Armored Combat Exoskeletons (ACE) systems represent the cutting edge of HDC military infantry technology. These armor systems are powered combat suits designed to act as a force multiplier for HDC combat personnel. At its core, ACE technology is based on the concept of a multilayer system of armor plating constructed around a self-supporting internal skeleton and this technology acts as a basis for other infantry combat systems such as TITAN and APEX battlesuits.
A23 "Castellan" Combat Suit
The A23 "Castellan" series of ACE systems is the most heavy produced by the HDC and is mainly used as standard issue battlegear for M-TAC combat units.
The system is composed of three layers - the first is a thin, skintight layer of charge-activated motor fibers controlled by the onboard computer that roughly replicates human musculature and is responsible for supporting the user’s fine motor movement. This layer is impact resistant, self-sealing and interspersed by both intravenous delivery and moisture removal ports for the onboard medical suite.
The second layer is a motor exoskeleton that is mounted over the surface of the first. The heavy structure of this skeletal layer makes it visible even once the final layer of armor plating is mounted over top.
The third layer is the suit’s outer armored shell, which completely encases the other two layers in jointed, overlapping armored plates. This armor is a composite of nanofiber and neo-metal alloys interspersed to maximize impact resistance. The topmost layer of alloy is a charge-sensitive compound that realigns itself into a diamond-like crystal when exposed to an electrical current. When the suit's sensors register an impact, it directs charge to the affected section to harden the plating in the affected area.
Additional Support Systems
The A23 is powered primarily by an onboard reactor, but also houses backup microbatteries and an emergency solar/kinetic generator system that can keep it operational for weeks in the event of reactor failure. It also boasts a powerful onboard computer as well as a suite of tactical network, surveillance, sensor and medical systems. The internal environment is hermetically sealed, pressurized and equipped with a compressed atmosphere supply tank and rebreather for operation in both hazardous environments and hard vacuum.
The entire system is controlled via the user's neuroconnector, allowing for not only instantaneous synchronicity between the wearer and exoskeletal motor systems, but also subvocal control of its computer and support subsystems.
Active Camouflage Matrix
Over top of the armor plating is an imperceptible layer of sensors and microprojectors embedded in a resilient resin matrix. This layer of nanodevices projects outward a replica of the environment on the opposite side of the soldier, creating a level of active camouflage that is able to confound some sensors and make the wearer difficult to perceive without assistance. This layer may be disrupted by sustained damage, for which the system can compensate to some extent, but all suits are equipped with an aerosolized container of the resin material impregnated with replacement nanodevices for field repairs.
When not in active combat this camouflage matrix is usually set to display either a "parade ground red" pattern or the soldier's company colors, however when damaged in the field it can usually adapt and cycle a dynamic camouflage pattern to maintain some level of disguise.