The Army Wants Soldiers to Carry Guns the Way They Do in the Movie ‘Alien’

As long as there have been wars, soldiers have struggled under the weight of their weapons and gear. In modern times, the beefy soldiers have been relegated to the duty of carrying the heavy machine guns. Now, the Army is looking to science-fiction for the solution. Their latest project may look a lot like the guns from the movie Alien.

The new device is even being dubbed The ‘Alien Movie Arm’. “The Army Research Lab,” Popular Mechanics writes, “located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is working on a waist-mounted, articulated arm that can carry a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The device consists of an articulated arm connected to a wearable harness, with a total weight of 3.5 pounds.”

“The device can carry items up to 27 pounds, the weight of a loaded SAW, or 20-pound defensive shield to protect the holder from gunfire.”

The articulated arm is reminiscent of the fictional M56 Smart Guns carried by a U.S. Colonial Marines in Alien. The Marine, who is sent to the colony of Hadley’s Hope on Acheron LV-426. Alien is set in 2179.

The new harness mount may redistribute some of the weight. It would likely stabilize the gun, too, mitigating the forces of recoil.

“According to ARL, engineers started brainstorming in 2015 looking to increase the lethality of dismounted soldiers. A prototype was completed in 2016. The arm is meant to reduce muscle fatigue and create a stable firing platform for heavy, high recoil weapons.”

This system, though, won’t take away any weight. Even if some components are built from carbon fiber, the individual soldier will still have to carry the rifle and ammunition.

ARL mechanical engineer Dan Baechle wrote U.S. Army web site, “We found that it reduced the fatigue and reduced the muscle activation for some Soldiers.”

Unlike the Alien gun, which is wrapped around the waist, the new guns mount more like a backpack. The next steps will focus on how to fit the devices to soliders with varying frame sizes and how to perfect aiming techniques.