Author Topic: (US) Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits  (Read 33438 times)

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Offline 0tto Destruct

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A more cynical guy than I might say this is may be due to pressure from defence contractors...if aftermarket kit consistantly outperforms what is issued, that might be seen as a threat the next time the contracts come up for competition/tender (unsure of the term). That could result in some significant political pressure on the US Army to adopt ridiculous policies like this one.

Thoughts?

 :dontpanic:

Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits

By Nathaniel R. Helms
 
Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be  singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

 The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army's apparently new directive. At the sources' requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons. 

 On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection.

 "We have to be able to move. It (Dragon Skin) is heavy, but it is made so we have mobility and the best ballistic protection out there. This is crazy. And they are threatening us with our benefits if we don't comply." he said.

 The soldier reiterated Friday's reports that any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.

 As of this report Saturday morning the Army has not yet responded to a DefenseWatch inquiry.

 Recently Dragon Skin became an item of contention between proponents of the Interceptor OTV body armor generally issued to all service members deploying in combat theaters and its growing legion of critics.  Critics of the Interceptor OTV system say it is ineffective and inferior to Dragon Skin, as well as several other commercially available body armor systems on the market. Last week DefenseWatch released a secret Marine Corps report that determined that 80% of the 401 Marines killed in Iraq between April 2004 and June 2005 might have been saved if the Interceptor OTV body armor they were wearing was more effective. The Army has declined to comment on the report because doing so could aid the enemy, an Army spokesman has repeatedly said.

 A U.S. Army spokesman was not available for comment at the time DW's original report (Friday - 1700 CST) was published. DefenseWatch continues to seek a response from the Army and will post one as soon as it becomes available. Yesterday the DoD released a news story through the Armed Forces News Service that quoted Maj. Gen. Steven Speaks, the Army's director of force development, who countered critical media reports by denying that the U.S. military is behind the curve in providing appropriate force protection gear for troops deployed to Iraq and elsewhere in the global war against terrorism. The New York Tiimes and Washington Post led the bandwagon of mainstream media that capitalized on DefenseWatch's release of the Marine Corps study. Both newspapers released the forensic information the Army and Marines are unwilling to discuss.

"Those headlines entirely miss the point," Speaks said.

The effort to improve body armor "has been a programmatic effort in the case of the Army that has gone on with great intensity for the last five months," he noted.

Speaks' assessment contradicts earlier Army, Marine and DoD statements that indicated as late as last week that the Army was certain there was nothing wrong with Interceptor OTV body armor and that it was and remains  the "best body armor in the world."

One of the soldiers who lost his coveted Dragon Skin is a veteran operator. He reported that his commander expressed deep regret upon issuing his orders directing him to leave his Dragon Skin body armor behind. The commander reportedly told his subordinates that he "had no choice because the orders came from very high up" and had to be enforced, the soldier said. Another soldier's story was corroborated by his mother, who helped defray the $6,000 cost of buying the Dragon Skin, she said. 

The mother of the soldier, who hails from the Providence, Rhode Island area, said she helped pay for the Dragon Skin as a Christmas present because her son told her it was "so much better" than the Interceptor OTV they expected to be issued when arriving  in country for a combat tour.

"He didn't want to use that other stuff," she said. "He told me that if anything happened to him I am supposed to raise hell."

At the time the orders were issued the two soldiers had already loaded their Dragon Skin body armor onto the pallets being used to air freight their gear into the operational theater, the soldiers said. They subsequently removed it pursuant to their orders.

Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.

Pinnacle claims more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are wearing Dragon Skin body armor, Chopra said. Several months ago DefenseWatch began receiving anecdotal reports from individual soldiers that they were being forced to remove all non-issue gear while in theater, including Dragon Skin body armor, boots, and various kinds of non-issue ancillary equipment.

Last year the DoD, under severe pressure from Congress, authorized a one-time $1,000 reimbursement to soldiers who had purchased civilian equipment to supplement either inadequate or unavailable equipment they needed for combat operations. At the time there was no restriction on what the soldiers could buy as long as it was specifically intended to offer personal protection or further their mission capabilities while in theater.

Nathaniel R. Helms is the editor of DefenseWatch Magazine. He can be reached at natshouse1@chater.net. Please send all inquiries and comments to dwfeedback@yahoo.com .

http://www.sftt.org/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpDefense&htmlCategoryID=30&htmlId=4514

Offline Sheep Dog AT

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One of the positive things about the US gov't is that the politician generally support the troops.  Therefore if I were one of those parents I'd team up with Pinnacle and go to my member of Congress and demand answers.
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Offline Allan Luomala

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This is the part that I liked:

Quote
Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.

