Do the Oakleys
Come with it?
A powered exoskeleton suit designed to let soldiers march and fight carrying huge loads of weaponry, equipment and armour is to enter testing with the US Army. A soldier wearing a HULC exoskeleton lifts something heavy. Credit: Lockheed That box of pies plainly isn't going to last him long. The machine in question is of …
How much does it cost?
How easy is it to fuel up?
How protected is the power pack, and what happens if it's hit by, say, just thinking out loud, a decent bullet?
How protected is the cybernetics part - how hackable from afar, how easy to mess up with the aforementioned bullet or shock so as to dismember the wearer?
Why not use a mule/camel?
Above all, what need does this gizmo fill (serious question)?
As it can mimic the movement range of the human body, it can do things even tracked vehicles can't do that humans can, like climb over boulders, go through doorways, walk along narrow mountain or jungle paths, etc. You can also use it inside structures you can't get a vehicle into - imagine loading a 155m howitzer in an emplacement dug into the top of a mountain peak so remote from roads they had to bring the howitzer in slung under a chopper. I can't see them getting the battery life up for several years to come, so I don't imagine this being a regular soldier's bit of kit for a while, but it will be a very useful item for those troops that make that last few yards to several miles between the end of the road for a cargo truck/chopper and where heavy items have to be stored/used (usually down that narrow mountain/jungle path mentioned).
In this case though, not so much.
What's the use scenario for this? Most soldiering is hurry up and wait. Carrying heavy loads to the point where you stand around guarding them is best left to wheels or tracks. Anywhere you're out of vehicle supply range, i.e. special forces, you're going to run out of batteries pretty fast, then you're nobbed.
You know who's going to buy this? SWAT teams. They flip for war porn, and they'll cream their leopard print thongs[*] over a proper Power Armour version of this, as long as it makes scary whining noises and comes with a full face armoured mask, with a stupid little moustache painted on it.
[*] All 'special forces' copper wear these. Next time you see any Plod toting machine guns around, be sure to tell them I said so.
Unloading those lorries full of supplies...
Artillery gunners carrying heavy shells, medics carrying stretchers over 'uneven terrain'...
Did you know that special soldiers (SAS, SEAL, FSK, HJK and so on) when they' exited a chopper in 'stan often carried packs as heavy as 90Kg?
(About 30L of water as it's sometimes difficult to find good watersources up in the mountains)
With those weights you can't 'run for cover' as you exit the chopper. The best you can do is a slow waddle. And until you're well away from the LZ, you're a rather slow-moving target...
Also, with exoskeletons like these it should be much easier to clear away obstacles or improvise barricades, clearing an LZ or any of the other tasks the engineers do in the field.
BTW: Not all Plods wih guns wear leopard print thongs... Some go 'commando'...
closer to the book and well worth a watch.
...Shoulder-Mounted Gatling Gun. Iron-Man indeed.
But aside the military use, I see its uses for alpinists. Provided the mechanic legs hit ground (immediately) before the human ones, you can distribute the impact across the straps, thus not breaking your fleshy legs.
Other people that might use it are FD's, search and rescue crews, nurses, handicapped... Not to mention that non-military don´t need the *rugged* or *bullet-resistant* version that bad, pushing costs down. GO.
A prior Reg article on this showed a video with Angold laying down on the ground, getting back up, front, back, etc. all in normal time (or little better due to the hydralic assist).
There were extended ones from the arms show he was at where he did tricks with a 120 pound (US) ruck back on the "back" of the device.
As it was not wired up to anything, it was pretty impressive. But one of the main selling points was walking for hours and not getting tired - the device did all the work.
Getting relatively heavy equipment to a remote site quickly then setting up. I can envision HALO drops where the soldiers in question could then hit the ground running with 300lbs of equipment each. Subtract the 40lbs of standard issue they carry and that leaves 240lbs of other stuff they could then assemble/rearm, etc. with. Get in quick with heavy firepower that you then unleash on the bad dudes, thus eliminating the need for carrying said firepower, and get out on old fashioned feet if needed or pack up the exos when the troops arrive. Black ops... Black Helo, of course.
