Military Review

Exoskeletons for combat equipment. Experience of Russia and the USA

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Operator of the RTK "Uran-6" with an EO-1 exoskeleton. Photo of the Russian Ministry of Defense


One of the topical topics in the context of the development of military equipment for a serviceman (BEV) is the creation and development of exoskeletons of various types. With the help of such products, you can expand all the basic capabilities of a fighter and simplify his work. The development of exoskeletons is underway in several countries, but not a single such sample has yet been adopted for service.

Consistent development


Work on the topic of exoskeletons for BEV in our country began a long time ago and has already yielded some remarkable results. Real samples are tested at test sites and in conditions of local conflict. The emergence of new systems with a different architecture and with more capabilities is expected.

Currently, the process of testing the passive type EO-1 exoskeleton is being completed. This product is a set of mechanisms capable of taking on the load and redistributing it to the support platforms, which allows the fighter to carry a heavier load. The passive exoskeleton has no power plant and is easy to operate.

Exoskeletons for combat equipment. Experience of Russia and the USA

The concept of a promising BEV with an exoskeleton, 2018 Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The first experimental EO-1 appeared in 2015, after which the practical development of the design began. In 2017, such products were used in Syria to facilitate the work of operators of the Uran-6 robotic complex. The portable control equipment from this RTK weighs approx. 20 kg, and all this load fell not on the shoulders of a person, but on the details of the exoskeleton.

In parallel, work was underway to create a promising active exoskeleton with built-in drives. In mid-2018, this design was brought to testing, and was also shown at a military-technical exhibition. The ability to carry heavier loads was demonstrated, as well as the use of weapons with a decrease in the load on the fighter.

At the same time, the need for further improvement of systems was noted. First of all, a promising exoskeleton needs a more efficient power source and more efficient drives. All this will increase the mobility and technical characteristics of the system.

Plans for the future


Earlier it was reported that the exoskeleton will have to be part of the promising BEV "Ratnik-3". The start of mass production and the introduction of such equipment are planned for 2025. It is expected that by this time a full-fledged active exoskeleton with a reserve of characteristics for further improvement of the BEV will be created.


New equipment should include special uniforms, protective equipment and advanced weapons. Photo by Rostec

In 2018, a variant of a promising BEV based on a high-performance exoskeleton was demonstrated. The carrying capacity of such a product allows you to include in the equipment various personal protective equipment, communication and control devices, etc. Issues of modular architecture have been worked out: the exoskeleton can be produced in different configurations for certain needs.

In 2020, it is planned to start work on the next generation BEV "Sotnik". It is likely that, based on the results of the initial research work, it will be decided to build this equipment on the basis of a promising exoskeleton. The exact appearance of the "Centurion" and its advantages over the "Warriors" of several versions will become known later.

US programs


The Pentagon and the defense industry took up the subject of exoskeletons much earlier, which made it possible to provide a serious lead over competitors. A number of similar systems with different capabilities and characteristics required for certain tasks were subsequently created. Some of these samples did not go beyond the laboratories, while others managed to reach tests in the army. However, exoskeletons have not yet been accepted into service.


The waist part of the equipment, the elements of the exoskeleton are visible. Photo by Rostec

At different times, passive and active exoskeletons were offered, and the latter were more interested in the army. Products of different architectures were tested - “complete” kits and systems for the lower extremities only. The development of energy supply for active eco-skeletons was going on for a long and difficult time.

The main result of numerous works was a wide experience in the field of exoskeletons and a number of necessary technologies for the further development of this direction, but not ready-made samples in service. However, the development of a full-fledged complex BEV based on an exoskeleton has been going on for several years.

TALOS project


The development of a new BEV started at the beginning of the tenth years by order of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and is carried out as part of the TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) project. This outfit has high requirements, incl. associated with the development of new technologies. Because of this, more than 50 scientific and design organizations have been involved in the work.


Tests of the American exoskeleton XOS2. Photo by Raytheon Technologies Corp.

The first concepts of the TALOS project were presented in 2013, and over the next few years they promised to create full-fledged prototypes. In the future, it was repeatedly reported about the creation of certain components, but the full set of equipment is still not ready for adoption. Completion dates were repeatedly shifted, and previously planned demonstrations were canceled. The future of the project as a whole remains in doubt and SOCOM is not ready to disclose its plans.

The TALOS project provides for the creation of an active exoskeleton with a compact and powerful enough power plant. Due to its own drives, the product should facilitate the movement and transportation of goods - both items of equipment and any other load. It is proposed to supplement the exoskeleton with ballistic protection, which combines low weight and high efficiency. A variety of options for such protection were proposed and worked out, incl. based on fundamentally new components.

