Power Armor?


chuck731

Banned Idiot
Yes, I think a 1000 kg suit of walking armor would have to be almost completely autonomous, ie the human inside only gives general directions, all the complex motor skills needed to actually implement the direction, such as sense of balance, sequencing the motor actions, calibration of actuation force, etc, etc that normal human would do reflexively would now have to be supplied by the suit, not the human. At this point one must wonder exactly how much value is there in actually placing the human in the suit? Would it be simpler and cheaper to just let the human remotely control a walking drone that does the same thing.

The walking drone drone can have all the same capabilities, and more, at reduced weight compared to a man in a powered suite, because it doesn't have enclose and protect a big delicate sack of mostly water on its inside.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
I don't see it. Not in the sense that I think you're meaning. A armored platform worn as a suit or armor may be cool for comic books, SciFi writers and manga but its not practical for reality.
as stated the first problem is protection, the more armor the heavier and that leads to mobility, then comes power.
General infantry of the future need to be able to operate in any number of environment types. Jungle, desert, arctic, urban, suburban mountainous sometimes even amphibious. They need to be able to move though these areas use the terrain to there advantage. Each terrain type has its own unique challenges. In Jungle its moisture, close quarters and uneven topography, in Desert its open, sparse, with sand, and either extreme heat or harsh cold.. In arctic its low traction, harsh winds, variable cover and cold. In urban its close to open Quarters, multi leveled with sewers below and roof tops above. You have lots of cover and lots of choke points, in suburban ranges open up its multi leveled with breaks in of alternative terrain types. In mountainous you have range open range broke by occasional caves and crevasses low atmospheric pressure, hard rock and unpredictable routes of not just walking but climbing, sometimes rapid changes in climate. In amphibious you have corrosive salt water, rapid changes from ground to pier to water, possibilities being submerged as well as swimming.
They need protection but lets be realistic about this. Tank guns are out. Your not going to be defended from anything like a 125mm or 105 mm or even a WW2 era German 88mm the weight and size of the armor needed would demand something right out of Japanese Manga. Modern technology has come a long way but we just can't do it realistically. It would be to big for urban fights to heavy for easy transportation and to power hungry.
even IFV rounds are beyond reality. so we end up at small arms. And still issues the protection needed to stop a 12.7mm BMG would again make it to heavy for urban mobility and to light to live long in open battle. One might be able to build a armored suit against it but it would be heavy, limiting its ability to be employed in some terrain types it would be power hungry to meaning it might only be able to be operated for a short period. As the power supply and stress placed on the wearer is factored in Additionally protection is always going to be uneven, the human body moves in certain ways and that means there have to be openings where the armor is not going to be. Some of these are going to be even susceptible to pistol rounds.
as we move down we hit 7.62 but at this point something happens, its less a new platform and more a evolution. Its already in the works. Powered exoskeletons like Raytheon's Sarcos, Revision technologies Prowler , Lockheed martin's HULC these external powered exoskeletons meant to be mated to body armor and equipment that offer protection against .30 caliber class threats. The armor used to defeat such being developed as helmets like the ECH and upgraded plate ballistic armor with non-Newtonian materials to dissipate some of the kinetic energy.
is the protection even? Not yet, but then it could never really be. Movement demands openings and up armoring a whole human for extended combat is still limited.

here is my final thoughts. In the 7.62mm protection level your powered armor is almost ready. Before the decade is out expect it to hit the battlefield. Not a all in one but in two parts as enhanced body armor is mated to a augmentation harness worn by soldiers.
the 12.7mm class... I suspect there maybe attempts, and limited success but I more fear it as the impracticality but the limited feasibility may push it to become accepted by the people we really do not want to have it. A kind of walking kill dozer, imagine the first Ironman suit from the movie. Powered by a small car's engine operational for a few hours loaded up with PKs RPGs maybe a chain saw and explosives. Imagine it used as the next generation of terrorists attack a armored suicide rampage built in some garage from junk by someone with a simple robotics engineering degree a chip on his shoulder and a oath to Jihad. Released in a highly populated area piloted by a suicidal maniac told that his act would grant him a place in paradise with 70 virgins.
 

AssassinsMace

Brigadier
This is the same discussion a while ago if mechs were practical for combat versus a tank. Basically it comes down to speed. If it isn't mobile enough, it's pointless in combat. Separate yourselves from movie fantasy because it always portrays these things as having different technology thus their advantage. But it's not exclusive for power armor or mechs. What armor you can put on a mech you can put on a tank. What weapons you put on mech you can put on a tank. A tank will move faster than a mech because whatever powers a mech to move, that power will make a tank move faster since it's on wheels/tracks which takes less energy to move than something walking on legs. Same logic applies with power armor. Yeah a foot soldier wouldn't be about to carry a load like a power armor would but chances are the power armor isn't going to be strong enough to stop a portable missile or rocket or maybe even a grenade launcher or a maybe even a .50 caliber armor piercing sniper rifle. It's certainly not going to be protected from a tank. It's the law of averages at work. You maybe able to put a thick enough armor to protect power armor from the before-mentioned but then it will get heavy and move slower. Basically this is a case where simpler is better.

They're already toying with power suits like in Aliens for industrial purposes because that's what their most practical for.
 
Last edited:

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Yes, I think a 1000 kg suit of walking armor would have to be almost completely autonomous, ie the human inside only gives general directions, all the complex motor skills needed to actually implement the direction, such as sense of balance, sequencing the motor actions, calibration of actuation force, etc, etc that normal human would do reflexively would now have to be supplied by the suit, not the human. At this point one must wonder exactly how much value is there in actually placing the human in the suit? Would it be simpler and cheaper to just let the human remotely control a walking drone that does the same thing.

