The Marine Corps is pressing ahead with plans to test the Guardian XO Alpha suit, with plans for it to be put into service by the end of the year. It will be capable of doing the work of between four and ten people, depending on the task.
Specifically, the suit will allow a Marine to lift and move up to 200 pounds of gear repeatedly for eight hours straight.
A deal which will see Sarcos Defense, a subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics, build the suit, was announced on Tuesday.
A statement issued by Sarcos Defense explained: “As the US Marine Corps focuses on logistics and sustainment modernisation as one of their key priorities and looks to reduce the manpower required to conduct expeditionary operations, the Guardian XO is well-suited to fulfill a wide variety of logistics applications to address their needs and requirements.
The ultimate goal is to provide troops with an edge by boosting their capabilities
“The ultimate goal is to provide troops with an edge by boosting their capabilities and dramatically improving safety and productivity in a variety of logistics applications.”
Ben Wolff, CEO, Sarcos Defense, added: “Our military branches need to regularly address changing personnel issues and reduce the risk of injury from performing heavy-lifting tasks.
“We believe that our full-body, powered exoskeletons will be a huge benefit to the Marines as well as the US Air Force, US Navy and USSOCOM, who we are also working with on our exoskeleton technology.”
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Marine Commandant General David Berger’s planning guidance calls for Marines to test unmanned and robotic systems.
The Guardian XO Alpha will allow smaller teams of Marines dispatched to far-flung places to do more with less.
A Guardian XO prototype went display during the Modern Day Marine expo in Virginia last year.
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The suit also put in an appearance at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, to wide acclaim.
Jim Miller, Sarcos Robotics’ vice president of defence solutions, said it would fit Marines ranging in height from 5ft 2 to 6ft 2.
Mr Miller said his suit was ideal for moving heavy equipment and artillery.
The added: “Instead of a team of four Marines, maybe you only need a Marine with this capability to offload pallets or move or load munitions.”
Mr Miller did not specifically mention James Cameron’s movie.
However, he admitted he and his colleagues had taken inspiration from science fiction when considering ways to help troops during their day-to-day duties.
The climax of Aliens sees Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, don a exoskeleton suit uncannily similar to the Guardian XO prior to a savage battle with the Queen Mother alien.
The film was nominated for seven academy awards, including one for Weaver in the Best Actress category.
It eventually won two – for Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.
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