SOCOM is field testing lightweight body armor originally developed for its 'Iron Man' suit

Military Tech

VIDEO: The Army's vision for the 'Soldier Of The Future'

U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.

The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.


The new SOCOM armor offers protection from small-arms fire over 44 percent of the body compared to the 19 percent offered by the standard infantry body armor, including an operator's shoulders, obliques, forearms, and groin, Hawkins said.

In addition, the new SOCOM armor weights 25 percent, or roughly three pounds, less than standard protective gear.

While SOCOM officials confirmed in February that the full TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype wasn't even close to ready for prime time, Hawkins told Task & Purpose that the command is currently exploring 10 subsystems developed under the Joint Acquisition Task Force-TALOS for "further maturation and testing" — chief among them the lightweight polyethylene armor.

"The armor is currently under combat evaluation by SOF units in the field," Hawkins told Task & Purpose.

SOCOM isn't the only command exploring the potential applications of lightweight polyethylene. In 2017, researchers at the Army's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) unveiled an experimental combat helmet made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) that offered a 40 percent weight reduction compared to existing ballistics options.

Then in Sept. 2019, the Army Research Lab announced a new material developed from a UHMWPE-based compound that's 14 times stronger and eight times lighter than steel, a material that Army Research Office officials described as "easier to cast or mold into complex shapes, providing versatile protection for soldiers, vehicles, and other Army assets."

Hawkins declined to elaborate if the Army's past work with UHMWPE had explicitly informed the development of the new SOCOM armor.

"This is a material that was part of a collaborative effort during the TALOS project, but that's not to say that this [armor] was the only effort," Hawkins said. "With regards to the services and what they've taken on, there's some crossover ... our acquisition folks go to the same conferences."

Speaking at SOFIC this past May, Col. Alex MacCalman, the outgoing JATF-TALOS engineering chief, stated that the Army had expressed interest in adopting the new post-TALOS protective system, which offers "better protection against AK-47 rounds," as National Defense reported at the time.

But because SOCOM is currently evaluating the new armor, however, Hawkins could not definitively compare the armor's protective capacity to that of the Army's Improved Outer Tactical Vest, stating only that "it offers increased protection against small arms threats."

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

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.

With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.

Read More

The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.

Read More

Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.

Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.

The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.

Read More

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.

Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.

The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.

Read More