war back in war and maybe we can end some of these wars brought to us by corporate piggery.

    • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

      You cannot win in a war where the enemy is among the people. And those people do not suffer. As with Germany and Japan you have to bring all to their knees, make all hungry, make all see that they had better point out the enemy and keep the enemy shut up, neutralized or everyone pays for that and tomorrow their only worries will be should I run and get under the bombs and get it over or not. Probably take a year if not 2 or 3 systematically being in the air above them and dropping bombs as clockwork. And no pattern to that. Here today the bombs fall for no reason and tomorrow over there. It is not they fell here today so they will fall over there tomorrow. Live beneath that as the Germans and Japanese did. Then when you go in you don’t have to buy friends they show up willingly to be your friend for they know the alternative. But you got to step back as a Human being and say to yourself is the collateral damage better to me than the killing and extremism that is in that place? Will I still be a Human in the end or will I be a cold blooded murderer? What will that extremism do shall I lose against it? Which is the better world! My pin pricks and Green Zones against the enemy has done what?

      • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

        “Enlighten
        the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind
        will vanish like the evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

        • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

          The only way you are going to enlighten people is to affect their way of life. If I am in Afghanistan doing my daily routine and others are getting blown away I am enlightened. You come over head with something as the 8th USAAF and I see I need all to be enlightened.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            You have no business being in Afghanistan unless they invite you there.

          • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

            So if people are their training to come and kill you just wait til they get real good and come to the USA?

          • 10579

            We were by the northern alliance,back in 2001.right before 9-11

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Keep telling yourself that as you sink farther into the sewer you created teabag.

          • 10579

            Teabags forever, they are better than the socialist that you are. At least we care for our fighting men and women, but people like you would rather they throw stones and get cut down by russian made AK 47s.By the way how are things on the reservation and your head dress is on crooked. Funny I thought only warriors, and braves of which you are not,wore head dresses

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Your forever ends in one year Marxist. Only a fool could put a knife to their own throat.

          • Chris Griffin

            the teabag statement just proves all my other post above were correct about you.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Tea bag away fool make those democrat victories in 2014 record breaking just like the idiots that caused the great depression and Hoovervilles did.

          • Chris Griffin

            They had no business harboring a terrorist that headed and controlled the murder of 3000 people not counting the numerous acts against humanity that the Taliban committed and continue to commit but I guess you don’t care about the rest of the world you preach a good game but your words speak the truth to your true character.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Your support for terrorist Jews and Al Qaeda shows what your real agenda is.

        • allbuss84

          Liberal fallacy.

          In the real world, they were training children to oppose the coming invasion with bamboo spears in Japan. We won that war because we carpet bombed every one of their cities.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Yes in a real war not these corporate wars you cowards support.

          • ted

            Jack you seem very bitter.Are you Native American?.And i’m not asking you to criticize you. I just want to know why your draws are in a bunch. Warriors fight with everything available at time of battle.If sitting bull would have had a “A” Bomb he would have no doubt used it against white man. And we would be not be having this discussion about weapons.Lots of Native Americans have died on a lot of Battlefields since the beginning of this country proudly. And thank God for there service to it.As to real War?.Any conflick between two people involving a weapon is a real war to them weather it be on a battle field or home ground.Ether can take your life in a instant. Just have to watch the news to realize the facts. combat marine Vet. teacher loses his life by 12 yr.old kid U.S.A. You say we are corporate cowards?. I don’t think so.We just wish that our country has the best of the best for our troops that put themselves every day in harms way for you and me.Regardless of corporate greed as we all know exists in a lot of factories. We are not stupid like you may think.My only argument is that it stay circulating in OUR country providing jobs for Americans and not farmed out to forign countrys.As well as those corporate funds earned here. In the nutshell we all feel frustrated at what’s going on in our country and has been for years. WHATS THE ANSWER? Voting for what you think is your candidate for change for the better has been the theme since I have been voting and thats several years. Guess what? We got change but not what I voted for.So when we all figure out how to make real change MAYBE we will get this country back in the hands of real Americans for the People By The People.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Maybe we need to really need to start voting for change instead of big campaign funds. Their will not be any change coming from politicians that are swimming in corporate campaign funds or by the politically correct crowd that keeps the voters distracted from real issues. We don’t need politicians that manufacture phony crisis we have enough crisis to handle for now. Lets bring back the draft and see how many of our political war mongers still say rape the world for corporate profits.

