AMP Suit

The Amplified Mobility Platform (or “AMP” Suit) is a distant descendant of the first military exoskeletons used on Earth in the mid 21st century. It was improved during military service in a myriad of combat theaters-- from arctic to jungle to desert-- over the decades. Sealed and pressurized models for toxic environments were developed as well. The suit is used extensively on the Moon and Mars colonies (where they are powered by fuel cells and/or monopropellant ceramic turbines). Its well-tested capabilities have proved invaluable in the deadly environment of Pandora. (Read more)
The human-operated walking machine magnifies the strength and mobility of a soldier or civilian worker while providing protection from military and environmental threats. Unlike fanciful designs in which weapons were integrated into limbs, the AMP suit is a multi-purpose machine, able to duplicate all functions of the infantry soldier. Since soldiers spend much of their time loading and unloading, and performing other tasks besides operating weapons, it was determined that the AMP suit needed the same functionality as a human: two legs, two arms, and highly dexterous hands. This allows not only a wide range of functions, but allows the suit to operate a variety of weapons systems.

The servo-actuated limbs instantly respond to the driver's hand and leg movements inside the sealed cab, greatly magnifying the driver's strength.

The operator’s arms move servo armatures and the suit’s arms follow in perfect synchronization. Because of limited space inside the cockpit, the servo armatures move in a 1:2 ratio relative to the suit’s arms. It requires many hours of training for an AMP suit driver to become agile and dexterous, with the biggest difficulty being this scaled ratio of movement. The legs are actuated by foot-pedals which amplify on an even larger ratio. In fact, the leg sensors work slightly differently than the arms. Due to the confining spatial envelope around the feet and legs of the operator, the pedals cannot move in long strides, even on a scaled relationship. Instead, they sense the force and direction of the input and the onboard computer triggers a corresponding programmed movement of the legs. So the operator creates pressure and direction “cues” which trigger leg movements. The suit executes the “intention” of the pilot, calculating terrain factors and momentum to perform balanced movement.

The arms on the other hand, operate in a directly scaled relationship to the operator’s arms, which allows better spatial positioning of the hands. The fingers and thumb are in direct 1:1 ratio. The servo armature has force feedback, and resists the movement of the operator’s arms when the suit’s limbs meet an obstacle. The operator can “feel” what the suit is doing. It is said that the suit can be operated in full darkness, by a skilled driver, by “feel” alone.

Using the suit, a driver is able to punch through a tree trunk, lift a half ton cargo crate, or rapidly build prefab units without a construction crew. Its cannon obliterates anything in its targeting sights with a rain of armor-piercing rounds, at a 250 round per minute cyclic rate of fire.

Mission Profile and Specifications
The AMP Suit is an agile, powerful all-terrain ground combat unit. With its firepower, it can defeat most opponents and cut a swathe through difficult landscape and strong enemy positions. The suit, which is made of composites and ceramics, is lightweight for its size, and operates well in high EMF conditions.

The suit is effective against swarms of stinging, aggressive insects on Pandora. Its enclosed cab and “Built-In Breathing System” (BIBS) also allows RDA personnel to perform civilian and military duties in the toxic atmosphere of Pandora and other off-Earth locations. The cockpit is run at a 0.3 psi overpressure, to prevent leak-in of toxic gases. There is an emergency canopy ejection system, in case a driver is trapped in a burning AMP suit.

Although a driver can learn to adequately manipulate the unit in combat conditions with less than two months of training, it takes months longer to master such actions as fall recovery from face-up supine position (the “turtle” problem.)

However, with the solid state gyro sensors and the DBS (Dynamic Balance System) very few AMP suits topple. Its dynamic balancing system automatically compensates for shifts in the suit’s center of gravity whether standing, walking, or lifting heavy loads. The suit instantly adjusts to radical shifts in body movements on uneven terrain; it is very difficult to trip and it would take a direct hit from a missile (or a thanator) to knock one over.

The force feedback in the arm and hand servo armatures is both powerful and sensitive. It can create pressure against the operator which stops his hand in mid air if the suit’s arm encounters an obstacle it cannot move. The pressure on the fingertips is proportional to the pressure exerted by the suit’s fingers. An experienced driver can pick up an egg without breaking it.

If the driver has been injured or killed, the AMP Suit has “walk-back” capability of up to the range of its onboard fuel and reserve fuel-cells. This feature was designed to protect the significant capital investment in each suit. This function can be triggered by the driver, or from SecOps headquarters at Hell’s Gate, if the driver’s biotelemetry indicate unconsciousness or death. Only SecOps AMP suits are allowed beyond the perimeter at Hell’s Gate or at the mine complex. Suits operated by non-SecOps base or mine personnel are not equipped with a weapons system interface, nor do they have rack-space for ammo canisters.

The unit's torso features an impact-resistant glass-polymer laminate canopy. The lower legs and bottom of the feet are reinforced to protect against shrapnel and mines.

The power source is a 6849-RLF gas turbine engine. The ceramic miniturbine is a standard power supply for all military systems and is highly robust in environments of snow, sand, dust, and mud. The suit can operate at medium power for up to eight hours on a full fuel load. A high energy-density fuel cell provides a back-up energy source for up to two hours of use.

The controls for operating the system are inside the sealed cab. The turbine runs a servo-motor system that moves the limbs by magnifying the driver's waist, leg, feet, hand, arm, and finger movements through an electromechanical forced feedback system. This increases the driver's physical strength by an average factor of fifteen times. The hands can exert a grip of roughly 150 kilograms per square centimeter-- enough pressure to crush a metal pipe or smash through a brick wall. Each suit must be custom calibrated to the driver for ease of use and to avoid hyperextension injuries.

The suit's weapons are more lethal than its raw strength. The hip-fired GAU-90 thirty millimeter machine gun can fire 250 explosive rounds per minute. Ammo is disintegrating-link belt fed from an ammo canister mounted on the unit's back through a flex chute over the shoulder to the weapon. The gun can be slung using an over-shoulder rifle-sling to free the hands for other tasks. The other (non-standard) weapon is a combat knife of self-sharpening diamond-hard ceramic. To match the scale of the suit, the blade is over one meter long and can cut through many metals. (Although lethal, the blade is not as utilitarian as some cutting devices and is considered to be something of an affectation, used mostly by SecOps troopers with a “Special Forces” mentality.)

The utility version features the same technology and dimensions, but without the weapons. Both models have proved extremely effective on Earth and Pandora.

Targeting Systems
The driver's HUD (head-up display) projects radar, active IR (infrared) and passive thermal targeting data on an impact-resistant visor on top of the center console. When the unit's blast shield is lowered over the cab canopy, the suit can be operated using only visual instruments. In Pandora's EMF fields and high humidity, these systems are notorious for failing. Because of their complex Earth-manufactured electronics, they are difficult to repair.

When the driver’s hands are within the servo armatures, the driver uses voice actuation to control suit systems. External sound can be monitored and amplified, and is reproduced inside the cockpit with full directionality. The driver can “hear” another AMP suit or ground trooper operating nearby, and know their position by the direction of the sound. The driver’s voice can be projected outside the suit via external speakers.

When the Master Servo Arm switch is activated by thumb control (on the left hand armature) the suit’s servos move the limbs from rest position to the current position of the driver’s arms and legs in one second. When the driver “switches out,” hitting the MSA switch again (indicator goes from green to red) the suit will relax from the current position of the operator to its standing rest position in one second.