Raytheon ExoskeletonThe U.S. military listed off the companies its working with thus far to develop a tactical suit for special operators that is often compared to the suit worn in the Hollywood film Iron Man.

Many of the companies listed on the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) are the usual defense regulars like Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. There a few other athletic wear companies like Nike and Under Armour. And then there are a few outliers that have left some in the industry scratching their heads like National Public Radio and Red Bull Air Force.

Military leaders to include Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, have touted the suit as a next generation capability that will change how Special Forces operate. Leaders like McRaven want it to provide troops super human strength, the ability to see through walls and a bulletproof skin, among other capabilities.

“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said in February.

Work has started on the suit. SOCOM officials hope to have prototypes by this June and start outfitting special operators by 2018.

Thus far, about 56 defense companies, 16 government agencies, 13 universities and 10 national laboratories are working on the program. Until the release of SOCOM’s new website dedicated to the program. Those companies haven’t been listed. Below is a list of those companies:

  • Adidas

  • ADS

  • AEgis Technologies

  • Agis

  • Allen Vanguard

  • Altamira

  • Anderson Consulting

  • Anthro Tronix

  • Avegant

  • Azure Summit Technologies

  • B-temia

  • Blackbird Technologies

  • Boeing

  • CMI

  • CWS

  • David Clark

  • Deep Springs Technology

  • Design Interactive

  • Draper Laboratory

  • Ekso Bionics

  • EMC2

  • Global Satellite Engineering

  • Helios Design Labs

  • Honeywell

  • Invisio

  • IST

  • Legacy Effects

  • Linear Labs

  • Lockheed Martin

  • Mawashi

  • Miltech

  • National Public Radio (NPR)

  • Nike

  • Oceanic Safety Systems

  • Physical Operator Corporation

  • Protonex

  • Raytheon

  • Red Bull Air Force

  • Revision

  • RINI Technologies

  • Robotics Technology Consortium

  • Rockwell Collins

  • Sage Cheshire

  • Select Engineering Services (SES)

  • Sierra Nevada Corp.

  • Tampa Energy Solutions

  • Tandel Systems

  • Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc.

  • Thales

  • Transformair

  • Under Armor

  • Vodik Labs

  • Warwick Mills

  • Wilcox

  • Wyle

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

JCitizen April 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

Protonex? Hmmm! Interesting! If you are going to do this you will need a lot of power – I imagine they are probably one of the best at developing this, especially if it is a methanol fuel cell!

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will April 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

i have my own fuel supply…just gas it up with great northerns or pintos

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JCitizen April 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

HA! I bet that'd work on the trooper in the suit! ;) I've not read of a fuel cell that can successfully run on ethanol yet!

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Rogue Male April 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I can't wait to hear how many hours of maintenance and repair this stuff requires for every operational hour in the field. How many techs will be required per x number of infantrymen. Etc.

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templedog6 April 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I just want to know if the little Pilipino armorer is gonna bring his big pocking wrench to fix 'em . . .

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JCitizen April 21, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Sounds like a good windmill tilting story!

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sefad April 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Wouldn't you just teach them the basics of keeping their suits in optimal working conditions? Just like there weapons?

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Marc April 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

I think it would be great if the citizens critiquing this idea knew the difference between “their and they’re and there”. Then after we understand how to properly communicate our ideas, maybe we can properly discuss larger ideas like morality and logistics.

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Stefan S. April 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Military force reductions to pre WW2 levels. No money for training. Don't expect this in your lifetime.

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Billy B May 7, 2014 at 1:42 am

The USSOCOM budget for R&D ("RDT&E") is slated to increase $151 million for FY2015 — they'll be just fine.

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Brian B. Mulholland April 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm

The complete suit may take awhile. I'd bet that some subsystems, in particular the powered exoskeleton, have seen some testing in-theater. If you could land well away from a target, beyond the distances over which a helicopter could be heard, and then run at night with a standard pack for 20KM, you'd have a considerable advantage right there. We've all seen Boston Robotics' mechanical critters running around for some time. It might not be bulletproofed (that sounds heavy, which multiplies the power required) and it may not see through walls (penetrating radar, I guess) but powered exoskeletons may be seeing some use now. Let's raise a glass to the memory of Robert A. Heinlein and "Starship Troopers."

