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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Assuming Direct Control

Military Working on Real Iron Man Armor To Be Operational By 2018


Yep. That’s right. The United States military is hard at work on their own version of an Iron Man-esque armor. They’re currently calling it TALOS, or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, and if things go well it will be up and running by 2018. The various features and abilities of the suit that the military is working on are, to put it simply, kind of intense.

RT has all sorts of details about the suit, including that:

The suit is being designed primarily with defense in mind and will likely include liquid armor, a synthetic substance being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This material has the capability to shift from a liquid state to a solid within milliseconds, making the suit’s wearer essentially impervious to gunfire.

As well as that “There are additional plans to incorporate a “wound stasis” program that could stop bleeding by spraying some kind of medical foam onto an injury.” But don’t worry, it will of course still have guns and Navy Admiral William McRaven thinks it’ll be a “huge comparative advantage over our enemies and give our warriors the protection they need.” Lockheed Martin is at work on their own suit as well, called the HULC or Human Universal Load Carrier, which is just… a really terrible name. And that suit better end up green, people.

Certainly it’s exciting to see technology advance, but when it goes hand-in-hand with weaponry like this, it does get a little scary. And, relevant to the interests of our readers, no word yet on how gender neutral any of these suits will be and if there are plans to put women in them at all. Given the level of detail on Tony Stark’s suits, if they’re at all similar they’ll have to be pretty customized to the wearer but at very least programmable to different users. The latter would definitely suit the needs of military as they wouldn’t want to rely on just a privileged few in case of injuries or death.

Look, Iron Man is awesome. But do you really want to follow the example of an alcoholic egomaniac to outfit your armies?

(via Blastr)

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  • Anonymous

    Not unless the wearer is as awesome as Tony Stark.

  • Erin Treat

    I fucking hate the military-industrial complex.

  • Anonymous

    Yeesh… honestly, I like technology and the like, but this strikes me as rather impractical in terms of cost. It seems like with the money going into that, you could get better body armour for everybody, instead of invincible body armour for one or two people. And then maybe funnel the leftover when that’s done back into education? The amount of U.S. military spending is absurd, and I can’t help but feel like we could protect our soldiers better AND funnel more of that budget into places it’s sorely needed if we spent it more wisely.

    On the flip side, like a lot of military technology, it may eventually get into the civilian sector, where it might have better application. A small number of suits seems impractical for military purposes, but for things like hazmat crews, firefighters, and rescue teams, it might work better.

  • Nirali

    So cool. Although I agree with the objections, any time sci-fi comes to life, it’s so cool. Reminds me of the attempts of the invisibilty cloak, though. It works, but it’s never going to be functional enough to actually use.

  • J Ritchey

    I’m sure a lot of the development involved is geared toward making it (relatively) economical. Most of the tech mentioned has been around for a while, it’s just been prohibitively expensive or difficult to produce in practical quantities. Odds are the more expensive/elaborate versions would be reserved for elite and specialized units regardless; military equivalents to hazmat and rescue crews, bomb disposal units, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I will settle for a pair of those cool Falcon wings.

  • Anonymous

    That’s kind of my point though. If they get it down to the point where it’s economical (and the “relatively” is the sticking point as well, it’s likely to only be economical because of the insanely bloated military budget) it’ll be highly specialized, and used by only a select few. More practical spending could use less money to save more lives. Add that to the fact that the only reason this is on the table is because the military budget is absurd in the first place, and it’s just insane.

  • Ben English

    Depends on the definition of ‘use’. It’s not going to hide you completely from 5 feet away like Death’s cloak, but it could still prove useful in particular circumstances.

  • RayG

    Told my friend this and they said: “Meanwhile NASA is waiting patiently for funding for the Starship Enterprise :(“

  • J Ritchey

    Some of it will undoubtedly remain highly specialized…for now. Aspects
    of it may be adaptable to broader application in the near future,
    possibly even concurrent with rollout of the elite/specialized versions.
    I’m not about to try justifying military spending and the whole
    Pandora’s box that goes with it; I have my own issues with the system.
    But this isn’t an all or nothing thing. You don’t get one super-suit in
    trade for 5,000 slightly upgraded flak jackets or 50,000 hot meals for
    the homeless. There is a whole suite of technology being invested in
    that can have far more use than just in this Halo-reject vanity project.
    Some of these technologies are already working their way into civilian
    protective equipment, industry, and health care.

  • Charlie

    The Altmeri Dominion will not be pleased at all.

  • Anonymous

    Development isn’t an all for nothing. I’m happier with development, though I wish we could just fund valuable research directly, instead of through the military. That’s kind of a symptom of messed up priorities.

    Once the technology is developed though, the decision to spend it on what you aptly call a Halo-reject vanity project is kind of an all for nothing. If you have a limited pool of funding, and you opt to spend a chunk of it on construction of rubbish, that is money that could have been spent on… well anything else, that’s now gone. The cost may go down, but I doubt it’ll be trivial, and even a small fraction of the military budget could help a lot elsewhere.

    Essentially… research and development is awesome, but I’m unhappy with the excuse they had to come up with in order to actually perform useful research. If, for example, they did all the research and never actually built the stupid suit, I’d be… well happier. I’d still be grumpy about living in a country where research is never funded directly for its own sake, and researchers have to pick between discontinuing research for lack of funds, or working directly for the military. But I’d be a lot happier about the money being spent.

  • Mark Brown

    Of course, when I heard “liquid armor,” my first thought was of the Knight Sabers’ hardsuits from Bubblegum Crisis.

  • Mark Brown

    And just who are they expecting to fight that they need this? America ~already~ has a nigh insurmountable technological and economic advantage over just about everyone on Earth.

