Military leaders have not shied away from referring to the new suit the Pentagon wants to build for special operators as the “Iron Man” suit. So much so that they’ve turned to the special effects company in Hollywood that worked on the Iron Man franchise to build a prototype.
Legacy Effects, which has worked on Iron Man, RoboCop, and Captain America, have been asked by the Pentagon to build a prototype of the suit that is officially called the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
In fact, the special effects experts are using the same 3-D printers to build the prototype that they used to build the suit that Robert Downey Jr.’s character wears in the movies.
Navy Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, said he wanted to see a prototype delivered this summer even saying he expected one finished last month. June has drifted into July, but SOCOM officials are keeping the pressure on for a fast delivery as expectations remain high for the suit.
“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said during the 25th annual Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict conference in February in Washington, D.C.
Pentagon and SOCOM leaders want the suit to provide breakthrough technologies such as bullet proof suits, powered exoskeletons and even the ability to see through walls. Essentially, the leaders of the program want scientists and engineers to try and turn the movies into real life.
In the effort to side step some of the typical acquisition processes that often delay or derail Pentagon programs, SOCOM has drawn the ire of lawmakers who want the program to fall under Congressional oversight. However, the program has moved along and SOCOM has used a warehouse in Florida to test some of the concepts they are experimenting, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Engineers are testing medieval armor and even the Under Armour speed skating suits to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
The team from Legacy Effects warned the Wall Street Journal reporter not to get hopes too high on the prototype. Designing a suit for real world combat is much different than designing one for a movie, Lindsay MacGowan, a founder of Legacy Effects, told the Journal.
“This one won’t be flying anytime soon, and it won’t be red or gold, but it will be something that is in the history books,” MacGowan told the Journal.