TAMPA, Fla. – Engineers at U.S. Special Operations command are in the process of sorting through the tradeoffs between size, weight and power as they seek to develop a revolutionary tactical assault light operator suit, according to program officials.
TALOS, also known as the ‘Iron Man suit’, is intended to protect special operators during raids and other missions. The armored exoskeleton needs to be thick enough to stop bullets but not limit the special operator’s mobility. The suit must also be supplied with enough energy to power the command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems for extended missions, SOCOM officials have said.
Each of these requirements presents daunting technical and engineering challenges. When combined, the difficulties become even more acute. Improvements in one area can create problems in another. For example, increasing the armor or the size of the power supply system increases the weight of TALOS, placing strain on the exoskeleton and the operator, program officials said at a National Defense Industrial Association conference May 21.
Tradeoffs could be necessary. To get a better idea of how much a change in one aspect of the system will impact another, SOCOM is conducting a size, weight and power analysis for TALOS, the officials said.