It's a big short on the arm-replacement side, but that powerloader from the movie Aliens might be an example of a more likely use. I could see this being useful for the artillery, who can be handling compact, heavy, objects, while within reach of battery recharge tech.
And I can think of plenty of examples from history of where soldiers had to carry supplies up to the front line. That sort of last-mile supply delivery might be a practical application.
I don't see it as an answer for actual infantry combat.
You really don't seem to get it.. with this system, a single man can carry a heavy machine gun plus ammunition and his personal weapon.. and that was the task of at least three soldiers, two for the weapon and one for the ammunition. And they tired.
There are, of course, more advantages: you can carry full balistic armour without problems, triple the ammunition, water, rations..
My guess is that the first units to get it will be special troops, and they will use them to carry squad weapons, etc.
What if the exo-skeleton developed a fault and the legs decided to reset to a home position? Might that mean that the soldiers ankles ended up being wrapped around his ears and he was literally kissing his @rse goodbye? I mean, it's not as if the poor squaddie will be able to resist if the machine decides it is going to move the mechanics to wherever it wants to.
And what about the very real danger of the enemy getting hold of some equipment which can hook into the exo-skeleton circuitry and take control? All of a sudden the squaddies are running around like mad things lining themselves up for the enemies gunsights.
I chose Paris because given her reputation one might need a suit like this to keep up with her. I suppose you could put it on auto-pilot for a few hours to get her started, and then take over once she is warmed up.
I mean a soldier- even an American one- is unlikely to be as dumb as the ED-209 in Robocop 3. They're going to notice someone there with a laptop and a serial cable.
Then they'll walk over to them, carrying 300lbs of guns'n'ammo and ask them politely to stop trying to hack their suit.
Then the would-be hacker would back away. Loyal as a puppy.
300lbs load, rough terrain, no arm assist... better hope you fall backwards...
Also, going prone or even to one knee looks like a big problem there.
And shoulder or boom mounted heavy weapons? Recoil would at least ensure they went onto their backs, I suppose.
Sure they've thought of all this though. Must just be missing something in the pics, I'm sure. The military never buy in next to useless kit, after all.
Gives the guy with the RPG a bigger target to aim at!
A new definition to support infantry loadout?
A deployable capability at short range from a host platform such as a helicopter or vehicle. Personnel carrier rocks up, big guys jump out, hoover the place with lots of ammo, run back to the APCs carrying the wounded people they have just rescued. APCs drives off, it was a nice short war guys!
"Most soldiering is hurry up and wait."
I suggest you tell that to any of the soldiers currently serving in Helmand. And then run like hell.
Most squaddies aren't going to be needing this kit, at least until it gets longer between top-ups. But the heavy support guys are going to love it. First step is being able to carry all your own ammo. But the logical next step is using this as a weapons platform, at which point the bloke with a SAW can now be toting a heavy machine-gun that previously would belong on the back of a technical. This can be fully-stabilised, with a HUD that automatically compensates for range and windage, plus night-vision and maybe even millimeter-wave radar.
In other words, you've replaced the armoured car with something the size of a guy with a very large pack. You may also have replaced the sharpshooter role too.
A septic mate has pointed out that a fully-armoured version would probably appear first in the SWAT role rather than the military. Battery live wouldn't be an issue as most SWAT actions are within yards of a powersocket, the kit can be transported right to the scene in a van (most SWAT actions are urban), and the kit will fit through a doorway and climb stairs. Instead of having a team of SWAT fleshies with ballistic shields and bodyarmour that are still vulnerable to firearms, all they need to do is just send in one guy in complete, powered armour with a multi-shot Taser as the pointman, maybe with some sniper backup to stop them dousing him with Molatovs.