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New Device in Testing Stage Would Lighten Army’s Load


By Evan Stewart

Engineers at the Army Research Laboratory revealed a new innovative device at this year’s Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium that will allow some of the physical load of soldiers in the field to be lightened.

This new apparatus called “Third Arm” is a mechanism that is designed to hold the soldier’s weapon while shifting the weight from his arms to his torso, according to reports from Defense News.

The device is an ultralight exoskeleton made of carbon fiber weighing just 4 pounds. The soldier attaches this by way of a tactical vest and attaches to the gun at its rail. It accommodates both left- and right- handed shooters, mounting to either side of the body. This mounting system will hold a weapon up to approximately 20 pounds.

Third Arm’s purpose is to increase the lethality of the soldier while reducing some of the weight the soldier must carry around. It is, however, up to the soldier to stabilize, aim and shoot the weapon.

This system took approximately a year to develop and is now in the testing phase. It will be put under a variety of tests, including live fire exercises to measure marksmanship, muscle activity, accuracy when shooting at a moving target and its ability to shoot on the move, to name a few.

Engineers are working hard to ensure that Third Arm can withstand the rough and unforgiving conditions it will be put through in real-world situations. A more sturdy version of the device is set to be finished within the next year.