The End for the TALOS – SOCOM’s ‘Iron Man’ style project

The Maritime Special Purpose Forces - African Lion
U.S. Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response conduct landing zone security at Tifnit Military Instillation, Morocco, April 3, 2014 during exercise African Lion 14. SP-MAGTF Crisis Response is a self-deployable, highly mobile response force allocated to U.S. Africa Command to respond to missions in permissive and uncertain environments to protect U.S. citizens, interests and other designated persons. SP-MAGTF Crisis Response participated in the exercise to train their rapid response capability. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexander Hill/Released)

First introduced in 2013, the idea for the ‘Iron Man’ style suit for U.S. Special Operation Forces lived up to this day. The U.S. Special Operations Command’s Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) meant to offer this capability as America’s first stab at militarized powered armor, but it looks like the military is still a ways off from creating a functional Iron man suit. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

“The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment,” SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. “There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype.”

In an ideal world, TALOS would have consisted of a light, easily maneuverable exoskeleton worn underneath bulletproof body armor with the ability to process large amounts of remote information and track the health of the wearer. It was never designed to fly or shoot lasers, but Tony Stark would have probably been mildly impressed. TALOS was planned as a revolutionary piece of gear which would change the elementary soldier gear used today.

So far, five years and at least $80 million spent on the TALOS has yielded a tremendous volume of technical knowledge that may bolster other exoskeleton projects throughout the U.S. armed forces and defense industrial base, but it looks like it isn’t enough for TALOS project to carry on. In 2013, the U.S. Military released a video which raised expectations on what the military was hoping to accomplish with TALOS. The video was certainly the image the military seemed to be projecting with its 2013 concept video for its Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, project.

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