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I'm thinking about the idea of powered armor replacing guns. What would allow this to be possible?

The obvious problem is that it is vastly easier to build slightly more powerful weapons than it is to build armor to withstand it. Heavy machine guns and grenade launchers would easily be capable of punching through anything small enough to still qualify as infantry. Designing powered armor will have the same dilemma that has faced tank design, that anything with real protection is too heavy to have mobility, which is in many respects a more important part of survivability. Exoskeletons will increase endurance and carrying capacity, but they likely won't increase burst speed.

One option that occurs to me is that of drone mounted weapons carrying most of the firepower, with the guy in armor serving as a drone controller more than they serve as a combatant. In this case it is more about drones and armor replacing human carried guns than about armor replacing guns directly. The idea of armor is about giving a bit more survivability given that drones handle much of the direct combat and functions that require higher mobility. The reason for keeping people at all is the need to have the "man in the loop" element, for political reasons as much as anything else.

Could this be a viable possibility, or is there anything else that works as well or better in the same sense?

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    $\begingroup$ I believe the answer would depent on how advanced the Power Armor in question is. There's a vast difference between Tony Stark's MKI suit and a Nanosuit from the videogame series Crysis. $\endgroup$ – Azumentris Feb 17 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ No seeing how armour replaces guns considered the drones carry guns. Your question actually reads like drones replacing soldiers. If you have drones, you don't need power armour as the operator can be on the other side of the planet in a nuclear resistant bunker. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Feb 17 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ The question is, replacing guns in what role? What does the powered armor do instead of guns? How does it destroy enemy vehicles, missile launchers, fortifications, etc.? (And your "drone mounted weapons" are guns, while the best armor for the operator is to be far away from the battlefield.) HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse say that armor is good, but highly mobile unarmored weapons platforms are better. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 17 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ My understanding of physics is that no matter how thick the armor is (or what it's made of as long as the material itself is atomic) it can be punched through killing what's on the other side. Even if you could put 24" of steel armor, there's stuff that will shoot through it. Drones aren't a bad idea, and if you insist on a human controlling them... that's cool too. But they can be in an air-conditioned shack on the other side of the planet. That's how it's already done. For this to work, you need some sort of exotic material that can't be penetrated ballistically. $\endgroup$ – John O Feb 17 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ With the drone solution your power armour boils down to "just armour" to protect the operator. There is no need to equip him with ultra strenght or exchanged leg power. A bunker with track would be better suited. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Feb 18 at 8:30
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The armor weights many tons, has treaded wheels for high speed and maneuverability in most types of terrain, and comes with weapons on top of it, including a huge cannon.

The mecha is so big that it can protect multiple humans, so one can focus on driving it and the others focus on the weaponry.

In fact such things already exist. They have been in use for quite a while now.

Well it's called an armored vehicle for a reason

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    $\begingroup$ Goatherders in tin shacks in the middle of the desert can fashion weapons that punch through that armor using purloined explosives and scrap material. Go read about IEDs. "Armor works because your enemies are primitves who can't field expensive weapons" probably isn't what the OP was asking. $\endgroup$ – John O Feb 18 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnO if your enemy is able to jury rig weapons that pierce through uranium armor with such ease, they are not primitives. $\endgroup$ – Renan Feb 18 at 21:15
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The only way i find to justify your scenario is a force field so strong that renders weapons obsolete. No amount of firepower can passby the force field, and the only way to punch through is literally punching through with another, more powerful forcefield. Now, since it requieres a large energy supply, it can't jut be launched in hopes of damaging the enemy.

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I don't think that your idea works out. One reason being: Supposed you could build armor that simply cannot be damaged or pierced. If you are inside, and encounter a sufficiently large explosion, you would be safe from shrapnel, heat and pressure. but you would still be blown away, and thus accelerated so strongly that you would die. You would be a well-preserved corpse, already in a very expensive coffin, but still dead and as such not valuable as a soldier.

The best defense against weapons of any kind is not being where they are. And in addition, not being seen by the people (or systems) that aim the weapons. Armour is fine as long as you know that your armor can withstand (almost) anything your enemy can throw at you. But in those cases, i still don't see why you don't use existing armor, on wheels or on threads.

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What about armor suits under quantum entanglement? The human can safely control it from their end by using it, while the suit on the other end does the dirty work for them. Also, if a mechanism is developed that phases the molecules of the suit fast enough, it is impervious to external damage. The only kink is in how to make sure that any damage experienced doesn't affect the human controller

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that this is a valid answer, since the question was tagged "reality check". $\endgroup$ – Burki Feb 18 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ Quantum entanglement is quite real and is being developed on. Even so, what about answers mentioning teleportation then? $\endgroup$ – Vaishnav Varma Feb 19 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, Quantum entanglement is real, but there is no real-life application as yet, let alone on that scale. You are right about teleportation. That doesn't fit the reality check either. $\endgroup$ – Burki Feb 19 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ True dat. Maybe we can consider this world as set in the future? $\endgroup$ – Vaishnav Varma Feb 19 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ We could, but it would be up to the OP to do that :-) $\endgroup$ – Burki Feb 19 at 14:45
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If you have teleportation in your world, making a suit that detects incoming projectiles and teleports you to a safe place isn't a bad idea.

As you say in the question:

anything with real protection is too heavy to have mobility, which is in many respects a more important part of survivability

Having superspeed suits (Quicksilver/Speed Demon style) that move around very quickly. The important thing here is that they move faster than the enemy projectiles can reload. Attach a lightweight weapon to remain a combatitive unit.

You can even take it very far and train mechanics to use these supersuits and have them speed around, dismantling guns in a flash of light.

I realize that this is mainly focusing on the "powered" part of powered armor, but there's not much hope unless you find a very very strong and sound absorbable material.

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