When President Obama said last year that “basically I’m here to announce we’re building Iron Man”, he wasn’t far off in his joke!
While we can’t expect to see a red and gold man flying through the skies anytime soon, there has been a rapid increase in the development of military exoskeletons.
With funding from the military, universities and other corporations, researchers are swiftly developing exoskeletons that will allow soldiers to lift heavier objects, as well as travelling further with less physical exertion. This will result in soldiers who are less fatigued on the battlefield.
It has been announced that the first version of such an exoskeleton (MK1 if you wish…) would be operational by 2018. The battery powered Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, otherwise known as TALOS, will be kitted out with all sorts of functions to aid the wearer.
Starting at the top, there would be an armoured helmet with built in optics and communications, followed by ballistics protection for up to 60 per cent of the user’s body, which is a massive increase on the 20 per cent available to soldiers today.
The exoskeleton would also feature a cooling system that pumps water through three feet of tubing around the suit, and even wound sealing-foam guns. It has been predicted that the suit will weigh close to 400 pounds (over 28 stone!). Using a series of sensors, the exoskeleton will predict how the user wants to move, and will help them do so thanks to the aid of hydraulics.
Since 2001, DARPA has spent millions of dollars on building these exoskeletons, including a smaller and lighter version of the TALOS suit. It wouldn’t provide the same level of protection as the larger suit, but it would be lighter and use the same technology.
I doubt we’ll see soldiers flying around in these suits anytime soon, but their applications could certainly change future warfare. Whether there will be any airsoft equipment with similar mobility applications in the future is also yet to be seen, but for now, why not pop over to our website and check out our range of airsoft kit?