The Inside Story Behind the Pentagon’s Ill-Fated Quest for a Real Life ‘Iron Man’ Suit – Task&Purpose

The inside story behind the Pentagon’s ill-fated TALOS Program

Jared Keller has published on Task&Purpose a thorough and in-depth article on the rise and fall of the Tactical Assult Light Operator Suit or TALOS for short. The TALOS program was a five-year attempt by the U.S. military to bring powered exoskeleton technology to the active battlefield. Author Jared Keller runs through the story of the project, from its initial inspiration and historical background to its final demise. Even if you have read about these events separately, it is wonderful to see the story put together in one cohesive narrative (for example, the Exoskeleton Report team was not aware of the all too human story behind the cheesy TALOS video from 2013 and how it tied directly to the story of Nicolas Checque).

The inside story includes 9 pictures, 1 slide show, and 1 video that is used to color in the narrative. The article starts with the tale of Chief Petty Officer Nicolas Checque whose unfortunate death in active combat became the underlying inspiration for many to create a better soldier’s kit. The author then transitions to outlying the history that preceded the start of the project, from humanity’s fascination with human augmentation from antiquity, the first appearances of powered exoskeletons in science-fiction, projects like the Man Amplifier, Hardiman and Pitman suit, and finally DARPA’s involvement. Jared Keller artfully doesn’t boil the ocean by cramming the entire history of exoskeleton development under one roof but carefully picks and chooses only what is relevant to guide the reader on their journey of understanding the TALOS program.

So, if you haven’t already, head out to Task & Purpose and enjoy the read.


The inside story behind the Pentagon’s ill-fated quest for a real life ‘Iron Man’ suit, Task & Purpose, May 6, 2020,

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