Special Forces veteran says he's skeptical about the infantry's real need for military exoskeletons

A veteran of U.S. Special Forces agrees that infantry may be overburdened, but questions the need for new load-bearing technologies like exoskeletons.

May 21st, 2019
Exoskeletons 21 May 2019
DOD photo

WASHINGTON – For the last few years, the U.S. Army has seemed intent on developing mechanical exoskeletons. From the ONYX suit prototypes created by Lockheed-Martin to the now-defunct TALOS suit inspired by Iron Man, these exoskeletons are to enable American infantrymen a mechanical advantage in carrying supplies while on foot patrol. Outer Places reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

21 May 2019 -- The infantry soldier's supplies and gear can weigh upwards of 100 pounds. Army Techniques Publication 3-21.18 Foot Marches writes, the ability of Soldiers to march and fight is directly influenced by their combat load. Soldier loads should be limited to mission essential equipment. Excessive loads significantly reduce the Soldier's ability to accomplish the mission.

"In many cases, it's far better to be light on your feet and to be able to quickly move up, down, and around on the battlefield three-dimensionally, and an exoskeleton is just more crap that breaks, crap that needs batteries, and crap that slows you down," says former Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Chris Papasadero.

Rather than new load-bearing technologies, the former Special Forces warfighter says he would rather see money "go to better and lighter armor, improved integration of force multipliers like drones, and better attitudes in the military towards a good offense making a good defense."

Related: Army reaches out to industry for new ideas on exoskeletons to help warfighters lift heavy loads

Related: Army eyes exoskeleton technology to reduce wear and tear on soldiers from wearing helmets

Related: Lockheed Martin partners with B-TEMIA to bring robotic exoskeleton technology to the infantry

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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