    (Except Japan, I guess. They’re building working mecha.)

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Im sure this is not the intended use for this stuff, but could this ‘liquid armor’ be used for fire fighters to better resist heat? and if so, could we call it Rescue armor? :3

  • http://nerdofalltrades.tumblr.com/ Angry And Yellow

    This makes sense to me given the changing nature of military conflicts. Yes, the only body that has more attack aircraft than the US Air Force is the US Navy. But with conflicts now involving loosely connected, highly mobile organizations rather than nation-states, we need different tools. Also, American citizens are increasingly wary of the cost of government and quickly cease supporting conflicts as US casualties mount. This is leading to a reduction in military personnel. So it makes sense to have smaller groups of highly trained soldiers in armor that can quickly move into an area, deal with the threat, and get out without having a sustained conflict or a long term presence in a given area.

    Additionally, military and government applications tend to make their way into the civilian sector and make things awesome. Like the internet…

  • Important Film Maker

    Sure, cause the United States Military doesn’t already scare me enough! You know it’s bad when I’m actually rooting for China to overtake the US economy.

  • Important Film Maker

    Who knows what those terrorists are building in those caves? It could be ANYTHING (even if it’s most likely old US hardware from the cold war, but hey, YOU NEVER KNOW!)

  • Anonymous

    …Isn’t this the exact opposite of what Tony Stark wanted for the Iron Man suits? Didn’t we have a whole hearing at the beginning of Iron Man 2 to AVOID this sort of thing?

  • Cameron Hays
  • WheelchairNinja

    Thank you! I scrolled down looking for a comments section filled with Skyrim jokes only to be disappointed. Come on, people! Stop caring about lame issues like military budgets and start asking if the suit will protect against arrows to the knee! Will it have a voice-activated repulsor blast so you can “Fus Ro Dah” people off cliffs? Is the Human Universal Load Carrier sworn to carry your burdens?

  • locuas

    considering the number of uses the iron-man suit could have in everyday life, this are great news!
    ALso, haven’t you watched Independence day? the alcoholics are the key of military strenght!

  • Maks5709

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  • Anonymous

    The liquid armor, as described in the older article linked in the one above: “The material can change from liquid to solid in milliseconds when
    a magnetic field or electrical current is applied, allowing a
    soldier wearing the protective suit to survive attack from heavy
    gunfire.”

    So no, it’s not a “liquid-as-in-water” sort of heat-resistant armor.

  • http://adornyourhearts.tumblr.com Xomyx

    Same, and all I can think of is all the benefits my partner lost because of “lack of funding”. Neat toys are a better priority than giving combat veterans what was promised to them, it seems.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Ah…I see….Darn

  • Skol Troll

    But the cheaper body armor you would prefer once started out as ultra-pricey armor. And I’m sure someone back then was saying “just give the soldiers helmets.” Plus, remember back when radios/phones were heavy packs that soldiers (and rich businessmen) used? Yup, those were pricey until someone spent a bunch of money to shrink it/lighten it up.

    Heck, today’s PC’s? Yup. Used to be really big and pricey and less effective. But we *HAD* to go to the moon, anyways.

  • Skol Troll

    But you’re using it RIGHT NOW.

    I’m all about not killing people, but I’m also about not falling behind when it comes to protecting soldiers. Make a suit that’s lighter/more protective than current kevlar shielding? Yup. Let’s do more of that.

  • Diaspora

    ….Brb joining the Army….

  • Anonymous

    If you read some of the conversation I had before, you’ll see it’s not development I’m opposed to. But even when the suits are “affordable” they likely won’t be properly affordable yet. You’ll be able to get a few of them, but not enough to make it standard gear. If we developed the technology to the point where it was actually cost effective to make this sort of thing standard, or at least widely used enough to save more lives than alternatives, it’d be a different story. Spending money on research, good. Spending money actually creating and building a costly and impractical suit, bad.

    Also, I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think the development of the computer can be credited to the moon landing. I’m pretty sure most of those calculations were done on slide rules.

  • Fiona

    An Iron Man suit called HULC. They really thought that one through.

  • Raymondo

    I thought of the T1000 from Terminator 2.

  • Skol Troll

    OK, so I get a C- in reading comprehension. It only confirms I’m not a rocket surgeon.

    As to “affordable protection,” I could climb a really high soapbox and speak to governmental costing, but let’s just say we essentially agree. ;-)

    As to PCs and spaaaaaccce… we’re both right… sorta. The needs of NASA for computing (i.e. can’t shoot giant rooms of computers in a rocket) pushed computing companies to shrink down computers. PCs then evolved off many of those theories. But spaaaaacccce was definitely conquered with a combo of slide rules and beep-boop-bop diodes and tubes.

  • Dwight Williams

    And then in Avengers, we had NYC invaded by ETs.

    Which puts the kibosh on Stark’s non-proliferation preference, don’t you think?

  • Anonymous

    …touche…

    Though if I recall correctly, he may have built like 42 different versions of the Iron Man suit by the time of IM3, but the only one the government had was Iron Patriot, and that was only because Rhodey was military.

    Anyway, I’m sure we won’t see a real IM suit any time soon.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    Sure. Feel free to hand over all the gold you want.

    Ha! Just kidding, friend!

  • WheelchairNinja

    Nah, septims don’t weigh anything so I keep them with me. Here’s a six full sets of heavy armor, a stockpile of dragon bones, all the dwemer metal that wasn’t nailed down in that ruin we just went through, and about 15 different greatswords and battleaxes you can carry, though… ;)

  • Pink Apocalypse

    “If….that is your wish…”