In 2012, a Navy Seal named Nicolas Checque sacrificed his life to save another. Cheque was killed by close quarters small arms fire during a mission to rescue a civilian doctor. From that tragedy, the TALOS or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit was born. The TALOS suit was an ultra-advanced protective armor ensemble that boasts bewildering technology.
The TALOS not only provided protection but also enhanced combat capability that allows soldiers to run faster, longer, and without getting fatigued. The suit also enabled enhanced strength to lift heavier objects and hold them for long periods of time. This is all possible by way of a futuristic exoskeleton that’s anchored on the back and runs down the legs and arms of the operator.
In fact, in other industries exoskeletons are already being utilized in a few different ways. For instance, construction and automotive industry leaders have already been looking into the use of exoskeletons. Some thought because of this, the military must already be in the fine-tuning stages of development, but some defense officials asserted that the suit wouldn’t be practical and functional until 2026. But unfortunately, the program was completely shut down in 2019.
The armor was also next-generation with a specialized fluid being a major component of the system. If you’ve ever mixed cornstarch and water, you have an idea of how this armor design works. The fluid maintains a low density state until it’s impacted. Then it hardens instantly, stopping the bullet. The suit was also said to come with a slew of other features to increase comfort and gather health information.
The TALOS design included internal heating and cooling with adaptive temperature control based on the climate the operator is in. This meant that the soldier in the suit can maintain a lower body temperature while performing tasks in a desert environment, thereby decreasing his fatigue. Alternatively, the heating can ensure that joints are not being stiffened or numbed by freezing temperatures. In addition to internal temperature control, the TALOS featured real-time health monitoring for both operator and observers. This included heart rate, stress, and wounds. In tandem with the real-time health monitoring, wound packing gauze that the suit could administer was mentioned as part of this system, but it’s unclear how this would work.
The TALOS project wasn’t likely to be used for every single infantryman though. The design was primarily created with the pointman in mind. Perhaps in the future we’ll see TALOS resume development, but for the time being we’ll have to watch other countries develop their own “Iron Man Suits.”
Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller and other publications.