Weapon Wednesday – Army’s Third Arm

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Army Sgt. Michael Zamora uses a prototype Third Arm exoskeleton to aim an 18-lb M249 light...
Army Sgt. Michael Zamora uses a prototype Third Arm exoskeleton to aim an 18-lb M249 light machine gun(Credit: US Army/Conrad Johnson)

The US Army isn’t just looking to giving soldiers a hand, but a whole extra arm. At the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is testing a prototype passive support system called Third Arm, which evenly distributes the weight of heavy weapons, allowing soldiers to use them with less fatigue and greater accuracy.

In the 1986 sci-fi classic Aliens, one of the signature props was the fictional M56 Smartgun, which was a dressed up MG42 machine gun stuck on a steadicam mount. This mount, which in reality connects a hand-held cine-camera to the operators body to stabilize it, made for some very cool action scenes and has now apparently inspired a real-life counterpart.

Mechanical engineer Dan Baechle has come up with a more advanced, more articulated, militarized version of the steadicam mount that can take the weight of a weapon off a soldier’s arms. Third Arm is an unpowered, articulated frame made of composite materials that helps to distribute the weapon’s weight while allowing enough range of motion to be practical on the battlefield.

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).