Army Times reports that Lockheed Martin partnered with the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center of the US Army. UU earlier this year to identify ways in which technology would work for soldiers. Unlike the full-body combat suit prototypes that we have seen leaving Russia, the ONYX suit resembles the brakes that Forrest Gump had to wear when he was a child, just much cooler. The Army's Tenth Mountain Division will have the honor of turning the new legs at the end of this year during the six-month "development effort" to gauge the fit and flexibility for the type of tasks soldiers must complete .
In the second phase of testing (scheduled for next year), the ONYX exoskeleton will be updated with actuators that are faster and quieter; In the third phase, they will put this technology through the bell to see if it really is suitable for the field. "That's the hardest part of all, the robustness," said Keith Maxwell, senior program engineer for Lockheed Martin's Exoskeletons Technology division. He added that ensuring that the exoskeleton is water resistant will be very important: it will have to be able to function after being used for up to 15 minutes in three feet of water.
If all goes well, we could see soldiers using the robot leg machines as early as 2021.