"On board" the exoskeleton must be equipped with communication facilities included in the unified control systems of the tactical echelon. Integration of sighting means of personal weapons is possible. It is also required to ensure constant biomedical monitoring of the condition of the fighter and monitoring of external conditions.


The expected appearance of the BEV TALOS. US Army Photos

Thus, to create the BEV TALOS in its desired form, it is necessary to perform a number of rather complex R&D of various kinds, which has already led to a shift in terms. It is possible that the project will be completed, but it will go even further beyond the established time and financial framework. In addition, there is a risk of revising the terms of reference in order to simplify and speed up the work. However, in recent years, at the level of rumors, there has been a possible abandonment of TALOS. Instead of this program, a new one based on the accumulated experience can be launched.

"Warrior" against TALOS


In just a few years, developed countries have managed to obtain very remarkable results in the field of military exoskeletons. Several prototypes with different capabilities have been consistently created, and the development of promising systems for use in full-fledged BEV has already begun. In the middle of this decade, the latest developments in Russia and the United States must reach the troops - and show their capabilities.

It should be noted that at the beginning of the tenth years, Russian industry lagged behind overseas competitors. Later she managed to create new samples of exoskeletons and close the gap. Right now, two countries are working on next-generation systems with fundamentally new capabilities.


TALOS system concept close-up. Photo Army-technology.com

It is curious that Russian engineers and the military are already making plans for a future modification of the Ratnik, and their American colleagues are considering the possibility of abandoning the TALOS program or transforming it into another project. If work on the American BEV is stopped, the Russian project will become a leader in its field.

By now, there is every reason to expect that in the foreseeable future exoskeletons will become widespread in the armies of leading countries and will have a certain impact on their combat capability. However, the questions of the timing, scope and breadth of such distribution remain open. In addition, it is unclear which country will be the first to adopt the exoskeleton and combat equipment based on it. In this situation, Russia has a chance to gain a foothold in leadership positions.
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  1. Mitroha
    Mitroha 26 August 2020 06: 41 New
    +1
    It seems to me that it is very vague, the need for widespread distribution in the troops, which are not at all cheap and not the fact that they are reliable in the conditions of the DB in our or a similar climate. Here in the mountains or in the desert for small groups, rather yes than no.
    1. Olddetractor
      Olddetractor 26 August 2020 07: 45 New
      +7
      I hope that exoskeletons will become widespread as technical means of rehabilitation for disabled people
      1. Insurgent
        Insurgent 26 August 2020 08: 03 New
        +8
        Quote: Olddetractor
        I hope that exoskeletons will become widespread as technical means of rehabilitation for disabled people

        And not just as a means of rehabilitation. For many, this is a return to a practically normal life in society.

        For people, even with irreversible dysfunctions of the musculoskeletal system, the exoskeleton is a means that will literally make it possible to get on their feet, to get away from the wheelchair ...
        1. Viktor Sergeev
          Viktor Sergeev 26 August 2020 08: 26 New
          -6
          Are you laughing? Can you imagine how much it will cost? No budget can handle it. In capitalism, no one will develop a model, spend billions, then release a dozen pieces.
          1. Insurgent
            Insurgent 26 August 2020 08: 33 New
            0
            Quote: Victor Sergeev
            Are you laughing? Can you imagine how much it will cost? No budget can handle it. In capitalism, no one will develop a model, spend billions, then release a dozen pieces.


            Produce and sell!

            And not only for medicine. There are also industrial models of exoskeletons developed and manufactured in the Russian Federation.

            Here is a Russian development (the official website of the developer company): https://exoatlet.ru/

