Excaliber Powered Assault Armor

The Excaliber Powered Assault Armor System (pronunciation: ɛkˈskælɪbə) is a technologically advanced combat exoskeleton system designed to vastly improve the strength, speed, agility, reflexes and durability of the trained elite Tactical Orbital Defense Troopers and the newly formed Knight supersoldiers. Though the development program is rendered in all capital letters (i.e. Project EXCALIBER), the armor itself is called Excaliber. The suit is named for the sword of King Arthur in British folklore.

Historical Overview

Armor generations

Prototype exoskeletons

MARK I EXOSKELETONS
Initiated in 2427, the Mark I was one of OSI's first experiments with powered exoskeletons. More human-powered defense structures than suits, the Mark I took ten years to develop, but was bulky, unwieldy and needed to be tethered to a power source due to the tremendous amount of energy needed to power it. This caused the system's downfall, as it required a physical connection to a fusion generator which hindered movement. The Mark I prototype exo suit improved the strength and stamina of the wearer and allowed the user to lift two tons (4,000 pounds) and run at 32 km/h (19.88 mph) for extended periods of time. The Mark I contained a cutting-edge onboard computer that could assist the wearer by transmitting tactical and communications information to the standard neural implant issued to a soldier, though the suit did not possess the ability to carry an AI. The armor could also be equipped with motion sensors and infrared scopes, and it could be mounted with a 45mm minigun that fired on self-targeting armatures.
MARK II EXOSKELETONS
The Mark II exoskeleton was similar to the Mark I, but it had a slimmer profile which greatly increased mobility. However, the suit still needed to be tethered to a fusion generator, so despite being the most powerful piece of military hardware of its time, it was still impractical for battlefield deployment. The Mark II included a refractive coating to help disperse heat from explosive attacks and better self-sealing systems in the event of damage while the unit was in vacuum.
MARK III EXOSKELETONS
Introduced in 2562, the Mark III incorporated a wireless power transmitter and receiver so that power could be transmitted directly to it, much like the orbital defense stations used to defend UNF colonies. This design was quickly rejected for two reasons: first, the armor still had a limited operational range as it had to remain within range of a bulky, immobile generator. Second, if the generator was disabled or destroyed, the suit would be disabled, leaving its user trapped inside a useless shell, helpless against enemy attacks.   In the end, all of the first three prototypes had one thing in common: They were impractical on the battlefield, as their range was severely limited by the lack of a mobile power source.

Powered assault armor

Series-2

First generation

Mark IV

Main Article: EXCALIBER Powered Assault Armor/Mark IV

Although earlier attempts at developing high-powered armor produced designs that were impractical for battlefield deployment, the Mark IV Excaliber powered exoskeleton would be the first successful powered armor system that saw deployment onto the battlefield. Developed by Dr. Johan Snider, the Mark IV was a radical redesign of powered exoskeletons making use of technological innovations that did not exist when work on the previous exoskeletons began, such as a miniature fusion generator embedded in later versions of the armor. The Mark IV Excaliber armor was fielded from August 10, 2592 to June 20, 2608.
Mark V

Main Article: EXCALIBER Powered Assault Armor/Mark V

The Excaliber Mark V is the first major upgrade of the system and introduced two revolutionary technologies for battlefield purposes: energy shielding technology, providing the user added protection against heavier weapons, and the ability to link a soldier and an artificial intelligence together to provide the soldier instant intel in the field, along with other functions. In addition to major changes from the Mark IV, hundreds of other technical improvements are incorporated into the Mark V: for example, the fusion packs used to power the suits are half the size of their predecessors. The Mark V was fielded from June 20, 2608 to December 24, 2619.
Mark VI

Main Article: EXCALIBER Powered Assault Armor/Mark VI

The Excaliber Mark VI is the third primary version of the system. It introduces several technical improvements while refining advanced technologies introduced in the previous system. The first improvement made to the system is a faster recharge time on the suits' energy shield system so that the Tactical Orbital Defense Troopers does not have to remain in cover for an extended period of time. The second is improved synchronization between the suit and user, this allows the TODT to jump higher, run faster, and hit harder than a TODT could previously.
Mark VII

Main Article: EXCALIBER Powered Assault Armor/Mark VII

The Mark VII is the fourth major iteration of the Excaliber armor introduced in January 2649. It is lighter than the previous first-six suits, with new features including limited energy shield shaping and a nanotechnology repair suite. Ultimately, the Mark VII was never widely issued as it was deemed too complex and expensive for mass-production, particularly in light of the development of the more versatile GEN2 platform which enabled more economical optimization for the different TODT individuals in service.

