Heinlein style powered armor in our lifetimes (The Japanese show us the way)


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Aikibiker
August 23, 2003, 11:43 PM
Japan ready to market "Robot Suit" (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030821/tc_afp/japan_robot_technology_030821084042)

For now it is a medical device, but I wonder how long until the military starts sticking guns on it. I can see it now, soldiers running around the future's battlefields carrying .50BMG machineguns like we carry .22s.

*drifts away with the happy thoughts*

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4v50 Gary
August 24, 2003, 12:00 AM
Aged or physically disabled. Heck! I'll take it now. Less sweat and if a gun can be mounted on it that is aimed by looking at an object, why not?

Parker Dean
August 24, 2003, 12:04 AM
Sounds good on the face of it but I'm betting battery capacity is a significant limit.

AZTOY
August 24, 2003, 12:24 AM
This is the first thing that poped in my head. From GI JOE the Cobra S.N.A.K.E.

[System:
Neutralizer -
Armed
Kloaking
Equipment

http://www.yojoe.com/vehicles/83/snake/snake_iso_title.jpg

Freedspeak
August 24, 2003, 12:47 AM
I wonder what the feedback system in the suit is, positive or negative. The other interesting info they could supply would be about sencor placement.

I have been doing theortical work on this for years based on commercially available equipment. The main problem I have always run into is a compact power supply.

Now if we could get a compact fusion generator! :D

4v50 Gary
August 24, 2003, 12:57 PM
Compact fusion generator? Ohhhh! A meltdown on your very back that doesn't entail cheese dripping over the hamburger.

geekWithA.45
August 24, 2003, 01:11 PM
I wonder if a hybrid using a small gas engine, as in a chainsaw or weed whacker would provide enough power. (too bad about all the folks keeling over indoore because of the C02, though :) )

Aikibiker
August 24, 2003, 01:33 PM
Aztoy, COBRA!!!

Power supply shouldn't be much of a problem if the thing can give you the ability carry several hundred pounds with ease, just strap a midsize car engine to it and the hardest part becomes armoring the fuel supply so it isn't a danger in combat.

JShirley
August 24, 2003, 01:36 PM
Extremely slow (2.5 MPH), and that's just for the legs. I'm thinking maybe 10 years out for a workable mil version.

(If one could get a compact enough power source...rail gun, baby. No point in carting around all that heavy ammo w/ limited utility, when one can penetrate heavy armor!)

John

Skibane
August 24, 2003, 02:19 PM
I wonder if a hybrid using a small gas engine, as in a chainsaw or weed whacker would provide enough power. (too bad about all the folks keeling over indoore because of the C02, though)

Propane-powered internal combustion engines are used indoors all the time – forklifts, floor-scrubbers, etc. Very little CO emissions. Fuel choice is the key.

For military use, perhaps some sort of "binary" fuel could be developed to power the engine – something with 2 separate parts that weren't particularly combustible until they were mixed together. Would keep an errant bullet from turning Our Hero into a roman candle...

CWL
August 24, 2003, 02:22 PM
Compact power sources wouldn't be the long-term problem with these devices/suits.

The problem would be shielding the heat and electronic signatures.

Smart ammo would home in on these clunky beasts.

JShirley
August 24, 2003, 03:14 PM
Yeah, but would the ammo cost more than the suit?

You don't have to "beat" the enemy, just drain his resources...

CWL
August 24, 2003, 03:23 PM
Not really, artillery and air-deployed weapons are already designed to home in on various signatures/emissions/radiations.

Thermal imaging devices are already standard issue for many armies.

Aren't we set to deploy infantry 25mm smart munitions by 2015? Set these with new chipsets similiar to artillery proximity fuses set to detonate at electronic signature of powered armor. $25 per shell.

Moparmike
August 24, 2003, 03:57 PM
How much does a Mr. Fusion weigh?:D You could fuel it with your MRE trash, and whatever beer cans (full or "emptied along the way") you might find...:cool:

MarkScottShow.US
August 24, 2003, 04:40 PM
Well its about time...

The US had bio battlesuites back in the 60's, MIT (CALTech, etc...) had a working RD project (funded), down side why you never seen one is due to power unit required (size of a mid size diesel generator), now with the advent of small, man portable (backpack) diesel gensets you should be seeing these units within the next 3-6 years, maybe not as flashy as "Starship Trooper", but would interesting to see one walk up to a riot line.........

TamThompson
August 24, 2003, 04:44 PM
Please help me to understand something I see in a lot of people's sig lines: what the heck is "Molon Labe!" ?

Skunkabilly
August 24, 2003, 05:15 PM
I still wanna show up at an IDPA match wearing a jetpack.