            Sale: https://robroy.ru/ekzoskelet-dlya-invalidov.html


            And with the development of technologies and increased competition in the market for these products, their price will inevitably decrease.
            1. Viktor Sergeev
              Viktor Sergeev 26 August 2020 20: 18 New
              -1
              Firstly, there is no need for a huge number of exoskeletons, and secondly, no matter how you reduce the price, it will still be huge, it is easier to use mechanisms, for example, forklifts. Well, there is no point in talking about disabled people, who will supply them with exoskeets worth 4 million for free? They collect money for operations on TV, the budget is not rubber. Sense of spending a lot of money so that a disabled person can just walk? Well, maybe they will buy 5 pieces a year.
          2. vVvAD
            vVvAD 27 August 2020 19: 33 New
            -1
            You do not understand what we are talking about: a rehabilitating exoskeleton is used to restore normal motor activity, turns an immobile or difficult to move disabled person into a full-fledged person, after which it is used to rehabilitate the next one.
            The second direction: preservation of the limbs using the external joint or other segment of the limb, partially restoring functionality instead of amputation with replacement of a prosthesis. The cost of such a segment will be comparable to a prosthesis, but it will still be OWN limb, possibly even more functional than a prosthesis. Not to mention the pressure and chafing at the joints of the prostheses and phantom pains in those places where everything has long been cut off.
            And, of course, exoskeletons for those who are not able to move normally without them. Yes, it is expensive. But, unlike a wheelchair user, such a person will be able to work and earn money, and be a burden for his family, and this is already a long-term investment: such a disabled person and his family will need fewer other state funds of support in constant financial terms, for example, the family will stop living beyond the poverty line (this time), they will buy more - support their own economy more (these are two), and this disabled person will pay taxes on their income (these are three).
            And it is also a market for domestically produced medical products, quite possibly an export market (these are four). All the same, these products will be produced, not by us, but by other countries. Rather than buying foreign-made products with government money, it is better to leave our taxes in the country and support your economy, and not someone else's. With a large-scale production of such products, the cost of their production will decrease, and the positive effect of their use for the economy will grow both simply due to a decrease in costs, and due to the return to the labor market, including of highly qualified specialists, who are forced to leave their labor activity due to critical its continuation of an occupational injury or accident.
      2. Narak-zempo
        Narak-zempo 26 August 2020 16: 01 New
        -6
        Quote: Olddetractor
        I hope that exoskeletons will become widespread as technical means of rehabilitation for disabled people

        Exoskeletons - to soldiers, and euthanasia for disabled people, if relatives are unable to support.
        1. Olddetractor
          Olddetractor 26 August 2020 16: 03 New
          +2
          I disagree, people should live
          1. Narak-zempo
            Narak-zempo 26 August 2020 16: 24 New
            -6
            Quote: Olddetractor
            I disagree, people should live

            Who do you owe something?
            And why exactly people, and not, say, rats?
            A person has arms-legs-head and freedom to earn his livelihood in any legal way. Lost arms and legs and did not have enough brains to make money for such a case, and besides, nobody needs it? Please, euthanasia is a humane solution. Anything is better than begging or dying under the fence.
            1. vVvAD
              vVvAD 27 August 2020 19: 14 New
              -1
              All of you are good when it is not about you and your loved ones.
              And first try euthanasia on yourself, before offering others wink
        2. Sckepsis
          Sckepsis 26 August 2020 17: 56 New
          10
          Euthanasia is needed for people like you.
    2. vVvAD
      vVvAD 27 August 2020 19: 04 New
      -1
      Give me power armor!

      When compact, efficient and powerful drives will be developed, as well as fuel cells or batteries of sufficient capacity, it is not known, but the development of passive exoskeletons by our developers will allow us to refine the design, make it lighter and more compact, expand the number of degrees of freedom, create more efficient hinges, more efficiently distribute load - in short, everything is correct. By the time the possibilities of creating active exoskeletons appear, the design of domestic ones will become so perfect that it will allow them to use them longer (both the service life and reduce the energy consumption of the system), and to perform them to perform a wider range of tasks, such as: crawling, jumping, and create several of their specialized modifications, for example, a whole complex with communication facilities, booking, health diagnostics, power interfaces for equipment, etc. for special services, heavily armored for sappers and ultralight and cheap for the Airborne Forces, for the marines and scuba divers ..
    3. Svateev
      Svateev 1 September 2020 10: 21 New
      -1
      OK. 20 kg, and all this load fell not on the shoulders of a person, but on the details of the exoskeleton.

      Only when the knees are straight and the exoskeleton is fixed. As soon as a person starts to move and the knee joints open, the entire load is immediately applied to the person's ligaments and muscles.
      TsNIITOCHMASH last year posted a commercial where a man in an exoskeleton was carrying another person "on his hump". The toughs from TSNIITOCHMASH did not even realize that such a carrying is one of the physical training exercises and is performed by any healthy person without any exoskeletons. The girls-nurses in the Second World War carried out the wounded so. Who TSNIITOCHMASH counts on such videos is an unanswered question.
      A week ago, I studied this exoskeleton for Army-2020.
      An employee of TSNIITOCHMASH in it could not even kneel, let alone sit down or lie down. And if it falls, then only another person (without an exoskeleton) can lift it. I ask:
      - And the stairs?
      - Well, of course, it doesn't help, because passive ...
      - Did you test it on the crossroads?
      - Mmm ... Uh-uh ...
      That is, a bookcase has been created that relieves a person only in a standing position. In all other cases, it does not just interfere, but critically reduces mobility.
  2. Viktor Sergeev
    Viktor Sergeev 26 August 2020 08: 23 New
    +4
    There is one significant plus in this equipment for the fighters: no one will throw him on the battlefield, they will be evacuated in any form, like a tank, well, very valuable equipment.
    The maximum of this equipment: special units, well, maybe tens of thousands for the entire army, and that is unlikely, most likely the total will be in the hundreds. What's the point of a foot soldier in equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on a conventional battlefield? Maybe that's why the Americans can refuse.
    Most likely, they will throw forces to create heavy systems, such as a walking armored robot with a man inside, a kind of micro BMP.
    1. Narak-zempo
      Narak-zempo 26 August 2020 16: 07 New
      -1
      Quote: Victor Sergeev
      Most likely they will throw forces to create heavy systems