I'm thinking that generals rarely do T&E on field gear. When I did the trials for the new gloves (back in the mid-90's), I was the ranking NCO (at the lofty rank of Cpl) that our Sqn sent over. Could be because it was fooking cold. I suppose the reason for picking generals was that the company only had XXXXL body armour to "evaluate"  ;D

I suppose that the generals will be allowed to "evaluate" the armour until the end of the tour, because once you start something like that, you don't want to stop it in the middle.

Al

Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Ya my CO and RSM are "evaluating" the rain gear that the Airforce currently uses.  F--K I hate double standards.
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Offline 3rd Herd

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Ya my CO and RSM are "evaluating" the rain gear that the Airforce currently uses.  F--K I hate double standards.

For you younguns a history lesson.
back in the 80's a similar set of circumstances occurred. The culprit Brit camo pattern and US issue jungle boots. Both items were highly sought after items that were not issued through formal channels. British units in Canada rotating back to the United Kingdom were to destroy cbt uniforms used in Canada. In both Wainwright and Sufflied a highly organized unoffical NATO QM system developed. Magic Pantry IRP's in sufficient quantity would get you a set of slightly used Brit camos. After the Bn CO and RSM were seen trooping the line in their 'gifts', imitation became the sincerest form of flattery. No orders were passed but it was understood by one and all that the unofficial uniform was for field use only. The only caveat in this was the bright forward thinking Recce plt CO who managed to successfully argue the lack of suitable equipment for his plt and they became standard issue to that platoon.

As for the body armour issue it has been around for a while since even Hollywood has jumped on the band wagon. In the TV series JAG there is an episode covering this exact topic, after all controversy bumps ratings. And can we not forget the 858.00 toilet seats installed on US aircraft carries. Remember in industry profit is the key word not product reliability.

Now onto the tale of the unsolved b & e of the military museum in the north section of Fort Lewis, it seems when a detachment of Cdn troops were their several museum display duce and a half's and five ton trucks were mysteriously stripped of critical parts one  dark rainy night..........................................
"if he was to be hanged for it, he told his brother, he could not accuse a man whom he believed had meant well, and whose error was one of judgment, not of intention"
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Our Recce guys wore the Brit smocks up until we got the Cadpat.
Still burns my *** that the above mentioned wear them while they see how much rain?
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Offline Journeyman

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Look how long the Clothe the Soldier program did "evaluations," when a quick survey of the kit in which troops were investing their own cash would have provided a very good yardstick.....like JBs or a rainsuit that would be drier on the inside than out. Some kit is gucci, but other kit is common sense.

Offline Pte.Pinky

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I think this is MY favourite part:

Last week DefenseWatch released a secret Marine Corps report that determined that 80% of the 401 Marines killed in Iraq between April 2004 and June 2005 might have been saved if the Interceptor OTV body armor they were wearing was more effective.

My skull could protect me from concussions if it was more effective too ::)

Don't get me wrong, I (naturally) think that soldiers should be equipped with the best possible kit there is. ESPECIALLY when it comes to body armour. It really rubs me the wrong way when a soldier is forced to use sub-par equipment because some balding fatty in a business suit wants to make more money from the government :rage:

My two cents,
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Offline KevinB

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Until HP White Labs certifies the armor USSOC will not authroise it. - PERIOD.
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Offline RecceDG

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That's the part that has me wondering... I've heard a lot about Dragon Skin, but it seems like there are conflicting opinions about weither or not the stuff actually works as well as claimed.

If it didn't, it wouldn't be the first time a product built demand based on hype and percieved value, rather than actual performance.

Wouldn't the Army be remiss then if it let its soldiers use an expensive, self-purchased, and ineffective bit of kit in theatre? Doesn't the Army have a duty to ensure that its soldiers are wearing kit that does the job?

DG 
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Offline Laps

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Doesn't the same thing happen here?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2006, 12:36:55 »
In the aviation community (before I continue: I wear a beret and a cadpat jacket... so don't think of hotel et al), we often face similar problems when something is not appropriate and guys go spend $$ of their own.  There is always this threat around that if "something were to happen to you" when using non issue kits, that  you would be SOL.  For example, holsters: the Bianchi one is a piece of poo as far as I am concerned, and quite a few quys got something they prefered (whether BlackHawk, DropZone...), and then the grown ups got all excited because that holster had not been tested for "airworthiness" (as if the holster flies...  I fly, the helo flies, the holster doesn't!!!).  The same thing happens with flashlights, knifes, "go" bags, etc.  Lately, we got an important message saying that one of the Pelican flashlight has lost its "airwothiness certificate" and that we must discontinue it's usage when we fly (?!?!!?).  I say stop the BS, use common sense.  You should see the sunglasses that we are supposed to wear!!!