Moparmike
August 24, 2003, 05:18 PM
Pronounced "Molon Lav ('a' as in 'Stick out your tounge and say ahhhh')"

It is from an old Greek battle where a commander used it. It literally translates to (IIRC): "Come and get them." We generally use it to refer to our guns to the gun-grabbers, and usually mean bullets first.

tex_n_cal
August 24, 2003, 05:35 PM
Dale Brown writes of something similar, albeit more fanciful in his recent books, like Wings of Fire. His heroes now have battle armour made of something he calls "fibersteel", which is light and flexible, but becomes enormously strong when electrified, to the point that it can take heavy machine gun fire and still protect the user.

A little ahead of its time, given that his older books had room-temperature superconductivity mentioned:rolleyes:

TamThompson
August 24, 2003, 06:45 PM
Actually, the dark fantasy novel I'm writing right now is unusual in that it beings at a late medieval/feudal level, but then a guy stumbles onto gunpowder...and things change. Look for "Battlescars of the Matriarchy" in 2006 or 2007, by Tam Thompson.
(Yes, I'm VERY optimistic. You have to be to get published these days!)

:)

50 Shooter
August 24, 2003, 07:47 PM
Instead of using that as a weapons platform, how about this? http://www.steadicam.com/profilm_ultra_cine.htm

Kind of like the set up they used for Aliens 2, you could mount any light machine gun and shoot on the move. I'm sure they could work out a holosight or laser sight that could attach to the soldiers helmet.

benEzra
August 24, 2003, 07:47 PM
For military use, perhaps some sort of "binary" fuel could be developed to power the engine – something with 2 separate parts that weren't particularly combustible until they were mixed together. Would keep an errant bullet from turning Our Hero into a roman candle...
Actually, the military is looking into tiny (coupla pound) turboshafts turning electrical generators, typically burning diesel fuel for logistics reasons (and a given volume of diesel is much more compact than any propane). Diesel's not all that flammable compared to most fuels.

George Hill
August 24, 2003, 08:57 PM
"Excellent"
/Cobra Commander

Marko Kloos
August 24, 2003, 09:20 PM
"...shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young!"

JShirley
August 24, 2003, 09:31 PM
CWL,
Proximity fuses do not steer or guide weapons, just detonate them. Since this would be a ground pounder, "near surface burst" or "proximity" settings would work: but you still have to land the round near the target.

Missiles such as the Javelin might have a hard time hitting something barely larger than a man.

CWL
August 25, 2003, 03:48 AM
JShirley,

Yeah, I know that smart munitions like the ones I'm talking about won't steer themselves, but they WILL detonate in near proximity of enemy powered armor (PA). Say defending infantry with XM-generation weapons get assaulted by powered armor, they can fire at enemy with 25mm munitions set to defeat PA. These will then detonate within 5 meters of enemy PA unit and hopefully defeat them.

Scout units and predator-style drones can also seek and 'lase' these units for effective fire control.

Since infantry usually operates in squad level and larger, artillery and air-delivered munitions can be keyed-in to detonate on proper signature. Arty salvo will take out PA, air munitions like cluster bombs can do the same.

Anything with a heat signature is a danger out in the modern battlefield.

Orthonym
August 25, 2003, 04:09 AM
Think of the trouble people have had designing space suits and diving suits, trying to duplicate the motions of the human in the suit with exoskeletal joints an inch or two outside of him. Seems like the the thinner the suit, the more it would follow the motions of one's own joints, but the thicker the suit, the more room in it for servos and armor.

That aside, if it can be made to work, I want one.:cool:

Edit: spelling

AJ Dual
August 25, 2003, 11:27 AM
The 20-25mm airburst munitions will be fragmentation style, and the heavier armor a powered suit could carry would likely defeat it.

Now if it's something like an oriented self-forging copper penetrator. Whoo boy. Don't know how soon they can fit that into a 25mm package though.

Although this is all moot. There is no likely chance you'll see powered armor in a WWII/Korea style land battle against a standing first-rate milirary opponent ever. The DOD is much more interested in preventing casualty drain like we see right now in our occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Powered armor would be invalulable in preventing political damage and bad press from mine, sniper, and grenade ambushes.

Owen
August 25, 2003, 05:15 PM
An exoskeleton doesn't need to be armored to be militarily useful. Imagine if the suit allowed a soldier to exert several hundred extra pounds of force, just when it was needed....need to get to that second story window, just jump. Why use a rifle grenade, when you can throw a grenade 150m? It gives our troops some serious advantages, without requiring a nonexsistant power source.

Just a thought

Owen

curt
August 25, 2003, 08:24 PM
Power supply shouldn't be much of a problem if the thing can give you the ability carry several hundred pounds with ease, just strap a midsize car engine to it

yeah and put four wheels and a bed on it and you have a pickup truck that can haul more than a few hundred pounds at a considerably faster pace.

I think a powered suit would have much more applicability behind the lines stacking crates pulling engines etc. I wouldn't want to try sneaking up on someone with my servos whining or try to figure out how to get through a fn doorway.

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