The Army’s Latest Mechanical Gadget Is Ripped Right From ‘Aliens’

Gear
Screengrab via YouTube

As you round the corner, gracefully pieing the cavernous doorways of an abandoned installation with your M249 squad automatic weapon, you hear a squadmate hiss: “Something is coming!”


Spinning on a dime, you turn just in time. You’re fluid and quick, not sluggish like the machine gunners of past wars, weighed down by heavy weapon systems, tons of ammunition, and equipped with just two arms. You bring your weapon to bear, a third mechanical arm doing all the heavy lifting, and decimate the enemy in a hail of gunfire.

If you think this sounds like a scene from James Cameron’s “Aliens,” you’re right. If you think it sounds like pure science fiction, you’re wrong.

The Army recently announced its plans to create a mechanical arm that would attach to the back of a soldier’s tactical vest, notes Tony Lombardo of Defense News. Called the Third Arm, it’s an ultralight exoskeleton that literally carries a warfighter's weapon allowing him to show up to battle well-rested and ready to kick ass, and provides additional stability, which means greater accuracy.

Related: Farewell, Pfc Hudson. See You In Valhalla »

Based on the Army’s description, it would function a lot like the harness for the M56A2 Smart Gun from “Aliens,” the harness that allowed colonial Marine machine gunners to move quickly, provided reduced recoil when firing, and helped distribute the weapon system’s weight, all of which enhanced a gunner’s combat effectiveness.

Designed by the Army Research Laboratory, the arm is a 4-pound carbon-fiber exoskeleton which attaches to a soldier’s back via their tactical vest and connects to the weapon’s Picatinny rail system, Defense News reports. The arm is also ambidextrous and can be mounted on either side of the body. A recent demo covered by Defense News showed just an M4 carbine, but the arm is capable of hefting heavier weapon systems, up to 20 pounds.

The Army's Third Arm is designed to help a soldier distribute a weapon's weight, making movement easier and keeping them fresh for battle.Defense News photo by Tony Lombardo

The arm could also be adapted to carry a breaching saw or a shield, which is more reminiscent of “The Running Man” and steampunk franchises like “Road Warrior” than it is of space Marines and sci-fi, but it’s still pretty badass.

Though still in its infancy, researchers have begun to run the prototype through live-fire exercises to see how it impacts marksmanship and muscle activity. Future tests will see how using the arm impacts shooting on the move, hitting moving targets, unconventional firing positions as well as recoil mitigation.

Essentially, the Army is actively trying to arm soldiers with equipment and weaponry plucked straight from one of the greatest sci-fi action films ever made. So the only thing you’ve really gotta ask yourself is: Who’s ready for a bug hunt?

Dustin A. Peters (Cape May County Sheriff's Office)

A former Marine arrested as he tried to enter the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May with a modified AK-47 rifle, handgun, body armor and ammunition faces federal weapons charges, officials said Friday.

Read More
The United Launch Alliance's Delta IV rocket launches with a Wideband Global SATCOM WGS-10 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Complex 37 on March 15, 2019. The satellite brings enhanced communication capability for command and control of U.S. military forces on the battlefield. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Andrew Satran)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

The US military's newest service, the Space Force, is only about a month old, having been signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 20.

Read More
(Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial, Inc./Facebook)

Military veterans from throughout Northeast Florida came together Saturday morning to honor comrades in arms who were prisoners of war or missing in action, and remember their sacrifice.

Read More
The remains of Army Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin arrived back to Fort Bragg a week after he was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army)

After the plane landed, Pope Army Airfield was silent on Saturday.

A chaplain prayed and a family member sobbed.

Tarah McLaughlin's fingers traced her husband's flag-draped coffin before she pressed two fingers to her lips then pressed her fingers to the coffin.

The remains of Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, arrived back to Fort Bragg a week after he was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, also was killed in the same incident.

Read More

The Space Force has a name tape now

popular

The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.

In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.

Read More