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Video: SOCOM Wants an Iron Man Suit with Liquid Body Armor

by Mike Hoffman on October 9, 2013

Special Operation Command wants a suit its operators can wear that features liquid body armor, built-in computers and offers super human strength. Essentially, the Pentagon wants to outfit its special operators in Iron Man suits.

Officials from U.S. Special Operation Command issued a formal request to researchers to help them build this suit the military is calling the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS). The request comes right from the top — Adm. William McRaven, USSOCOM commander.

Some of America’s top scientists from labs such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology are pitching in on the project. MIT engineers are working on a liquid body armor made of magnetorheological fluids that “transform from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied,” according to an Army statement.

But the liquid body armor is only a portion of the suit. Leaders of the project also want the TALOS to include physiological subsystems that can monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels.

“[The] requirement is a comprehensive family of systems in a combat armor suit where we bring together an exoskeleton with innovative armor, displays for power monitoring, health monitoring, and integrating a weapon into that — a whole bunch of stuff that RDECOM is playing heavily in,” said Lt. Col. Karl Borjes, a Army Reserach, Development and Engineering Command science advisor assigned to SOCOM, in a statement.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

rtsy October 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Special tactics include dramatic music, cgi, and barging through doors and taking direct fire.

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Nick T. October 10, 2013 at 8:27 am

But we still don't get to see him kill them one by one, demonstrating each aspect of the suit that can be used offensively.

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bobbymike October 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Including the strength enhancing exoskeleton where he tears their heads off with his bare hands. The future is Mobile Infantry!

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Ben October 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Someday the military will recognize the the value of artists/designers… But not yet.

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RRGED October 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm

This is nonsense, soldiers does not need to carry more crap on their backs, you cannot do snappy combat rolls with all the stuff on your back. A soldier becomes a big target, you don't see special ops carrying a bunch of stuff.

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Bernard October 10, 2013 at 6:54 am

You can't do "snappy combat rolls" in the stuff we have now. Once you put on body armor with those heavy unbending ceramic plates, all imaginations about still having agility evaporate. Try a combat roll with a backpack, it doesn't work. You'd have to be stripped down to just a rifle a little bit of ammo and we don't fight like that anymore.

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oblatt1 October 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm

which is why the taliban run rings around them

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Bernard October 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm

They can run rings around us all they want, they'll just die tired. That hollywood stuff isn't going to save you in a real firefight. Maybe if only one person is shooting at you and you know where they are, but you don't want to count on that.

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tiger October 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Trying to make troops into turtles , only leads to getting beat by Hares. The knights of old faded away for a reason. They traded protection for mobility & agility. In the long run a bad choice.

Bernard October 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm

blight_ October 9, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Sigh, here comes the power armor.

And after department of homeland security grants, smashing through a wall near you.

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Bob October 10, 2013 at 2:55 am

Space Marines!!! Hell Yeah!!

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blight_ October 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

For the Fallout fans, I was going to say T-51b armor, repelling Chinese invaders since WW3.

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LtKitty October 10, 2013 at 11:17 am

For the Emperor!

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tiger October 9, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Dear Socom,

Take a tip from another movie. "No bucks. No Buck Rodgers….."

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Lance October 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Cool idea but not happening well for at least a few decades.

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rebel May 30, 2014 at 4:10 am

its closer than you think

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hibeam October 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Will there be an empty suit version? We can put some bars on it.

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Bernard October 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I’d rather have a drone than a suit.

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Belesari October 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Is the drone going to enter a small house with its team assess the situation in less than 2 seconds and proceed to take out all 5 hostile individuals while leaving the civilians alone? Nope.

EVERYTHING has its place and time in the picture. Assholes have been trying to say the end of the infantry is coming sense they domesticated the first horse. Is now and always will be wrong.

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Bernard October 14, 2013 at 9:07 am

Of course it will, if you can build a walking suit you can replace the man in that suit with a computer and save lives. It's the same technology. Furthermore, it will assess the situation far faster and far more reliably.

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Bernard October 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm
hibeam October 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Looks like another wallet extraction system to me.

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w1collinsaz October 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

Thanks, Robert Heinlein! This is straight out of Starship Troopers. All that's missing is the hand flame thrower and bomb ejector on the back.

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Thomas L. Nielsen October 10, 2013 at 1:55 am

"All that's missing is the hand flame thrower and bomb ejector on the back."

Sorry, they're not due to be implemented until the Mk 3 version.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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UAVGeek October 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I want the grenade that says "I am a bomb!" in the enemy language.

