Since about the middle of the nineteenth century, the power of an
infantry squad has made a great leap every twenty to thirty years. The
1860s were mostly single shot muzzle loaders and bulky cannon support.
By the first world war, magazine fed rifles and machines appeared, while
world war two brought in wide spread light automatics and man portable
rockets. By the 1960s, it was guided projectiles for anti-tank and
aircraft use. Beyond that - body armor, smart munitions, personal
Powered Armor was a way to ease the burdens
The United States army operates four main types of Tactical Augmentation exoSkeleton Carapace -TASC units, known far more often by the colloquial "power armor" designation. One of these - the TASC-83 Colin Powell, is a field engineering unit of minimal combat ability. Meanwhile the other three ( TASC-79 Eisenhower, TASC-80 (EVANS/Donovan PA), and SMAC-90 MacArthur) are front-line combat vehicles. These three share share a well known "Rock-Paper-Scissors" relation, and this paper seeks to elaborate on history, developments, and deployments of these systems.
This was made possible by grants and contributions from the following...
The "Mighty Mac" was one of the first specific purpose armors to be created. It was meant to seek and destroy other armored assets - conventional and personal exoskeletons, quite a tall order.
Other PA only needed to protect soldiers against shrapnel and the occasional low caliber bullet. Armor was considered initially a liability, as it could lead to over confidence on the part of the solder, and drastically increased weight, which in turn increased wear on- and complexity of - motive systems. More of the focus was on payload and electronic systems that would allow the soldier to shoot first and farther. This new unit would have to be able to face heavy caliber machine-guns or even light cannon rounds.
Two concepts came forward, nicknamed the assassin and the linebacker. One was a stealth unit - able to evade other units and strike when the time was right. The other could simply rush the enemy lines and fight on even terms. Although those in favor of the prior system argued that stealth had it place in more than just tank hunting, a loud segment pointed out that in open terrain or an ambush situation, hiding an eight-foot tall half-robot suit would be difficult or impossible.
Strangely enough, both sides won. The stealth design would evolve into the EVANS, the other Power Augmentation Unit - MacArthur. Of course, the two units would go on to work well together, but for now, we will focus on the Soldier Mobile Assault Carapace.