You Can Finally Watch The Army's 'Third Arm' Exoskeleton In Action

Military Tech

We've been obsessively tracking the Army's work on the "third arm" exoskeleton due to its delightful resemblance to the mechanical harness for the M56A2 Smart Gun from Aliens, and lo, our patience has paid off: After months of tweaks by the Army Research Lab, soldiers are finally giving the lightweight appendage a workout.


The Army Research Laboratory on May 29 published footage of soldiers scrambling through an urban training exercise site at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland with 22-pound M249 and 25-pound M240B machine guns affixed to the end of their harnesses, a step up from the 20-pound defensive shield that the Army initially started testing last year. According to the Army, one sergeant rocking the third arm with a carbine "dove into a prone fighting position from a sprint ... [and] the Third Arm provided immediate stabilization to improve marksmanship for the soldier."

Army Sgt. Michael Zamora uses a prototype Third Arm exoskeleton to easily aim an 18-pound M249 light machine gun during testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, March 14, 2018.U.S. Army/Conrad Johnson

As they did with an initial test group back in 2017, the soldiers described the harness as a major boon, reducing fatigue, improving accuracy and boosting overall lethality. But the third arm still has some kinks to work out.

"We get comments from soldiers who tell us different things about the way it feels on their body… about the way it redistributes the load,"ARL engineer Dan Baechle said in an Army release. "Some like it, some give us tips about the ways it could be improved, and we're using that input to improve the device and improve the design so that it not only works well, but it also feels good."

But get amped: Apparently, the third arm is getting enough attention from senior DoD officials that it may head downrange sooner than expected. "It's been getting a lot of interest higher up in the Army, but also online with some of the stories that have come out," Baechle said. "We're using some of the interest to help motivate further development of the device."

And now, your obligatory Aliens GIF:

KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.

Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

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U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

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Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

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Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.

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