The whole purpose of “TALOS” is to provide to provide Special Operations soldiers (such as Navy Seals, Delta Force, Green Berets, etc…) with a much improved and more versatile protection system than they have ever had before. The suit would presumably comprise multiple layers of “smart material” and sensors.
Inspired by ground troops in Afghanistan, “TALOS” was first proposed by Admiral Bill McRaven at a conference back in May of 2013. It is now anticipated that the armored suit will be available as a “1st gen capability” by the spring of 2015. Full development and deployment could take a little longer, however. Admiral McRaven expects a fully working system to be fielded by 2018.
For now, three unpowered prototype suits are in preparation for delivery in June of this year. This has been a collaborative effort between as many as 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories.
The result of their work is what amounts to a powered exoskeleton, complete with full-body armor, and situational-awareness displays. SOCOM (the Unites States Special Operations Command) is even considering holding a "monster garage" type event designed to tap into good old fashioned American ingenuity and to encourage mechanics and craftsmen to create components for the suit. Moreover, there is even the possibility of a distribution of prize money in order to generate plenty of interest.
The features envisioned for the suit include: “Reducing of impact of load by intelligent weight distribution throughout the body”, “A low power requirement”, “A low suit profile to fit under the existing uniform comfortably”, “Providing of sensor cues to soldiers to reduce injuries”, “Integrated components to provide joint support where user needs it most”, “Reapplication of energy to enhance the efficiency of motion and improvement of overall metabolics”, and to “Remain compliant and flexible stiffening only when needed.”
With all this, one can perhaps guess what the single biggest challenge is. That’s right: power supply. In fact, the report states: “Power demands might require a lot of additional weight due to the power source”. No one wants to go into battle carrying an enormous and heavy battery pack, let alone dragging a lengthy power chord.
As I sat reading this in utter amazement, I was reminded that this maybe a case of life imitating art. Decades ago, I read Robert Heinlein’s classic science fiction book titled Starship Troopers. It had first been published way back in 1959. The book describes military personnel conducting warfare in just such powered exo-suits, as they literally leap hundreds of feet at a time, onto and over buildings, all the while being protected from atomic blasts and other mortal dangers by their armored suits!
I do not know if I will live to see the day when such suits are commonplace within the military and/or law enforcement agencies. Should the Lord tarry His coming, then I suppose that these things are inevitable. But I do know that powered suits of armor are nothing new to believers.
In the sixth chapter of the Apostle Pauls’ letter to the church at Ephesus, we are given the following admonition:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you
have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Verse 20 in this same chapter tells that the Apostle was enchained in a Roman prison even as he wrote these words. One
can only imagine the sight before him, as Roman soldiers in full military garb went about their assigned duties.
In seeing and pondering these things, Paul realized that Christians, too, were engaged in a conflict – only it is a far more significant one in that it is a titanic spiritual battle. He also understood that we had been well equipped by the Lord for that very struggle.
I hope you will find that encouraging as you engage in your portion of this great struggle between the forces of good and evil. Left to our own devices, we could have little impact against so great a foe as Satan. But with the power of God on our side, we know already that the victory will be ours, for as the Apostle John tells us (I John 4:4): “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Little wonder then, that in Romans 8:31, this same Apostle Paul would also pose the following insightful question for all believers: “If God is for us, who can be against us?!”
A simple Google search for TALOS and also for exo-skeletons, etc... will provide plenty of background information as well.