          • Chris Griffin

            Clueless and seem a bit like a socialist. Guessing you are a blind vote whom voted for Obama not one but twice let me guess if you could even with the turmoil this country is in would still vote for him.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Your support for fascism is obvious. You cowards will do anything including murdering innocent women and children while you hide in a closet away from the action.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            Our country supplies jobs? Who are these jobs supplied to besides China and a few puppet states while Americans spend their time in soup kitchens. Don’t preach to me about war these are nothing but wars for corporate profits and I was fighting in WWII and Korea before most of you were born. Their is no justification for murdering innocent women and children with drones or corporate war machines. Iraq is a lie, Afghanistan is a lie, Iran is lying propaganda spouted by terrorist Jews.

          • Chris Griffin

            yeah see people like jack just don’t understand a soldiers job is to fight with honor and do what he is told even when they don’t support the war because you believe your leaders are making the right decisions. But I would guess jack is just another Bin Laden supporter that thinks he had nothing to do with 9/11 and the murder of 3000 on a single day.

          • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

            lol nice Koch bumper sticker. When you can’t do anything but lose just bring out the hate bumper stickers.

            When President George W. Bush froze assets connected
            to Osama bin Laden, he didn’t tell the American people that the terrorist mastermind’s late brother was an investor in the president’s former oil business in Texas. He also hasn’t leveled with the American public about his financial connections to a host of shady Saudi characters involved in drug cartels, gun smuggling, and terrorist networks.
            Bush’s Former Oil Company Linked To bin Laden Family

            Now that the U.S. Congress is investigating the truth of President George W. Bush’s statements about the Iraq war, they might look into one of his most startling assertions: that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

            Critics dismissed that as an invention. They were wrong. There was a link, but not the one Bush was selling. The link between Hussein and Bin Laden was their banker, BCCI. But the link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist – it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretchedall the way to George W. Bush and his father.
            Ties Between the Bush Family and Osama bin Laden

            The fact that Osama bin Laden — who planned and executed the attacks of September 11th, 2001, murdering three thousand people — is still not even a target of the President of the United States some six long years later should tell everyone in this country one thing: George W.
            Bush has no intention of ever capturing or bringing him to justice. And why is that? Because the Bin Ladens and the Bush Families have been business partners for over 50 years now. In fact, we might as well call it the B&B Company, because that’s what it truly is!
            George W. Bush Will Never Go After Osama bin Laden. Why? The B&B Company is Why

          • Gary Church

            yeah see people like Chris just don’t understand that UBL won. The only reason for 911 was that airbase in Saudi Arabia. The fundamentalist’ could not tolerate pork eating infidels on holy ground- and those towers came down. We abandoned that base and a trillion dollars later………..

          • ted

            And the expensive High tech Weapon called.”ATOMIC BOMB”
            Make no mistake Hiroshima and Nagasaki is what convinced the
            Japanese to surrender.Superior fire power is the key to all war’s.Guts to use it when needed is also the key.Make no mistake about it.

          • Gary Church

            It was a mistake to drop those bombs. Incinerating all those dangerous women and children with their bamboo spears is not something to be proud of. There is no proof that the bomb ended the war. The Japanese were beaten and in contact with the red cross looking for terms. They were already “convinced.” I almost got in a fist fight once because of my opinion on this. That taught me to keep my mouth shut. Thank God for the internet.

          • Chris Griffin

            Really because when the US offered them terms they turned them down even after the first bomb. Don’t forget fire bombing of Tokyo that killed 97k-120k people and that’s just one city these bomb did hasten the end of the war and if they did not you would have seen all of japan burning and well over a million burned alive. Obviously you never did learn to keep you’re mouth shut.

          • Gary Church

            You should try reading a couple books instead of just watching the history channel Chris. People like you are why I have to speak out. You are just plain wrong.

          • Gary Church

            Republican fallacy.

            In the real world, Submarines and air dropped mines had the Japanese on their knees ready to surrender and contacting the red cross to arrange terms. About .02 percent of the Navy, if I recall correctly, beat the Japanese (and lost the highest percentage of personnel of any group in the armed forces). Dropping mines at night (which a cargo plane can do) and a small force of submarines does not make career military officers or defense contractors happy though.

        • 10579

          how’s that working for you in afganistan, iraq, iran,china russia?

