Special Operations troops who perform dangerous hostage rescue and similar type missions may soon find themselves with some new equipment that will better protect them. The new “Iron Man” suit will begin testing with operators during the summer of 2018.

The Pentagon and the Special Operations Acquisitions and Technology Branch has been working on procuring a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), which became known as the “Iron Man” suit for the past four years.

“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.

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.”

While the TALOS suit probably won’t appear much like a Marvel superhero outfit, it will have a variety of sensors, heads-up displays, an exoskeleton to reduce the load special operators carry, medical sensors, and potentially much, much more.

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Earlier versions had a unique body armor system. Manufactured by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, TALOS had a revolutionary type of electrically-activated shield called liquid body armor. While wearing the suit, the operator simply triggers a magnetic or electrical current on the TALOS and the body armor transitions from liquid to solid in a matter of milliseconds.

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Photo courtesy DOD