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The Army wants a working prototype by next year and to be able to deploy this suit on the battlefield within three years, but until a soldier can fly, Tony Stark will be the only soldier in a super suit that can. (AP Photo/File)

'Iron Man' super suit under development by US Army

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How cool would it be for U.S. soldiers to have their own versions of an Iron Man suit to take them out on the battlefield? It's no joke. Top Army researchers hope to have soldiers in these suits in three years.

A bulletproof exoskeleton. An integrated 360-degree camera system and heads up display. Real-time health monitoring and as CBS military analyst Major Mike Lyons said, "There's also this feature about detecting injuries and applying self-healing foam to an injury that can almost attach to your body."

Sound like anyone you've heard of?

The suit promises super-human strength to soldiers wearing it. It would also come with hydraulic attachments for the legs and arms to increase lifting power.

But will it work? Is it necessary? And who will get it?

Lyons said it's likely only going to be used by a select handful of soldiers and on special missions.

"The fact they're calling it a Light Operator Suit tells me that the focus is going to be small squads, small groups, infantry soldiers that are doing highly-skilled missions," he said. "I don't think it's something that's going to be issued to, let's say, the G.I., so to speak."

And Lyons said this suit has its downsides. "It's greatest strength will be its greatest weakness," he said. "It will likely have a great shortfall in mobility or something that would not make it smart for having every soldier in the military have it."

The soldiers would likely have to carry heavy battery packs to power the suit, which could also present a problem during missions, but Lyons said it's clear the Army is serious about developing a workable suit.

"The fact that the military has its best and brightest on it right now tells me that they're serious about coming out with some kind of prototype and get it to the Special Operations folks as soon as possible."

Word is the Army wants a working prototype by next year and to be able to deploy this suit on the battlefield within three years.

But until a soldier can fly, Tony Stark will be the only soldier in a super suit that can.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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