      "- Let's not talk today about heavy systems, - the Pope suggested. - Let's consider that it is untimely." (Strugatskys, "Inhabited Island")
      laughing
  3. Bastinda
    Bastinda 26 August 2020 08: 44 New
    +2
    Exoskeletons, or their analogs, have been used without power sources for a long time.
    Try to overtake the roller skating man? Or a swimmer with fins? Or a skier in the snow?
    But the environment has changed, and what was an advantage turned into a burden.
    Nobody will cancel the law of conservation of energy! Even amendments to the Constitution will not help here laughing
    Shown "Operator RTK" Uran-6 "with exoskeleton EO-1" a hybrid of a human and a computer desk. Can he run?
    1. Insurgent
      Insurgent 26 August 2020 08: 53 New
      +5
      Quote: Bastinda
      Shown "Operator RTK" Uran-6 "with exoskeleton EO-1" a hybrid of a human and a computer desk. Can he run?

      In this case, run and jump ( yes ), it's not about this suit. Its task is to physically unload a person (operator "Uran-6") as much as possible during long and unhurried work with the RTK.

      After all, it is obvious that the "system unit" behind the operator's back is very weighty.
      1. Hagen
        Hagen 26 August 2020 12: 32 New
        0
        Quote: Insurgent
        After all, it is obvious that the "system unit" behind the operator's back is very weighty.

        Yes, and the number of antennas on this unit obviously creates not a small wave voltage in the area of ​​the operator's head. Considering that the work will take a long time, then the measures to protect the operator from radiation are interesting.
      2. Svateev
        Svateev 1 September 2020 10: 25 New
        0
        Quote: Insurgent
        Its task is to physically unload a person (operator "Uran-6") as much as possible during long and unhurried work with the RTK.

        Let him put the equipment on a pebble. Everything is unloaded. And even he can sit down, and not stick around standing like a gopher.
    2. Ka-52
      Ka-52 26 August 2020 12: 59 New
      +5
      Shown "Operator RTK" Uran-6 "with exoskeleton EO-1" a hybrid of a human and a computer desk. Can he run?

      and how many tons of clover were collected from each laying hen after the threshing of the plow? .... An exoskeleton intended for operator control robotic complex demining ... Where to run in it? Think at least when you write
      1. Bastinda
        Bastinda 26 August 2020 13: 05 New
        -1
        Learn to read?
        I wrote that specialized options have been around for a long time. But universal is not possible without additional energy sources.
        1. BDRM 667
          BDRM 667 26 August 2020 14: 30 New
          +1
          Quote: Bastinda
          specialized options have long been there. But universal is not possible without additional energy sources.

          Eco you swung what To universalism ...

          But even Nature, if you like, the Creator did not create beings on Earth "universal". And this is over millions of years of evolution ...

          After all, even a Man, the Crown of Creation, is not able to feel (for example in water) like a fish ...
          1. Bastinda
            Bastinda 26 August 2020 14: 39 New
            0
            It's not me!
            Currently, the process of testing the passive type EO-1 exoskeleton is being completed. This product is a set of mechanisms capable of taking on the load and redistributing it to the support platforms, which allows the fighter to carry a heavier load. The passive exoskeleton has no power plant and is easy to operate.
          2. psiho117
            psiho117 30 August 2020 01: 42 New
            0
            Quote: BDRM 667
            After all, even a Man, the Crown of Creation, is not able to feel (for example in water) like a fish ...

