- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

U.S. military officials say that testing on the Pentagon’s “Iron Man” suit for special operations forces will begin in summer 2018.

The Pentagon tasked its best and brightest four years ago to come up with a suit that would protect elite warfighters during hostage rescue operations and similar missions. The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), which became known as the “Iron Man” suit shortly thereafter, became its endgame.

“We are on our fifth prototype. Will we get everything we want? Probably not. That was never the intent,” James Geurts of Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology and Logistics told Military.com on Wednesday.

Mr. Geurts, who spoke from the National Defense Industrial Association’s Annual Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland, said Americans should not expect to see something out of a Marvel Studios movie.

The suits may use new technologies to improve communication between team members and convey a wide range of biometric data, however.

“So in TALOS, don’t just think exoskeleton and armor. Think of the whole equation,” Mr. Geurts said. “Survivability is part of what armor you are carrying, but it’s also a big part of whatever information you have, what is your situational awareness, how do you communicate. So as we are going down all those paths, we can leverage quickly some of the stuff that is ready to go right now.”

The project was initially budgeted at $80 million for research and development purposes. Mr. Geurts did not disclose how much money researchers have spent to date.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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