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Let's take for example an society that dwells in a jungle (75% of the world is jungle). Now, how would this civilization be able to develop and use powered armor and battlesuits efficiently?

As we saw in modern wars, terrain is murder on vehicles and logistics: Vietnam for example: the jungles took a heavy toll on supplies and made it difficult for vehicles and even troops to move about (well maybe not so much for the Viet Cong since they were better skilled in that environment).

So I'm taking that into account. Oh and the powered armor is very similar to that of the ones used by the Spartans in Halo, but isn't powered by nuclear fusion!

Some things to add: The armors are used by both elites and rank and file (the elite use more advanced and better armed and armored versions)

The armors would be used in both in the jungles and urban combat zones.

The armors would be used for defensive, offensive, and special missions (Delta Force level missions), so there will be variants used for different purposes.

The civilization understands that warfare can damage the environment and that nature sometimes damages itself. Of course, they're not going to go so far as to use flamethrowers and handheld nuclear grenades!

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    $\begingroup$ Step 1: using your augmented strength, take a big axe and cut down a tree. Step 2: repeat step 1 until there's sufficient clearance. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ In seriousness, though - in order to answer questions about practicality, we need to know more about the scenario. Are these people defending, conducting special operations raids, or attacking in force? Are they operating in cities, in the wilderness, or both? (Are there cities?) Is their powered armor for elites only, for the rank and file, or somewhere in between? Do they care about damaging the environment? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand this question. Working power armour would be a lot more effective than a tank or truck in a jungle. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the question is to figure out how this civilization would get around the problems that plague powered armors. And would they make the armors bulky or more stealthy? $\endgroup$
    – SCPilot
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 1:23

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You mentioned that the civilisation is fairly protective of nature, in that they wouldn't go to the point of burning down huge swathes of jungle to clear out a hostile force. I'd assume that extends to destruction in general - i.e. they wouldn't create a massive suit of power armor (or a mech) with spinning blades on the front that can smash through the jungle and create a road/tunnel for other forces to follow through.

I'd think in that case you'd see the development of power armor focused on agility, mobility, and stealth. Jungles don't have a lot of large clear spaces - large bulky armor might be useful in a firefight, but if it's tangled up in mud and vines it's not going to help at all.

So to get real value out of the suits you'd want them to allow for easily traversal of the terrain, beyond what a normal person can accomplish. Powered spikes on the hands and feet that can punch into the sides of trees to help climb up and then sit in place against the trunk without expending any effort would be useful for ambushes. Some sort of retractable 'stilts' could help cross fast-flowing streams, and could act as shock absorbers to allow the soldiers to jump from large heights.

The suits should incorporate some kind of camouflage - whether that's just simply paint with foliage stuck to it, or more advanced panelling that can display images matching the surroundings.

Whatever you include, the suits need to stay fairly light-weight and shouldn't slow the soldiers down. Most of your planet is jungle, so logically most battles will be fought in the jungle - you aren't going to have the kind of large-scale open field battles where a tank-equivalent suit of armor might shine. Your soldiers need to be able to work with the terrain, not fight against it.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, like the alien from predator. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 5:00
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I can see the appeal of power armor given I know what it's like to lug around 26 Kilos of gear and weapons everywhere. and it's brutal.

however, the thing as the why power armor wouldn't be used is cost. Soldiers are an expensive investment, and giving each one a piece of equipment worth millions of dollars is not exactly something the brass would have an easy time agreeing to. in many ways, a brand new 45 ton T-72 MBT would be dozens of times cheaper to purchase then power armor would any day. And this is the first challenge.

the second challenge would be to reduce cost.

the game of course changes when advanced 3D printers comes into the equation. but still, in many ways, a light UCV would be preferable to any power armor. as even with a 3D printer, you'd still only about shave off 10% of the unit's total cost.

the best power source would be a nuclear battery, but those are too few and far between to go around--and are as expensive as they are scarce.

there's reason why world militaries have not pursued power armor. and in many cases, it's not going to be needed. the best defense is not doing actions that turn you into another statistic mentioned in passing in the 6 o'clock evening news.

so the better option in my mind is using drones over powered armor. Like for example the scouts from the movie Chappie

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Any kind of Power Armor would hardly be welcome in a jungle. Sure, the soldier CAN move all that armor, weaponry, and ammo just fine. But the soft soil under it? Not so much. Also, that kind system of has an easy time getting caught and stuck. Maybe not so much as tanks and other vehicles, but easy nonetheless. And none of that is talking about the sheer cost of putting that kinda armor on the field.

Within a jungle environment, I suggest prioritizing a soldiers mobility. Giving the soldier an easier time moving around than the enemy and laying traps for them isn't a bad idea to use to make up for the lack of armor.

Having ropes and picks the climb trees with, having (likely extemdable) stilts to wade waters with(as said in another answer here) having the ability to run around real quick and jump great heights easily (might need some extra training to withstand g-forces) is also pretty welcome

Also, these people protect the nature, however a bunch of dead bodids after a firefight is something NO ONE wants. These people especially(lots of rotting flesh does no one good) so there will likely be some investment into less-than-lethal weaponry. Unless there has been previous RnD these systems will be bulky, and heavy, and likely need the extra carrying capacity to use it.

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