          • Richard Bagenstose

            we have no buissness in any of those countries. there all communist. and unless they attack us , stay out of it and let them kill themselfs

          • Chris Griffin

            you should learn what communism is before you make a statement about it. Afganistan, Iraq, Korea and Vietnam were communist of course the last had to align itself with our enemies to survive. So please let us know when have we ever fought a conflict with communist. Cold War doesn’t count.

  • Roaming Dog

    The F-35 argument is at least partly bogus. Without air superiority lots of grunts die. And… It is about cost; the current spending is not sustainable for a a nation whose debt exceeds it’s GDP, and whose promises of free goodies for all leaves no room for the basic functions of government… Like defense.

    SOCOM is the smartest buyer in DoD. They shop. They don’t fall in love with their own ideas. They accept risk and call a failure a failure. They are driven by the mission not a process.

    Regarding the first comment; geeks are the ones lining up. Most of them will lose money. If a person is against body armor, such a person has become so blind as to have lost connection to rational thought.

    • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

      I believe in Air Superiority too but the F-35 is going to be doing what, firing a missile in that role. Why not just be a missile by the grunt. As the Germans Panzerfaust in WW2. That thing could take out any tank at the time, the Pershings and Stalin 3′s. A hand-held device is a hell of a lot cheaper than a tank or a F-35. If this country doesn’t figure a way to go cheaper Tech we are doomed. But fighting police actions with Green Zones in tow and giving Billions to some in enemy held territory to smile and be our friends is disaster. It will only end up with soldiers back here maimed in body and mind if not in a casket. We cannot keep up what we are doing now in the funding of the country and surely not in the funding of the military, there is no way.

      • ted

        SS I admire your bravery. So hows about we send you into grunt?
        Me personally I’ll take the jet or tank. DAM THE COST!!And JACK below. Your right to some point. But guess what? It yousto put a lot of bread and butter on the table for civilians as well as veterans in our country.And now guess what? They come home to no jobs and live on food stamps and in the damn woods. And thats if their luckey. I don’t mind spending millions on our own defence as long as its spent here in this country for our people.This is what we have to change in my opinion. If one f-35 saves one life its worth the cost especially if its my son or daughter or maybe me. That goes for all the new technology.Bring it on.Hope my Grands don’t need it. But if they do I hope they can have the edge. GOD BLESS AMERICA and its warriors.

        • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

          I respect our warriors ted, think the gov just fighting it wrong. But in your theory there we have lost over 5,000 in the wars. So 5,000 F-35′s would equal no country. There is no way this day and time we can fund this tech.

          • Richard Bagenstose

            they can see you in your swimming pool. and even in your house. let the kids have the joysticks and drone them to death

          • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

            You could do that if they can make these drones as the little copters you can buy at Walmart. But at the price we are paying for them I would say no. But I would think if we do go all push button America would rule if the kids don’t turn on us.

          • Jared N Hermann

            Well if u look a the amount of funding going into just camo patterns re equipping soldiers with that pattern and so on and so on it adds up in the long run we would spend about as much as that in medical aid to troops from serious wounds but with armor upgrades goes the enemies upgrades in ballistics and EFPs are cheap so no matter what were going to keep paying and paying for upgrades might as well do something that’s gonna put us on top for awhile

        • Tholzel

          “DAM THE COST!!”
          Must be a Democrat.

          • ted

            NO i’m not. I’m 100% AMERICAN and damn proud of it. I’m registered republican if you must know. BUT i vote for the people that will protect and defend OUR country. As well as
            see that OUR troops get the best of the best that can be had.
            And those that have the GUTS to give it and/or use it when the time comes to use it. SS where did you get the 5,000 loss from?
            Just wondering.Is this a hipathretical therory?Or what you read somewhere?..Because if we lost this many F-35′s God help the world not just America. We need at any cost to keep the edge on our enemies. And believe you me we have plenty these days to go around. That includes within.

    • Chris Griffin

      All the statements below are pointless. Simple fact is to survive and control the upper hand you need a strong combined force of air and land forces and continued training in urban and guerilla warfare. So if I had a choice I wouldn’t just pick one I would demand both.

  • George P Burdell

    I’m at Georgia Tech, I can do that!

  • OMEGATALON

    They can start with the exo-skeletons that several defense companies are developing as this would give the soldier the additional strength to carry the plug-in hybrid battery diesel recharging system to power also the self-contained environment, ceramic composite skin and LINK 16 communications.

  • Old TALOS fart

    As an old TALOS (Long Range Fist of the Fleet) engineer, I was intrigued by the opening headline. More to the point, how to make this technology leap come to fruition?

