1. The Iron Man comics and films aren’t that far-fetched: the US military has been researching an advanced battle armour suit for years and a prototype is now expected to be ready for testing this summer.
Defensetech.org reports that three early versions of the Tactical Light Assault Operator Suit (TALOS) are expected to be delivered in June. Plans are in place for the suits to be used on the battlefield by 2018.
The US Special Operation Command (USSOC), which oversees elements of the army, air force and navy, called for researchers to come up with ideas for making this happen last year.
Since then, 56 companies, 16 US government agencies, 13 universities and 10 national laboratories have been working on this, given its importance and the potential money involved.
USSOC commander Navy Admiral William McRaven told a military equipment conference in Washington DC on Tuesday: “That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators.”
2. The idea for the suit reportedly arose when a young special operations soldier was shot and killed after entering a building.
Adm. McRaven was asked by a young solider asked him why there isn’t a better way to protect soliders - a question he says he couldn’t answer.
3. This video shows how they might look. OK, it’s not quite like in the films, but it could be quite useful.
4. Bullets will - in theory - ping off the suit harmlessly just like Iron Man.
One idea is to fit the suit with magnetorheological fluids that “transform from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied”, the US army says. Liquid body armour, in other words.