Second generation

Series-3

Second Generation

Main Article: EXCALIBER Powered Assault Armor [GEN2]

Generation 2 Excaliber [GEN2] is a program-wide overhaul of the system primarily developed for the Tactical Orbital Defense Troopers, and the new OSI KNIGHT Supersolder Program. Its most notable feature is the radical streamlining of the exoskeleton architecture, with the number of complex components reduced by an order of magnitude in comparison to GEN1 suits. The GEN2's design philosophy is geared toward integrating the vast majority of the armor's vital hardware into the bodysuit, known as a techsuit, enabling more streamlined production and easier implementation of specialized components. However, this sacrifices some of the suit's efficiency, and the performance improvements over GEN1 Excaliber are minimal. The second generation uses a spiral-development model of production, enabling the United Space Command and its corporate partners to iterate on the armor systems much faster and more efficiently than with the first generation. GEN2 is produced by half a dozen manufacturers, both within the military and among private contractors. The GEN2 was fielded from October 1, 2695 to present.
Third generation
EXCALIBER [GEN3] is the planned third generation of Excaliber armor. Existing as of yet at the conceptual stages, the [GEN3] design framework incorporates lessons learned from [GEN2] line of Excaliber, while also seeking to restore some of the favorable characteristics of the [GEN1] line. The EXCALIBER [GEN1] Mark VII is being used as the testbed for the [GEN3] improvements. [GEN3] varieties are intended to be used by the newly formed KNIGHT supersoldiers Program. One key advantage the [GEN3] will have over its predecessors, is its portable fusion generator, which will have an unlimited power supply without the need of a recharging station.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

Helmet

The standard helmet worn by Tactical Orbital Defense Troopers, like the MCJ859 helmet, the helmet is enclosed and can provide oxygen for up to forty minutes; unlike the M47C helmet, however, the EA-2 helmet features a distinct, more rounded visor. This version is made of ogrium and is coated with a heat-dispersing material; the inside of the helmet is lined with padding to provide comfort for the user. The visor is capable of polarizing, fully obscuring the user's face, or depolarizing, becoming nearly transparent, at the user's whim; the visor is generally colored silver-blue, though infrequently red, dark orange, silver, black, and golden polarization are also possible.
 
The TODT helmet is seemingly derived from the standard-issue helmet. The modern version of the helmet was adapted for use with EXCALIBER; the technological advancements made, such as DTDs, were incorporated back into the TODT helmet's regular production. It is made of ogrium and is coated with a heat-resistant material to help disperse heat - the inside is lined with black padding to provide comfort when the user is wearing it. The helmet's faceplate is made of a strong, glass-like material with the ability to polarize. When polarized, the helmet's faceplate has a bluish silver color and obscures the wearer's face completely. There is also an up-armored variant of the standard helmet designed for close-quarters combat, designated the TODT-HS Combat Helmet.
 
The helmet provides excellent protection against small-arms fire and small explosive attacks. The helmet is also essential in providing an TODT the ability to perform EVA and also provides a heads-up display (HUD), giving the wearer basic information including a targeting reticule, weapon information, ammo capacity, and basic health readout. The newest version of the helmet integrates with the user's standard neural interface to provide more tactical data to the HUD. Helmet-integrated neural interfaces is another piece of technology that has seen widespread adoption from Project: EXCALIBER. Along with this state-of-the-art equipment, the helmet is also equipped with its own thermal imaging and motion sensors. There are also several external optical modules that can be attached to the helmet, including the TODT-CNM used by some squad leaders or an optical/integration module which enhances smart-linking capabilities and communication systems.

TODT BIOS

The TODT BIOS is firmware, designed to be the first code run by the TODT powered armor when activated. The initial function of the BIOS is to identify, test, and initialize system devices such as the heads-up display, AISR and other hardware. The BIOS handles most of the armors software functions when initiated. Updates to the BIOS allow newer hardware to be supported and function. BIOS versions can be viewed though the TODT Powered armors magnification system when no weapon is being held or no zoom-supported weapon is being held.

