It took Tony Stark decades and countless prototypes to get his Iron Man suit to its current level of awesomeness, and we're guessing the U.S. military's own effort to build super-suits for its soldiers will travel a similar path. That said, U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven has just recently dropped a bit of a metaphorical bombshell: the U.S. will begin testing its Iron Man suits as early as June. That's a pretty good timeline, even by Tony Stark's standards.
We first reported on the military's effort to create their own Iron Man suits last October. A June delivery would put the timeline for these "Mark I" suits at under a year. Now, to be fair, we really are talking about something akin to the very first Iron Man suit Tony Stark ever made here. In fact, the June delivery date is actually for a handful of non-powered units to be used for preliminary testing. That likely means durability and ease-of-movement type of stuff.
One reason that these first few Iron Man suits, technically termed TALOS (short for Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), is that the U.S. military has still got hordes of partners drafting up designs for the suits. In addition to having 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities and 10 national laboratories signed on to help with the TALOS project, the U.S. Special Operations Command also plans to hold a sort of "Monster Garage" event where everyone from your local mechanic to that weirdo with his own weapons forge out in the hills will be invited to develop components for the suit. After all this collaboration, as well as numerous rounds of testing, TALOS will likely see its first battlefield by August of 2018. By then, you can rest assured that this Iron Man suit will be anything but a prototype.