What is a Hollywood special-effects company doing for the United States Army?
Remember the epic movie, Iron Man? Legacy Effects is the American special-effects company responsible for creating the armored outfits for the title characters in Hollywood movies such as “Iron Man”, “The Terminator”, and “RoboCop”.
Pentagon has sought the help of Hollywood special effects company, Legacy Effects in designing the armor suit of the future soldiers.
Legacy Effects And Special Operations Command Project (SOCOM)
The Pentagon has commissioned Legacy Effects to help design and build an exoskeleton for the next generation of elite U.S. troops that would protect soldiers and has the capability to carry high-tech gear while remaining agile. The designers of Legacy Effects are reportedly part of the Special Operations Command project because the challenges presented by the project are daunting enough and require out-of-the-box thinking, which anyone involved in Hollywood film making is so familiar with.
Iron Man-Styled Armored Suit: TALOS
The Special Operations Command project is called Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) and the ultimate goal is to provide extra ballistic protection for the soldier’s entire body just like it protected Iron Man. Aside from the designers of Legacy Effects, the TALOS research team also included technology experts, experienced soldiers, armor masters, a Canadian researcher who is studying insect armors, combat veterans, and bioengineers. They are pulled from small companies to military-industrial titans like General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. Mike Fieldson, the Manager of the Project TALOS revealed these details to the Military Times.
According to Fieldson, the variables that have to be considered in designing TALOS include:
- Integrated sensory systems
- Enhanced vision
- Ease of use
- Temperature fluctuations
These variables would necessitate a conglomeration of technologies designed and built for the purpose of providing protection to the soldiers to a higher standard. Fieldson said the project hopes to accomplish and achieve its goals within 4 years.
TALOS Design Features
The Iron Man-style armored suit could weigh as much as 400 pounds but even with such weight still has to allow the user speed and agility. Pentagon researchers also disclosed that in lieu of the mini “arc reactor” used to fuel a movement of the Iron Man armor suit, they envision power to be coming from about 365 pounds of batteries.
Unheard Of Design Features For TALOS
Designers and developers hope to build a suit that can monitor the vital signs of the user and provide him with real-time battlefield information without the need for military handsets or other traditional communications equipment, integrated with a weapon, and be bullet-proof from head-to-toe. Other unheard of features may also be integrated, such as an exoskeleton made of liquid armor, enhanced sensory capabilities, Google Glass-like visuals, and smart fabrics that could help stop hemorrhaging. Three prototypes of the armor have already been examined by military officials. The suit is expected to be distributed to high-risk and Special Forces units in 2018.
The TALOS project may sound too sci-fi causing to raise doubts from other sectors, but the military has a valid reason for considering this option. James Geurts, the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Deputy for Acquisition explained that the project is driven by the fact that the military has lost a lot of soldiers to explosions and gunshot wounds. And if something can be done to give soldiers better protection and better capability using the latest technologies, the military has an open mind.
Can you imagine the U.S. Elite Troops donning the Iron Man-styled armor suit in combat zones?