Ground troops have always carried a lot of heavy gear, and it’s only getting worse.
New electronics, communications gear, an endless supply of batteries, as well as weapons, ammunition and food can put more than 120 pounds on the back of an infantry soldier.
While packs have come a long way since the World War I haversacks, the active duty soldier carries so much weight, so often, that he often develops what Dutch DeGay, equipment specialist at the Army’s Soldier System centre, calls “the infantryman lean;” the effect of an off-duty soldier leaning forward when he walks even though he carries no pack at all.
In response to the infantryman’s woes, DARPA has conjured up a Legged Squad Support System to help ease the burden. Created under DARPA’s Big Dog Technology and called the LS3 (one commenter noted that saying it aloud sounded a bit like Lassie), the machine can carry up to 400 pounds of gear, over 20 miles in the course of a full day. (via the guys at defence Tech.)
They’ve been working on the concept for several years, but this newest edition looks to be a bit more nimble and is ready to receive voice command programming. So the next video they release should have the LS3’s human companions instructing it to “sit,” “stop,” or “come here.”
The beast will now enter its final 18-month development cycle, which will conclude with Army and Marine field trials.
Check out the video immediately below and the huge pictures below that. Click on the bolt in the player to bring the video to 720 HD.
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