Feeds

US Army trials Iron Man super-trooper exoskeleton

HULC™: the ruggedisation is complete

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A powered exoskeleton suit designed to let soldiers march and fight carrying huge loads of weaponry, equipment and armour is to enter testing with the US Army.

A soldier wearing a HULC exoskeleton lifts something heavy. Credit: Lockheed

That box of pies plainly isn't going to last him long.

The machine in question is of course the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC™), nowadays a product line belonging to arms behemoth Lockheed after it bought up HULC inventor Russdon Angold and his company Berkeley Bionics.

The HULC uses li-ion batteries to power its hydraulically-driven titanium legs. It matches its movements to those of the wearer without the need for any control inputs.

Heavy equipment can be carried on a HULC trooper's back or hung in front of him from various over-shoulder fittings, and the weight is carried by the exoskeleton rather than his body. A HULC wearer can easily carry 300lb of backpack and body armour, and still be able to walk, run, kneel and stand with ease. The basic machine offers no help to the wearer's arms, but there is a shoulder attachment with powered belts over the shoulder for lifting heavy objects (pictured).

The HULC's li-ion batteries will run flat after a few hours' use - less if any jogging or running is done - but Lockheed have hired military fuel-cell firm Protonex to develop a power pack which would last for days. This will also allow a soldier to plug in all his other battery-powered items such as radios, nightsights, lasers etc.

When the Reg interviewed Angold in his suit last year the HULC was described by Lockheed as being still "in ruggedisation" and not yet ready for trials with actual soldiers.

It would appear that ruggedisation is now complete, as a Lockheed statement issued yesterday says that the US Army's Natick Soldier Center will now perform "test and evaluation" of the HULC, paying $1.1m for the privilege. According to Lockheed:

The U.S. Army will test Lockheed Martin's advanced ruggedized HULC design. The upgraded HULC system includes optimized control software, extended battery life and human factors improvements for quicker and easier sizing to each user.

The contract includes options for field trials to test the system's utility in operational environments.

Lockheed says it is also "exploring exoskeleton designs to support industrial and medical applications".

Rival US defence mammoth Raytheon also has an exoskeleton project, the XOS. Angold sneers at this, however, as at last reports it still required a plug-in power cable. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.