[Defense in Brief] U.S. Army tests its new super-soldier exoskeleton

The U.S. Army is conducting additional testing of a new exoskeleton that would give regular soldiers super-strength, ability, and agility.

The technology utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze and then replicate a soldier’s walking pattern, providing more torque, power, and mobility for infantry troops while enabling them to carrier heavier loads.

Said one report:

Army evaluators have been assessing a Lockheed-built FORTIS knee-stress-release-device exoskeleton with soldiers at Fort A.P. Hill as part of a focus on fielding new performance enhancing soldier technologies.

Using independent actuators, motors and lightweight conformal structures, lithium ion battery powered FORTIS allows soldiers to carry 180 pounds up five flights of stairs while expending less energy.

“We’ve had this on some of the Army’s elite forces, and they were able to run with high agility carrying full loads,” Keith Maxwell, senior program manager, exoskeleton technology, Lockheed Martin, said.

Lockheed engineers say FORTIS could prove particularly impactful in close-quarters urban combat because it  enhances soldier mobility, speed and power. [source]

(Analyst Comment: The U.S. isn’t the only great power tinkering with this technology. Russia has reportedly been working on exoskeleton models and technology of its own. It certainly seems as though “super soldiers” are going to be part of great-power war in the not-so-distant future.)

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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