The walking drone drone can have all the same capabilities, and more, at reduced weight compared to a man in a powered suite, because it doesn't have enclose and protect a big delicate sack of mostly water on its inside.
and if we follow this farther why make it humanoid? If your going to make a armored Droid battle platform the human from is really inefficient. If I was building such I would look more to a arachnid or even a dinosaur. A scorpion like platform with pincer manipulators and weapons mounted in a stinger tail it might have four or six legs that have the option of moving either as legs or as using tracks or wheels built in. It could move across a wider range of terrain pack more fire power and be lower to the ground then a biped allowing a smaller profile for scouting and higher speeds. Still want a Biped? Imagine being a insurgent Islamist who pokes his head out from cover only to see what looks like T-rex looking back a armed bipedal platform shaped like the tyrant king heck the shark mouth paints it's self.
 

solarz

Brigadier
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
It could, but why use them when you could do it with drones? Drones can locate heavy enemy activities and fire missiles at them.
I don't see it. Not in the sense that I think you're meaning. A armored platform worn as a suit or armor may be cool for comic books, SciFi writers and manga but its not practical for reality.
as stated the first problem is protection, the more armor the heavier and that leads to mobility, then comes power.
General infantry of the future need to be able to operate in any number of environment types. Jungle, desert, arctic, urban, suburban mountainous sometimes even amphibious. They need to be able to move though these areas use the terrain to there advantage. Each terrain type has its own unique challenges.
Good points all, and this made me think of something. What if the battlefield is located on another planet, with an environment hostile to human life?

If the soldiers would already need an environment suit, wouldn't it make sense to reinforce that with armor? And if the armor is too heavy, a power source would be needed to operate it. That could be a legitimate evolution of power armor.

If we follow that line of thought, then power armor could also come in handy in boarding spaceships. If spaceships are horrendously expensive, it might make more sense to capture them rather than destroy them. However, how do you board a ship when the captain can easily vent the compartment where your men are? Again, an autonomous life-support system would be needed.

Of course, this is going into the realm of sci-fi now.
 

solarz

Brigadier
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
Imagine being a insurgent Islamist who pokes his head out from cover only to see what looks like T-rex looking back a armed bipedal platform shaped like the tyrant king heck the shark mouth paints it's self.
LOL

"Grimlock smash!"
 

chuck731

Banned Idiot
This is the same discussion a while ago if mechs were practical for combat versus a tank. Basically it comes down to speed. If it isn't mobile enough, it's pointless in combat. Separate yourselves from movie fantasy because it always portrays these things as having different technology thus their advantage. But it's not exclusive for power armor or mechs. What armor you can put on a mech you can put on a tank. What weapons you put on mech you can put on a tank. A tank will move faster than a mech because whatever powers a mech to move, that power will make a tank move faster since it's on wheels/tracks which takes less energy to move than something walking on legs. Same logic applies with power armor. Yeah a foot soldier wouldn't be about to carry a load like a power armor would but chances are the power armor isn't going to be strong enough to stop a portable missile or rocket or maybe even a grenade launcher or a maybe even a .50 caliber armor piercing sniper rifle. It's certainly not going to be protected from a tank. It's the law of averages at work. You maybe able to put a thick enough armor to protect power armor from the before-mentioned but then it will get heavy and move slower. Basically this is a case where simpler is better.

They're already toying with power suits like in Aliens for industrial purposes because that's what their most practical for.

If load carrying is what you are after, it would probably be better to have an independent and semi-autonomous legged load or weapon carrying drone that walks or runs in the vicinity of the infantry than to put a infantry man inside the drone.

The shape of a human is really not very ideal for efficient location and battlefield concealment. Humans shape can't move and conceal very well at the same time. A drone without a man inside would be free to adopt much better shapes for its role. It could for example be shaped like a millipede, or fast walking insect, low and stable and fast moving, and can hug the ground without lossing much speed.
 
Last edited:

AssassinsMace

Brigadier
If load carrying is what you are after, it would probably be better to have an independent and semi-autonomous legged load or weapon carrying drone that walks or runs in the vicinity of the infantry than to put a infantry man inside the drone.
Well that's what happened in the last thread I mentioned. People started blurring the lines between robots and mechs. Two totally different things. If your aim is solely the safety of the operator, yeah a robot is more practical. But everything else...
 

no_name

Major
I think the concept would be more useful for law enforcement units that have to storm buildings or face a complex tight environments or responding to terrorism.

That supermarket terrorist attack in africa would be one situation where such armour may be useful.

Basically used for: 1) small squad force, not convenient to equip large number of people
2) Relatively low probability of use, the everyday wear and tear would drive up maintenance complexity.
3) Relatively short usage time. We're talking about something maybe less than say 48 hrs.
4) Be used for operations with goals well defined. i.e. not just patroling or idling.

If you made the armour heavy, then you may have to consider then environments the wearer have to operating in (wet, muddy, lose ground, whether building structure can bear the weight etc.)

Base defense will be another usage. They could sleep in their suits near stand by. And what will motivate more to protect the base which provides the ammo, parts, and power for your suit.
 
Last edited:

solarz

Brigadier
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
Well that's what happened in the last thread I mentioned. People started blurring the lines between robots and mechs. Two totally different things. If your aim is solely the safety of the operator, yeah a robot is more practical. But everything else...
I feel like I have to point out that the drone vs crew/operator argument can be applied to anything. Why have pilots sit in a plane enduring high Gs and risking his life when he can be sitting safely behind a monitor with a playstation controller? Why have a tank crew when you can just have tank drones? Etc.

Personally, I think "Robot Wars" are a longer way off than "Power Armor" for a variety of reasons. Of course, a Terminator would be more effective than a Spartan, but I think the Spartan is more achievable in practice (minus the energy shield).
 

Top