AISR

The Artificial Intelligence System, Reconnaissance (AISR) is issued with the TODT helmet. The AISR proprietary data management suite enables a user to link into UNF government and military infrastructure systems at the local, national, and global levels - however actual access level is administered on a need/rating basis. This allows the user to store and review mission content up to 610GB combined, the system also provides street level navigational data, and receive secure real-time mission data. In addition, every current issue helmet TODT BIOS A46.758624B.09 or later is equipped with low-light vision enhancement, which outlines hostile units in red, friendlies in green, weapons in blue, and objects of interest in yellow.

Portable Reactor

The portable reactor used to power the EA-2, unlike earlier models, is rechargeable via. a charging station and can hold a charge for up to 78 hours (34 hours if in heavy combat). The reactor is also detachable for a quick switch if a recharging station is too far away.

Body suit

The body suit is composed of several different layers and materials. The inner layer of the black-gray undersuit is made of Poslaydian to aid in protecting the wearer from small arms fire. The inner layer contains a heating and cooling system which regulates temperatures to keep the user warm or cool depending on the weather conditions - the heating and cooling system can also match infrared signatures of the current weather as well to allow an TODT to go undetected in hostile locations. The outer layer of the undersuit is coated with a heat-resistant material to aid in reducing temperatures experienced during orbital drop. The body suit also doubles as a pressure suit to allow an TODT to perform extra-vehicular activity. The EA-2 body suit comes in two variants, one made for men and another made for women.

Armor Body

As with the helmet, the body is composed of ogrium and metallic materials. It covers the body from the bottom of the clavicle to the bottom of the feet. Some body armor feature an armored collar that protects the wearer's neck, complementing the chest plate's coverage. A pair of narrow, low-profile shoulder plates are featured, though some TODTs, such as snipers or combat specialists, may opt for an alternate model or none at all. The hands and forearms are well protected with ogrium-ceramic guards.

Significance

The significance of the Excaliber Powered Assault Armor is huge, and it goes beyond the simple purpose of protection and mobility: the mere sight of them bolsters morale, inspires soldiers. The suits are the most broadly recognized part of the USC Armed Forces.

Repair and Maintenance

Modern Excaliber Powered Assault Armor systems generally requires bi-weekly maintenance to keep all the electrical and computer systems working. As for damage repair, because of the high production cost of the armor itself, most Excaliber Powered Assault Armors can only suffer from minor damage before the whole suit would need to be scraped.
Weight
Varies
Dimensions
varies
Raw materials & Components
The Excaliber Powered Assault Armor system is comprised of several different components and layers that make the suit what it is, while technology from other projects across the military have been incorporated into the suit, TODT equipment still has proprietary technology that has not been adopted into other equipment for the military.
Related Materials

Comments

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15 May, 2021 22:43

Nice article. It is nice how you explained the entire history of the power armors and how it developed over time. One thing you could add is perhaps link the terms like the TODT not only in the sidebar but in the main text as well or add some quick tooltips to make it easier to get to know the terms :)

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15 May, 2021 23:05

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into it.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
21 May, 2021 21:20

Great article! I like how you've presented the article with the different generation of the armours and the different technological upgrades that went with them. " The HUD, which can be controlled through blinks and eye movements" oh this is interesting! Must be tricky to learn how to control it at first, and you better not get distracted XD   Since you mentioned the visor of the helmet being able to be polarised and change colour, I'm wondering what's the utility of that. Is it just for the aesthetic and a way to differentiate different group or is there a technical utility?   I'm wondering how easy the armours are to repair once something is broken. With how integrating everything is with the armour, I'm guessing a lot of it will need to be replace completely once damaged. This would be adding even more to the cost. Unless you have a special system to allow to easily exchange component parts? Still, it must be hell to recalibrate all the electronic afterwards…

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28 May, 2021 01:09

Interesting article! I like the detail in each of the different mark versions of the armor, down to even the dates they were used from and until. I also find all of the mechanics within the suit quite cool, particularly I find the AISR to be very fascinating. It seems quite useful to be integrated into the suit. I can see from all the things this armor can do why it boosts morale.

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