US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) officials have revealed a list of requirements for its secretive Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) programme at the 2016 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC).
According to head of the Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF)-TALOS, US Navy Captain Anthony Baker, USSOCOM commander General Tony Thomas was briefed on the latest developments at the event, subsequently granting continued "top level support" for the programme.
First established by Admiral Bill McRaven in 2014 with the intention of developing an advanced combat suit prototype by August 2018, the TALOS concept aims to improve the "comprehensive ballistic protection, situational awareness, and surgical precision and lethality" of operators, particularly relevant to Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT).
Capt Baker revealed targets for JATF-TALOS in financial year (FY) 2016 included the continued development of the combat suit including the research, assessment, test, and development of emerging and disruptive technology, subsystems, and components.
Plans also include the acceleration of technology development and transition of over-the-horizon technology capable of supporting operators in a complex and uncertain future operating environment as well as rapid prototyping to deliver capabilities to the field user with minimal delays.
Functional areas of interest in the programme include the exoskeleton, power, C4i, the interface between the wearer's skin and suit with embedded biometric sensors, as well as helmet and armour options.
"USSOCOM has not yet fully defined its requirement [for TALOS]," Capt Baker explained.
"We are facing a very aggressive timeline for the August 2018 prototype," he added, while suggesting that TALOS could eventually be rolled out to conventional ground units in the future, if the USSOCOM programme proves successful. However, programme officials explained there are significant issues to be resolved, including how a soldier would operate the system with two hands "locked" onto his personal weapon system.
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