The TALOS “Iron Man” suit being created for elite commando forces is on its way to begin testing in summer 2018, according to the top weapons buyer for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Military.com reported.
The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) prototype is about a “year and a half away” from testing, James Geurts, acquisition executive and director for SOF AT&l at USSOCOM, said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Annual Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium.
The suit has been in the making for the past several years after an American commando was immediately killed after kicking a door in during a raid in Afghanistan. After the tragedy, the top commander of SOCOM vowed to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
“This is a program that we started after we lost an operator on a mission. The first guy coming into a particular building was engaged and unfortunately was mortally wounded. And in the wake of that, we asked ourselves, ‘Couldn’t we do better in terms of protecting him, of giving him a better advantage when he’s at the most vulnerable point that we put our operators?'” said Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Special Operations Command.
The suit will have “more-efficient, full-body ballistics protection and beyond-optimal human performance” and in-helmet technologies to boost communications for situational awareness.
TALOS is said to be made of liquid armor that can solidify on command. It will also be able to regulate temperature inside the suit as well as monitor the operators bodily functions such as heart rate, core temperature and hydration level. The suit will also be able to administer first aid tactics such as oxygen control, when getting wounded.
According to a Defense Tech report from 2014, the cost of the project would be $80 million, but Geurts did not mention how much money has been spent on it so far.
Research on the suit has helped the military improve technologies related to lightweight armor and communications systems.
“So in TALOS, don’t just think exoskeleton and armor — think of the whole equation,” Geurts said. “Survivability is part of what armor you are carrying, but it’s also a big part of whatever information you have, what is your situational awareness, how do you communicate. So as we are going down all those paths, we can leverage quickly some of the stuff that is ready to go right now.”