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jamesb October 10, 2013 at 1:03 am

First the Dog, then the chopper, Now this?

No wonder the darn Defense budget is SO big…..

The money should be spent on the simple true tested stuff…

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Thomas L. Nielsen October 10, 2013 at 1:59 am

"The money should be spent on the simple true tested stuff"

So you'd prefer to go to war on horseback, with a sword, or a bow and arrow?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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oblatt1 October 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

that's all that will be left if the money is poured into useless gadgets

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Animal May 6, 2014 at 9:35 am

Thanks, General James W. Ripley.

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Thomas L. Nielsen October 10, 2013 at 2:06 am

As I understand the article, the "project" (if you can even call it that) is presently at the stage where USSOCOM is asking RDECOM, MIT et al to develop the technologies that will, possibly, eventually, make something like the TALOS possible.

Will this take a lot of R&D? Certainly. Will it cost money? Certainly. Will it be worth that money? No idea, and at the current stage I think it's impossible to tell. After all, the practical utility of this might be 20 years into the future, but unless you start some basic research, it will always be 20 years into the future.

Admittedly, there is always the possibility that Adm. McRaven should just not have watched that Ironman movie marathon…..

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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Tony October 10, 2013 at 2:37 am

Dead or alive, you're comming with me.

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John Michaels October 10, 2013 at 9:47 am
oblatt1 October 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm

A concentration on armor is always a sign of a a failing military. Stands to reason you expect to take a lot of hits if the enemy is better.

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tribulationtime October 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

The proposal of liquid armor had be in internet for same time. What are the issues with development? Do performance to reach level iv protection?

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TheBigPG October 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I really hope they make the systems on this secure. Otherwise any kid with some coding knowledge is going to have fun hacking it and fiddling with the environment controls. "Sir/Ma'am I would love to go on a covert night mission into Somewhereistan to capture a dangerous terrorist, but someone's turned my trousers to 'Toasty' and I think im getting heatstroke."

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Hunter76 October 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm

There are some good ideas here that should be individually explored. This is not the time to throw out a contract for an Ironman incorporating all of this and call it F-35.

How about storming a hostage situation? A nuclear station before the ceiling comes down?

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Michael Bussard October 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm

A glimpse of Ironman in the future–
Hello. My name is Judge Dredd and I am here to arrest you. Resistance is futile so please come with me quietly.
Listen to the following recording carefully–they are your Miranda rights. Note the keypad on my arm. Push #1 for English, #2 for Arabic, #3 for Farsi, #4 for Pushtun, #5 for Irish, #6 for Somali, #7 to view some of the 72 virgins, #8 to join Jidadis Anomynous or #9 to make a campaign donation.
If you wish, the Iron Attorney behind me will take your case and you will be booked immediately into the Jihad Suite in the nearest Hilton Hotel and issued a Visa card for incidentals.

Mikey

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Auyong Ah Meng October 11, 2013 at 12:44 am

I rather they planned R&D on making available technologies for an actual fusion battlemech with rail guns on its arms…nothing to make some bad guys go gooky then seeing it walking towards him imperviously…..

wat am i writing here…zzz

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Stratege October 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Will it able to take direct RPG hit? PKM's long burst?

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Dfens October 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

Apparently building Iron Man suits is a piece of cake at Georgia Tech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98nNpzE6gIs You've gotta love the optimism.

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Belesari October 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Well I'll bite.

The Knights of old faded away because warfare and society changed. The primitive firearms, cheap excess labor (thanks to the industrial revolution), Very easy to use and drill weapons lead to the passing of the Knight in the traditional sense.

Contrary to Anime and Movie logic it took around a decade to fully train a knight in everything he had to do. They were trained in every art of war and numerous other fields.

In the end Logistics (not UPS) lead to the death of the knight. While cavalry still existed it was no longer dominated by heavy cavalry.

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Belesari October 14, 2013 at 12:34 am

Actually plate armor was worn well into the 16 and even 17th centuries. Most early firearms were not only very inaccurate they weren't all that powerful. Its why the rounds were so large. They had to carry enough mass to do the job.

And why worry about armor when there are thousands of men to do the job. Men were in many ways a commodity. Always have been really. Its a commanders job to spend them wisely and hopefully spend them like a miser spends money.

Really what it comes down to is a cost=benefit question.

Kinda like ships today. A battleship could bring all of the firepower and tons of armor and secondary weapons to the fight but because they cost so much in manning (where most US and western cost are) and logistics and such we stopped using them.

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