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viability of real power armor?
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Old 11 Apr 2010, 23:45   #1 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default viability of real power armor?

So what do you guy think about real power armor? is it close to a reality these days? will it be tactically practical when it comes out?

Myself i say it's within ten years, particularily because I'll probably be working on it, and that's the long projection on how long I think it'll take me.

I still think it'll be less tactically practical then everyone thinks. Small Rapid insertion shock troops. Nothing real "hold this ground" as they'll have limited mobility within buildings and with current armors could be easily stopped with a 20mm which can be found on almost any vehicle.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 00:59   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

It's real, it's viable, it's allready in testing phases. I met a guy who claimed he was one of the testers. Said the armor was stuffy and hot.

I've also seen the development videos on the discovery channel, and read about the armor online.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 02:21   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

Its been used for heavy lifting so far, I'm not sure on open combat use so far.

As noted you start having to implement other things(air conditioning) into it once it gets to a certain point. On an open field... useless, tank/anti tank weapon will tear it to pieces.

But think... what were marines and terminators 'designed' for? Close quarters ship combat. That is where it would excel if you could keep it agile enough. Places where an anti-tank weapon is not likely. They would also be great for bomb disposal because you could take current bomb disposal suits to a new 'stronger' level if they were mechanically powered. They would have uses but I don't see them marching in the average battlefield. Clearing buildings, bombs, etc. they would be more useful.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 03:04   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

It would be an awesome terror tool. An average man, or say insurgent, is going to be terrified of someone in a suit like this. If its quiet, relatively small, and doesn't impede visibility or movement I think what 4 men could do, 1 could. This means a lot of things:

Less casualties, this is a HUGE psychological benefit on both the forces on the ground, and the support back home. Warfare isn't always about killing the other guy, its also about getting him to quit fighting.

Concentrated training, instead of having the training hours distributed over a large amount of people, its distributed amongst a few less people. As long as you have the same coverage as the more numerous force, its a way better deal. You KNOW who is out there better, and you have trained them better than your non-power armor enemy. We only have so many resources to train people, and this really concentrates those efforts.

Endurance, These guys can go as long as their batteries are good; which I hear is still a problem. A man who can cross country run in one of those things is got a good chance I think in a lot of modern battlefields.

As far as weapons go, you are removing a lot of small arms fire which means non-professional forces are going to have a seriously limited supply of weapons to adequately deal with this threat. It makes war more expensive, I guess you'll have to decide if that's a good thing or not.

To conclude: read Heinlien's Starship Troopers, but do not WATCH that bloody movie by the same name, its a butchery I promise.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 05:30   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

A book that is pretty interesting about power armored warfare is Armor by John Steakley.
It goes through a few different things about the armor like its power supply, weight, what happens when the person inside gets hurt or in one fairly horrible part he is trying to run from a bunch of enemies while his suits batteries are running down and it stops working right and pretty much starts twisting his limbs wrong and grinding off his skin.

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Old 12 Apr 2010, 05:48   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

The issue of cost also has to be addressed. The research and development costs, to say nothing of production, would be astronomical. The costs are also not one-off, as repairs and maintenance need to be taken into account. Also the fact that constant RnD will have to be undertaken so as to keep the suits above countermeasures.
Therefore realistically, very few nations will be able to afford to develop and implement this technology.

I also feel that the cost is often not justified. We have seen in Iraq how complex and expensive technology can be defeated by simple IED's. How million dollar smart bombs have failed to dislodge these terrorists. Lets say these suits cost a million a unit (taking into the cost all RnD costs), and all it takes to destroy it is a land mine or somesuch, where is the military value?

Even in close quarters, indoor, fighting. How would this suit fare against flamethrowers for example? Bundles of grenades? RPG's? High powered automatic weapons? Remember these suits arent made of "adamantium" or some similar ore. Not to mention that if these suits have a battery pack, its a rather obvious weak spot.

I think that the technology we have now doesnt justify the use of these suits. The reason Power Armour is so good is one the material it is made of is near indestructible, and the men manning it themselves are gods among men. Part of power armours value is the connections it forms with the person, and the symbiotic relationship man and suit form.

Im not saying they have no value, but that with current technology, I dont see them being more useful than a normal soldier. Does the added protection outweigh the enourmous costs and obvious weaknesses of the current suits? No I dont believe so. Give it 20 or 30 years maybe, who can tell with the current level of technological progress.

A point I forgot to mention is that if the suits do not mimic human behavior to the extent to allow sufficient agility and dexterity it leaves the wearer at grave risk from close combat assailant. You mentioned their use in close combat... Whats to stop an agile little assailant sprinting up and sticking a knife between some joint while the suit wearer is blundering around.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 06:25   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

Armor development has been around for a very long time. But Iron is right, it wouldn't be an "army wide" thing, it's a specialist thing. People needed to perform a specific task in an area where alot of fire could be expected, but not heavy support. Like inside buildings, urban warfare, and possibly even jungle scenarios.

The armor in the testing phase is actually pretty rugged.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 07:55   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

I think the armour would really need some advanced gadgets for it to work well, advanced optics displayed on a HUD for the pilot, since it'll be awkward trying to turn around/glance over your shoulder in that stuff, and you'd need a suitably BFG to tote around.

And the people in the armour need to periodically say "You wanna piece of me, boy?"
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 09:55   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

While taking stims, with medics and firebats always surrounding them.
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 10:11   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: viability of real power armor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HijiriOni
While taking stims, with medics and firebats always surrounding them.
:shifty: Starcraft...

[hr]

I have to agree with Perhapsnot in some respects, that the armour would not be cost effective with todays level of technology. The cost to create and maintain and incredibly advanced piece of equipment that has to maintain combat efficient at all time (i.e. has to be easily repairable in the field) would be huge. In order to maintain this the suit would have to be very, very tough and pretty much flawless as one failure in the motors in the arms or legs would effectively stop the suit from moving.

However I can see the benefits of investing in such technology as in the future (I do not mean thousands of years, mere decades) these suits could be used in civilians activities as well as in the logistics corp. It's the same with a lot of new inventions, at first they are very bulky and expensive but over time and with extra money they become more efficient and less expensive, look a HDTV as an example.

However, at the moment I really don't see them being used in the field until they are pretty much watertight (in every possible meaning) and with our level of technology, that is not going to occur cheap enough for them to see combat.
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