If you're a fan of the movie Aliens, then you probably remember the mechanical third arms that the Space Marines used to help support their giant weapons systems. Last year, the Army tried out a real-life version of the device at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, seeking to help Soldiers shoulder burdens in excess of 100 pounds. Too much unassisted lifting, according to an Army researcher in a 2017 report, could result in Soldiers "getting broken, sometimes in training, before they see a day in combat."
Well, the initial prototype finished its testing and the six Soldiers who tried it gave their feedback. Now, according to an Army Times report, the Army reportedly has designed a new version and is looking for fifteen
suckers volunteers to test it out.
Army Research Lab engineer Dan Baechle demonstrates how to strap on the "Third Arm," a mechanical device designed to improve Soldiers' accuracy and reduce fatigue. (US Army photo)
These "third arms" are generally capable of hoisting an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, which weighs roughly 27 pounds. They are also capable of holding shields that weigh about 20 pounds. The next round of tests will seek to determine how well the third arm handles shooting at moving targets, assisting with recoil mitigation, and shooting while on the move.