The Armorines Suits were the only positive result of "Deep Freeze Project", a failed attempt of the US goverment to eliminate Aric Dacia and his X-O Armor. Doctor Philip Zahn, the chief scientist of the project, was able to dig enough data from the X-O armor to retro-engineer many of its system using human technology.
Compared to their predecessor and other variants of the X-O techno-organic seeds - like the Wolf armor and the Commando Armor - the Armorines are rather unsophisticated designs.
The biggest difference is the lack of any form of on-board Artificial Intelligence. All the techno-organic X-O armors are sentient beings up to a point, which makes them capable of understanding the needs of the pilot and adapt to match them. The lack of this features forced the Armorines to rely on a system of co-pilots. Each unit on the field was linked up to a tactical operator - located at the base or in a transport close-by - that managed all the secondary systems and adapted the unit energy allocation according to the need of the moment. This link was one of the biggest weaknesses of the Armorines, if the radio link was somehow distrupted the soldier was forced to handle all the system by himself, vastly slowing down his reaction times.
Another element that Zahn was unable to replicate was the gravtic propulsion system used by the orginal X-O, while he later developed several mobility packs, at first the Armorines were strictly ground based units.
Aiming to facilitate the suits construction, repair and modification, Zahn's team developed the armors as a set of individual components - some even capable of work indepedently from the main suit - instead of single fully integrated armor.
The liner suit was a layer of circuitry that each soldier had to wear under the main armor in order fully utilize it. Without the liner suit the syncronization between the user movement and the armor movement was lost making it completly useless on the field.
M.O.D.S. (Multi Optical Display System)
The main feature of the helmets was this advanced image system. Basicly the system acquired datas from several different sensors scattered across the armor - including infrareds, light amplification, pressure gauge, chamical sensors etc. - then the information was fed to a computer back to base, which sent a digital image back to the soldier including all the relevant informations. While the visibility was greatly enhanced, this also allowed the mission control to "edit out" unwanted elements making the whole deal too similar to a videogame for some soldiers.
Strength Enhancing Harness / Power Augumentation Layer
Originally an integral part of the suit the Harness was soon modified to be used indepedently, although with a low duration battery. The harness generated an energy field meant to increase the soldier strength and speed, while proving a limited degree of protection from small arms fire and concussion damage.
A integral component of the main carapace, the protective field was actally a layer of gas permable located 0.01 inches beyond the armor surface, at the expenditure of additional energy the layer could be made solid for increased protection. Later doctor Zahn developed an external force field more similar to the one used by the original X-O, but it was never field tested.
While the suits first prototypes were all bare metal the first field units were equiped with an advanced camouflage system. The surface of the suit reacted to the surrounding light growing darker in low light conditions or viceversa. Pretty mcuh it constantly changed to match the situation and the environement. a later version also have the added ability to match the environment most common colors, eliminating the need for chemical alteration of the pattern before each mission.
Each suit was equiped with a full first aid kit - including antibiotics, painkillers and other drugs - these were preloaded in autoinjector that could be also activated by another soldier from an outside panel. The suit also acted as a clamp, automaticly blocking any blood loss from the soldier inside.
Ejection and Self-Destruct
Given the experimental and highly classified nature of the project each suit was outfitted with a self-destruct device. Once activated the armor section separated and the pilot was ejected, after a few second the unit powercore detonated.
The suit weapon system were a varied mix, while the basic technology was form the X-O armor later developments were actually Zahn's original ideas.
20 MgHz Ion Cannons
The suit main weapon system was a double barrel ion cannon mounted on the left gauntlet. While its power was mininal compared to the 60 MgHz cannons used by original X-O, the weapon was still more powerful than many conventional firearms. The cannon was energized by a separate system respect to the rest of the suit, which allowed it to be used as an individual weapon. This was a belt of 500 charged capacitators stored on the back and feed into the underside of the wrist carapace. The used capacitators were expelled like spent shells.
A close combat weapon, the Ion Blade was stored inside the right gauntlet. The blade wasn't pure energy, but rather a basic metal blade "coated" by an energy field, this arrangement allowed the blade to pierce even reflective surfaces that usually were impervious to ion-based weapons.
Particle Beam Cannon
The most devastating weapon in the Armorines arsenal the P.B.C. was mounted on the back of the unit, it fired a beam of high velocity particles with devastating effects. Unfortunatly the energy expenditure require was very high and it couldn't be fire more than once every few minute to avoid a general circuit meltdown. At first the energy feeding was handled by the operators back to base, later a automated shut-down function was added.
Mounted on the helmet the laser cutter was meant to be a proper weapon, but the short range and limited power, compared to the ion cannons, reduced his usefulness. It was soon rebuilt as a tool, but it was still useful for close combat against oppoenents without a power armor.
To increase the units functionality doctor Zahn developed various combat attachments to supplement the basic functions. This took form of small attachments mounted on the gauntlets of the unit.
An apparently simple device, the harpoon was one of the most versatile combat attachments. Beside its basic function of enhancing the unti mobility, the tips of the weapon were ion-charged making it capable of piercing almost any material and making it useful as a short range weapon for stealth assassination.
Developed for electronic warfare, the sonic cannon fired a modular ultrasonic pulse meant to scramble enemy sensors and distrupt circuitry.
A hybrid weapon the bolos laucher fired a bolos-like projectile to entagle the enemy. The projectile was ion charged making it extremly resistant and able to stun unarmoered targets.
A replacement for the standard Ion Blade, the Ion Axe, fully replaced the unit right gauntlet. While it packed more power the weapon was also more unwieldly. Excpet for James Earl Williams no member of the unit used this attachment.
For a time mobility was the main Achille's heel of the Armorines. While the armors made them faster than a normal human soldier, they were still striclty ground based. To correct this problem Zahn's team developed tow different mobility backpacks.
Aerial / Rocket Pack
Developed for aerial combat this pack allowed the Armorines to operated from the skies. Unfortunatly the limietd fuel supply made it useless for any prolonged combat situation. As a consequence the rocket pack was used more often for insertion at the beginning of a mission, to this end the packs contained a small explosive charge to self-destruct, to prevent identification.
Due to their sheer bulk the Armorines units were pretty dead weight underwater, the underwater pack was meant to compensate proving the unit with buoyancy and propel the unit while underwater. Unfortunatly the water refraction also interfered with the energy output of the ion-based weapons, reducing their efficiency to 60% or even less depending on the depth.