Building Iron Man: The Future Soldier or Pentagon’s Latest Vanity Project

© Flickr / Angelo DeSantisIron man suit
Iron man suit - Sputnik International
US Special Operation Command is one step closer to its dream of creating a next-generation Iron Man-like suit to improve the warrior's fighting capabilities and resilience.

US Special Operation Command (SOCOM) is pushing ahead with its secretive Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) program aimed at creating an Iron Man-like suit to provide special operatives, such as the Navy SEALs and Special Forces, with enhanced mobility and protection technologies, Kris Osborn of reports.

"The technologies currently being developed include body suit-type exoskeletons, strength and power-increasing systems and additional protection. A SOCOM statement said some of the potential technologies planned for TALOS research and development include advanced armor, command and control computers, power generators, and enhanced mobility exoskeletons," Osborn explains.

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Citing an Army statement, the journalist reveals that TALOS will also have a physiological subsystem to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, hydrate levels and body position.

The initiative was kicked off back in 2013 by former SOCOM chief Adm. William McCraven, who regarded TALOS as a potential means to protect Special Ops soldiers during raids.

Dion Nissenbaum of the Wall Street Journal narrated in 2014 that the "tipping point" for the development of the multi-functional suit came in December 2013 when members of the SEAL Team Six conducted a mission aiming to liberate a Colorado doctor held hostage in eastern Afghanistan. In the course of the operation one SEAL was shot dead.

"Afterward, Adm. William McRaven, the head of US Special Operations Command who oversaw the SEAL Team Six raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, decided his forces needed better protection," Nissenbaum wrote.

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The project brought together bioengineers, academics, combat veterans, small tech firms and defense giants such as Raytheon Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics.

Furthermore, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are involved in developing a next-generation armor dubbed "liquid body armor," that will transform "from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied."

SOCOM spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Matt Allen told that the goal of the project is to create a working prototype by 2018 that will be then evaluated for operational purposes.

However, there are skeptics that express doubts that the project will ever come true.

Ryan Devereaux of the Intercept wrote in July 2015 that "there are growing doubts… and a sense that the evolution of the project has become a symbol of wild and unnecessary Pentagon spending."

He cited that reported back in April 2014 that although it was expected that SOCOM's four-year research and development project would cost $80 billion, "the program will likely cost hundreds of millions more to perfect the sophisticated technology."

Time will show whether or not the defense skeptics were right.

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