    DARPA…Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    This is what they do. Take on the high risk, but potentially high payoff developmental projects that make leap frog, rather than just incremental, advances in the state-of-the-art.

    The services program managers generally cannot afford to risk scarce allocated program funds on such high risk ventures. DARPA can and does. I have not been privy to any DARPA projects or funding since I retired 13 years ago, but I suspect Adm. McRaven is.

  • rlhailssrpe

    What is the acceptable price to win a war without suffering death and/or cripples? America has tried to pay the price but did not succeed. Do we spend money to defeat a Chinese army which is a thousand time larger than ours, and backed up by H bombs which can fry our cities? Or do we concentrate on combat among the least educated, most diseased, religious fanatics who walk the earth?

    With the F-35 and the sequester, we have hit the limit, neither party can/will spend more on our military. War is a matter of will, and ours, today, is dictated by a Congress which is fixated on abortion funding of women in the military, or gays in the military, but not winning battles, or wars. Neither party has the will to win a war, or stay out of unwinnable combat. Their lack of agonizing decisions, not exoskeletons, is our problem.

  • Al Sharpton

    We will war for the birth of New Africa Afrobama a nation for peoples of color.

  • bridgebuilder78

    The Taliban insurgents have no suits of armor, and yet…

    Somewhere along the line, we’ve become too reliance on technology.

    • Chris Griffin

      Taliban insurgents are dying also at a much higher rate then American soldiers do you want to guess why. Technology and training they go hand & hand.

      • bridgebuilder78

        Then our victory in Afghanistan is close at hand, I presume?

  • Old Templar Knight

    They can only do this with a charged Zirconium/Titanium/Molybdenum alloy. They’ll waste time w/ standard ceramics first, though.

    • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

      Now wouldn’t any suit be succesable to concussion? I mean a force near blowing it 25 to 50 feet that is going to be hard to overcome with the lifeform inside.

      • Chris Griffin

        for now yes but if you are using tactics like we do then a few bullets could be stopped and by time. The video is misleading and makes you think that a soldier going to charge in and stand there tAKE 90 BULLETS WITOUT FIRING A SHOT.

  • Big Al

    Robert Heinlein was right in 1959′s STARSHIP TROOPERS. IT’S COMING!!!!!!

    • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

      Big Al did the scene in the movie where the gay Patrick kid was in the Grey long coat with the others remind you of Hitler and those pics of him looking over to dover or at the Normandie defense. I got that feeling from that. And I like Patrick, he cracks me up at times. That movie was done good would have been a lot better if the ants had been more as humans in motions and size.

  • Mitchg

    Excellent..keep stealing from our seniors and Medicare to build RoboCop.

    • Chris Griffin

      or build protection for our soldiers in the future but I guess you don’t want that.

  • Mike

    With all the advancement in remote tech like uav’s and the bomb disposal bots you’d kinda figure the army wants to get as many soldiers off the battlefield as possible. Like the idea of a super armor suit but not looking forward to being the sardine on the inside when the bullets start flying or it’s battery dies. I’d prefer to set a remote system 1 human on the rear line for ever robot the on front lines the bots take the danger the humans safely use the robots as remote bodies. The funding possibilities atm seams a bit of a stretch but when we tried to go to the moon many thought is was absurd to even try.

    • Chris Griffin

      Didn’t work in Vietnam all the air power we had and it did nothing to stop the north you need boots on the ground hitting the enemy hard and non-stop but of course the MIC in this country at that time found the war was a cash cow and just wanted to continue bombing.

  • David P. Turnbole

    Stop making more and more expensive aircraft carriers that the military doesn’t want or need. Stop making jet fighters that turn on a dime, give you 9 cents change and can’t get off the ground. If you have to spend military money then put it into protecting the boots on the ground. Better yet, get the hell out of war altogether.

    • Gary Church

      Amen Brother, I am with you

    • Chris Griffin

      We have stopped making aircraft carriers and are starting to design smaller and cheaper ones for the future.

  • Kenee

    I’m not a techie or a nurd but I have lived through a lot of advances in my time and when we say “WE ARE” Army strong, I can safely predict that “WE CAN”. I have the confidence in our technology and our talented youth. “Go get ‘em” guys ( and gals).

  • Tholzel

    “Why isn’t the nation investing billions in keeping infantrymen alive? Scales fumed. “Why isn’t that a priority?””
    Because infantry grunts are cheap, compared to any alternative. After the excoskeleton dust settles, I’ll bet an Indian in moccasons will be more stealthy and more effective as a killing machine than one of these contraptions–especially after their batteries run out.

    • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

      Infantry men got cheaper to since their combat pay was cut. Why pay a grunt when you can invest their pay in Wall Street welfare.

    • Chris Griffin

      Yeah grunts are not cheap you train them use live ammo for training you pay them for years incase you need them and sometimes the retire without ever seeing combat add this up and its not cheap. Its a priority because you need to keep the assets on the ground alive for they are you best and most reliable source of intel and line of defense.

  • ycplum

    Personally, I think power armor (armor, exoskeloton, and power supply) is too out there for the Army to even research. I think this is more of a DARPA project.

    • http://john101b.ipage.com/globalwarming/climatechange.html Jack Everett —– Mato

      Comic books are not the answer to our fall from grace.

      • ycplum

        Our “fall from grace” is a different topic entirely. However, my post is relavent to capabilities that resemble comic and sci-fi stories.

        • Chris Griffin

          you must forgive jack he seems to be lead around on a leash from the Obama socialist party and has a clap on clap off device controlling him.

  • John Taylor

    Read Heinlein’s original Starship Troopers. His armor couldn’t fly, but it sure could match Iron Man in just about everything else.

    • Gary Church

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lensman_series

      E.E. Doc Smith beat Heinlein by 20 years though he does not describe the armor anywhere near as detailed as Heinlein.

      • John Taylor

        Assuming you are speaking of Kinnison’s personal armor.Do not recall that it was anything except armor. Heinlein’s armor was fully offensive in nature. Remember the pocket nukes? Of course, Doc did allow for the personal blasters Kinnison preferred.

        • Gary Church

          I am not going to do your research but if I recall it had a thousand horsepower and could stand up under the fire of a heavy machine gun. Gray Lensman.

          • John Taylor

            From the way it was written, it would be something like the 30 mm gatling found on the Warthog. Also, so heavy that he could not walk in it. It had multiple servos that helped him drive the suit.

  • DI Jim

    I don’t see how this is going to work unless you change the peerson who is wearing this rig. The only way that I can see even moving in soemthing like this suit is to have some kind of impulse pickups tied into the soldier’s body that gets a signal to move an arm or leg or some specific set of muscles to do the job. That means tying into the nervous system of the body and picking up the signals that go to the muscles that are sent fromt he brain. So you need a probe that can read the brain that is set into the soldier that intercepts any brain signals to the muscles, meaning someplace at the base of the Medular Oblongatta or brain stem. Taht plug in adapter would then send signals directly to the exoskeleton to activate any part of it that correlates or set up to recieve the signals. Just opening or closing a hand would mean intercepting hundreds if not thousands of stimuli from the brain.
    First of all, these guys are dreaming and seeing to many Marvel movies.
    Secondly….are there any volunteers to get an implant out there? If there is, they are crazy to begin with.

  • Richard Bagenstose

    and if you didn’t here russia has a problem with woman suicide bombers. seems like terrorist are on the rise

  • Richard Bagenstose

    and russia and china are spending billions on deffence while we are spending billions on freebees for the takers and cuting owr defence

  • Gary Church

    It has to be silent- as silent as a human when moving- that is first- or forget it.

  • roy lembke

    Funny, SOF is no longer special, it is now only hyper-conventional. Fire and maneuver are conventional, not special. th eway one does it is either low tech or high tech -not “special”. The US military has really gone off the tracks on this whole mess.

  • Jared N Hermann

    Better armor means we have could afford less troops especially with a regional Army with combined Arms like SF groups we own the night and our individual body armor today is I think #1 but we can always improve now not every light infantryman should have a full system but PSG and PL giving reg troops ecto skeleton and let’s face body armor that can be painted is cheaper then materials like clothing and dye all equipment basically under garment a moisture wicken temp adaptive suit would be fine kinda like a electric blanket or ice sheet depending on outside temps. But the ecto armor would be extremely helpful also the land warrior system could be incorporated but through blue tooth and a Siri like device to control instead of a joy stick also a hologram like projection on display of eye pro that can be turned on and off by voice command and just three little buttons on the wrist to go from plt, company computer etc… I want in on this project I’ve been an infantryman for 8 yrs I also have a design background and a amateur tinkerer.

  • Dev

    I can make TALOS but not having enough budget to make it ….Did you want someone who can make TALOS ? So contact me for that on my facebook id devratt.dwivedi@facebook.com