Lockheed Martin HULC Exo-Skeleton Prepares to Smash Human Beta Tests

The HULC exo-skeleton, Lockheed Martin's prototype heavy lifter for infantry troops in the field, has its battery and is now ready for human trials. If they're successful, field tests could be close on their heels.

Click to viewA quick primer though, before anything else: HULC, or Human Universal Load Carrier, could be the military's answer for troops who need to carry heavy loads—in this case 200 pounds—in the field of battle.

It's been in R&D for a while, only recently had its battery finalized, and today is preparing to enter the first of a series of serious $1.1 million biomechanical tests that could very well decide if this ever sees the field, or combat, in a few years' time Reports Danger Room:

"Biomechanical testing will measure the energy expended by a soldier when using the HULC," according to a Lockheed statement. "The laboratory testing will also assess how quickly users learn to use the HULC system when carrying various loads and moving at various speeds. The contract includes options for field trials to test the system's utility in operational environments."

So one small step for HULC, and one small step for the program—it could still be years before this admittedly cool device sees service, regardless of the results. [Wired]