Thirty years ago the sci-fi blockbuster film Aliens depicted U.S. Colonial Marines investigating the colony of Hadley’s Hope. The coolest piece of kit in the whole thing? The articulated arm attached to their body armor to help carry their heavy M56 smart guns. Now, in 2017, the U.S. Army is investigating a similar system to ease the burden of machine gunners.
Army News Service reports that the Army Research Laboratory is trying out prototypes of an articulated arm, also attached to a soldier’s body armor, that holds the weapon for the soldier both during combat and at rest. The arm, made of carbon fiber, can be used from the prone position and can attach to either side of a soldier’s ballistic vest.
The arm can hold up to 20 pounds. ARL is currently testing the arm in conjunction with the M4A1 carbine, but wants to eventually test it with the larger and heavier M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) and the M240 machine gun.