U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel has said a prototype of an assault suit designed to protect special operations troops is on track for launch in 2018, DoD News reported Wednesday.
Jim Garamone writes a joint acquisition task force, formed in 2013, intends to combine technologies for ballistic protection and tactical functions into the Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit.
Votel, commander of Special Operations Command, told a symposium at the Macdill Air Force Base in Florida that a group from industry, academia and government has been working on a prototype, according to the report.
“Although many significant challenges remain, our goal for a Mark 5 prototype suit by 2018 is on track right now,” he told the National Defense Industries Association’s event.
Votel added that future prototype suits will feature helmets with heads-up display, cooling/heating systems and health status sensors, Garamone reports.
Garamone cited one task force official as saying the program faces current challenges such as an untethered power source to operate the exoskeleton, regulate temperature and fuel the sensors.
The official added that the time it takes for the suit’s sensor to detect and transmit data to the operator also poses another problem, DoD News reports.