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Slag April 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

Dead or alive, you're coming with me.

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Condor April 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Let me get this straight- we're reducing the number of rounds soldiers will be able to fire in training, but we're wasting money on this crap? Tell me they're making this up. Please. Don't these companies accrue development money even if this crap is never adopted? Hmmm… Looks like development is their real scam… Uh, contribution to our war effort.

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mrlee April 20, 2014 at 5:02 am

Just look at the flak jackets that they gave us during Nam. The bullet went in the front and exited our back. We might just as well not have been wearing them for all of the protection they gave versus added weight.

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majr0d April 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm

The conventional side is taking the cuts. The TALOS program is coming from SOCOM's deep pockets.

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voodkokk April 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Can they out run a Toyota pickup?

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voodkokk April 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm

A total waste of time and taxpayer dollars. If we are going to send robots out to fight a war, why have a war to begin with?

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conradswims April 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Our enemy will die laughing at us.

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Allwet April 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Wow, waste on an EPIC scale…….this is one of the things you are trading for A-10 CAS.This is "chicks in Infantry" stupid, just squared or cubed.

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billy bob April 19, 2014 at 11:47 pm

This is so stupid. If they make this why even have a war we will be killing people because our enemies will not have this technology it would just be murder.

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mrlee April 20, 2014 at 5:06 am

The only way that this will work in combat, is that our enemy will be dieing of laughter.

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muttling April 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I just want to know what NPR brings to this team.

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Rogue Male April 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

A well-honed sense of stupid?

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SansVarnic April 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I have the same question. NPR is the most worthless radio station to exist, matter of fact what could a radio station (any radio station) possibly have to offer in terms of anything to do with this research? Obviously its not going to be thoughtful insight. . . .

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Me in Missouri April 21, 2014 at 11:03 am

It's a weapons system. Don't you remember the movie Heartbreak Ridge?

"You can rob me, you can starve me…and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."

LOL!

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shawn1999 April 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

after all the robotics and mechanical companies that they just purchased, I am shocked that Google hasn't thrown their hat in the ring, which they could then integrate with their Google Glass and really make the future soldier what it was intended to be (as opposed to the fiasco it became)

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Mellissalynn April 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Wow. I wonder if Marvel is gonna sue? Another case of science fiction leading science…personally, I hope they get this to work. Just remember the words of another Marvel superhero: "With great power comes great responsibility." The whole reason (in the comics) that the military was never given this tech was the potential for abuse inherent in it….

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DCC April 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Back in the day (I retired in 2001) my equipment; including weapons, ammunition, body armor, mission essential equipment, snivel gear, food and water amounted to ~170 Lbs. distributed in my ruck, LBV and body armor. The weight we carried limited our mobility, challenged our endurance and, over time, exacted a toll on our bodies. Thus, I can understand why SOCOM would be interested in this technology. I believe the key limiting factor will be the power source, which would need to support operations over extended periods of time without reducing the amount of gear carried. I hope they are successful.

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Rogue Male April 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

Perhaps it would be better if the concept was defined for logistics troops/contractors to use this kit to Sherpa supplies from supply points to the combat areas…

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the_syco April 22, 2014 at 5:15 am

Two questions that you should consider;
What's their max load
Can can the suit follow a lead soldier automatically, allowing the soldier in the suit to sleep?

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Dan April 24, 2014 at 3:55 am

But we can't find a decent replacement for the POS M4 carbine or the craptastic 5.56mm round …… yet another waste of money in the time of smaller budgets.

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seans April 24, 2014 at 8:42 pm

I am guessing you have never used the Mk262 or MK318 round. There is a reason the SMUs stick with 5.56 overall.

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