            Feels quite well - babies swim beautifully and even dive - they do not yet know that they are land wassat
            In general, a person has brains with which he comes up with ways to swim like a fish - and quite successfully.
        2. Soho
          Soho 26 August 2020 18: 37 New
          -1
          Learn to read

          Now I am reading: "Shown" Operator of RTK "Uran-6" with exoskeleton EO-1 "a hybrid of a man and a computer desk. And he can run? "Did you write this or not you? Or did someone else lead your hand? lol
          The same question: why would the Uranus operator run around in an exoskeleton? And you don't need to play around
          1. Bastinda
            Bastinda 26 August 2020 20: 15 New
            0
            We take a wheelchair. We hang plexiglass in the front. And we cling to the Uranus cable. It is convenient for the operator. Security is higher, and there is no need to fence a garden.
            1. Ka-52
              Ka-52 27 August 2020 04: 45 New
              +1
              We take a wheelchair. We hang plexiglass in the front. And we cling to the Uranus cable. It is convenient for the operator. Security is higher, and there is no need to fence a garden.

              we take a person, we remove the brain and it turns out a commentator like you. With the same consistency in judgments. If somewhere it is combed to flood - find another resource.
    3. qQQQ
      qQQQ 26 August 2020 14: 36 New
      0
      Quote: Bastinda
      Can he run?

      When running or walking, the weight is transferred to the supporting leg, while the exoskeleton takes on most of the load, acting like a spring, compresses, and then straightening up removes a significant part of the load from a person, this is a passive option, only more forces are spent on starting the movement. So, this design takes place.
      1. Svateev
        Svateev 1 September 2020 10: 28 New
        0
        Quote: qqqq
        the exoskeleton takes on most of the load, acts like a spring, compresses,

        This is NOT about the TsNIITOCHMASH exoskeleton. There is no "acting like a spring." TSNIITOCHMASH has a bookcase.
        1. qQQQ
          qQQQ 1 September 2020 14: 38 New
          0
          Quote: Svateev
          This is NOT about the TsNIITOCHMASH exoskeleton. There is no "acting like a spring." TSNIITOCHMASH has a bookcase.

          I described the principle, there can be anything that plays the role of a spring. Otherwise, it's all just a frame, but they said it was an exoskeleton. I will not confirm for sure, tk. I have a very good idea of ​​the level of managers and PR.
  4. Sahalinets
    Sahalinets 26 August 2020 11: 08 New
    +3
    Until there is a compact and powerful battery, all this will not go beyond the auxiliary work. Well, hang ammunition on the plane, etc. In the meantime, the energy consumption of the best batteries in terms of weight is about 2% in comparison with gasoline.
  5. Knell wardenheart
    Knell wardenheart 26 August 2020 16: 10 New
    0
    Initially, the Americans were faced with more ambitious and breakthrough horizons within this project - our horizons are more utilitarian and the stages of their achievement are shorter and more concretized than American technological abstraction.
    Although perhaps behind all this there is an understanding that the "cost of a person" in modern warfare is already excessive in relation to the cost of incapacitating this person by technical means.
  6. English tarantas
    English tarantas 26 August 2020 19: 50 New
    +1
    I don't understand the essence of this canoe. First, there is no power source for an active exoskeleton. All sorts of lithium and other batteries are not something that do not have sufficient characteristics, you still need to figure out how to charge them, otherwise a cool unit for huge money will be like this for several hours, and then it will throw everything that it cannot carry away and will become common, modern batteries are heated and God forbid they will be shot. There was a thought about a mini nuclear power plant, but it was too complicated and no less dangerous thing. And if the exoskeleton receives a good source of energy, then it makes little sense, because such a pace will not be realized, due to the physical capabilities of a person. And he will not be needed at all by saboteurs, counter-terrorists and all sorts of scouts and other heroes of the shadow and rear, since he himself is heavy, noisy, gives fierce signatures, and can refuse at any time, and in general they do not need to wear so much. and don't forget about charging.
    So it turns out that a person will not be able to implement an expensive exoskeleton, he will need powerful armor protection, both of the battery and control unit, and of the inhabitant, for any micromanipulations (special operations) it is redundant (besides, many things are done by air strikes), and that's it. it will not be any easier than the fighter himself with ammunition, and it is unlikely to become massive due to the above reasons. So maybe it's easier to make cyborgs right away? I'm serious, when an adequate exoskeleton is ready, then the AI ​​will be normal, and the computer will better cope with those stray things that they want to give a person, all sorts of IR, UV visors, communication both by sound and video, all kinds of radiation, chemistry sensors, reconnaissance equipment, range finders , ballistic calculators, maybe even a coborg will be able to cram a radar. All the same, the firing will be fierce, the conditions of application are not human, it is vulnerable to EMP, but putting a person there is expensive, and it is also from a moral point of view to cook / raise / teach.