Watch Raytheon's XOS 2 Perform Its Best Iron Man Impression

By Wesley Fenlon

Soldiers and supply workers could be using exoskeletons within a decade.

The US Special Forces may have BATMAN on their side, but isn’t it about time we got some Iron Man-sponsored military tech onto the battlefield? At least one company thinks so--defense technology supplier Raytheon today unveiled the second version of its XOS exoskeleton, a suit capable of lifting some serious weight and breaking boards like a robotic karate master. The XOS2 attaches somewhat like a backpack, only with arm and leg extensions that significantly augment the wearer’s strength. Though Raytheon timed its announcement of the second-gen XOS with Iron Man 2’s DVD release, James Cameron’s exosuits from Aliens and Avatar would be a more apt comparison.

The XOS2 draws 50% less power than its predecessor, moves more fluidly, and can handle more weight, though Raytheon hasn’t specified the exact bump in strength. While the XOS1 had to be tethered to a power source at all times to run, the XOS2 is efficient enough to operate independently--though perhaps not for too long. Raytheon expects their exoskeletons to roll out to the field within five years in a tethered-only capacity, for lifting rations, armaments and other battlefield supplies. With an end-goal of an exoskeleton using a mere 20% of the XOS1’s power consumption, Raytheon thinks their suits could see real action 3-5 years after they hit the storeroom.