Armed Forces News

The U.S. Special Operations Command is no longer working on development of a combat uniform that would resemble a robotic exoskeleton and provide a host of protections to the combatants who would have worn it.
Prototypes proved that such uniforms would be too cumbersome and difficult to power. Still, the research into the so-called TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) has garnered numerous advances in protection and lethality – some of which already have made their way to operators at the point of the spear.
During a presentation at the NDIA SOFIC conference in Tampa May 21, Army Col. Alex Mac Calman described how work on TALOS has evolved into the scaled-down but highly lethal Hyper Enabled Operator program. Special operators who would don the uniforms would have access to the same expanded package of situational-awareness technology that TALOS had intended to promise, but in a much more manageable package, Mac Calman said.
With TALOS, researchers and special operators who tested prototypes could never come to terms with tradeoffs among factors like weight, protection, and systems capabilities. Power was a particular problem.
“In the beginning, the power requirement was five kilowatts for five hours [of operation],” Mac Callum said. “We needed 600 pounds of lithium ion batteries [to accomplish this]. It forced us to look at alternative power sources.”
The Hyper Enabled Operator’s “Yankee” suit, on display at the conference, provided thermo-regulating capability, augmented vision and audio, and monitored the vital signs of wearers and comrades nearby, as well as other systems.