On parade, let's all look the same.  In the field, when bullets are coming our way, let's have whatever works.  I like the idea of giving the guy $1000 when going overseas to buy kits he/she wants.  That would solve many supply issues.

On a different note, I often doubted the quality of the bullet/frag vest that we were "issued" in Bosnia.  They were dirty, old, stored wherever, got wet...  I am sure that a well place BB could had gone thru.

Offline 48Highlander

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Thought I'd post an update:  it seems that this article is a fake.

Folks,

The muscles of the milblogosphere flex again debunking another myth. The claim was made that SOCOM and McDill AFB had issued a directive forbidding the wearing of personal body armor.
Quote
On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection.

"We have to be able to move. It (Dragon Skin) is heavy, but it is made so we have mobility and the best ballistic protection out there. This is crazy. And they are threatening us with our benefits if we don't comply." he said.

The soldier reiterated Friday's reports that any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.

As of this report Saturday morning the Army has not yet responded to a DefenseWatch inquiry.

I just got a message back from the SOCOM Public Affairs Office less than 4 hours after pinging them.

Quote
First, as you are probably aware, I cannot comment on and do not know what the Army or Marine Corps policies are on body armor.  I can only provide you information about Special Operations Forces.

I have talked to all of the approriate people and no one is aware of any directive that went out of USSOCOM headquarters last week that addressed the subject of body armor, much less prohibited the use of commercial body armor.  Neither is anyone familiar with any statement made about service members losing their SGLI death benefits if they are wearing commercial body armor at the time of their death.  There is no such USSOCOM policy about SGLI.
Additionally, Special Operations Forces do not use the Interceptor OTV body armor that you discussed in the DefenseWatch piece.  Special Operations Forces use the Body Armor Load Carriage System (BALCS).

This directly refutes the tale told by the truthseekers and I have informed them of that. This smelled a bit to me when I first heard about it, and it looks like another myth. If anyone hears about another Command, maybe CENTCOM, having a different policy let me know. In lieu of that, I will echo the magnificent Penn, of Penn & Teller and call "BULLS***T!"
 
Thanks to everyone who commented and emailed info. I believe Soldiers for the Truth should retract or show more than an anonymous tale and will let you know what I hear back.

Offline 0tto Destruct

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48th Highlander.

Thanks for that...damn the internets! Next thing you'll be telling us that all those lists about Chuck Norris are fake too...

BTW, did you know that Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.

...I read it on the 'net...it must be true.

Offline George Wallace

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...I read it on the 'net...it must be true.
You're voting Liberal on Monday....aren't you?                                       ;D
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Offline career_radio-checker

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The soldier reiterated Friday's reports that any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.
Huh?

Soooo... they charge a dead man ???
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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48Highlander
Am I reading this wrong or are you telling me that you are quoting a guy in the SF who says they can wear what they want?  I ask this because is quote says he knows nothing of the other branches and I thought that the soldiers in question were regular service and not Special Forces.
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Offline 48Highlander

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48Highlander
Am I reading this wrong or are you telling me that you are quoting a guy in the SF who says they can wear what they want?  I ask this because is quote says he knows nothing of the other branches and I thought that the soldiers in question were regular service and not Special Forces.

Sheesh.  Read the original article:

Quote
On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection.

So if the original article quotes a guy saying that USSOCOM issued the directive, and then USSOCOM says they never heard of any such directive......comprende?  Other arms may very well have those restrictions, however, the original article specificaly accused USSOCOM, and did not provide any evidence to indicate other commands were taking those steps.  So right now there's no evidence to substantiate the idea that ANY command is forbidding soldiers from wearing their own body-armour; all we have is an article which as at the very least gotten the facts wrong, and at worst has fabricated the entire thing.

Offline KevinB

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I will reiterate that USSOC currently only allows the issue SPEAR/BALCS pannel to be used in the Paraclete RAV or Eagle CIRAS.
  The SOE Gear Warhammer that a lot of 18"X" guys got from Ligthfighter may onyl be used as a Plate carrier ontop of a BALC carry system (RAV,CIRAS or the old BALCS carrier).

  Speaking to both 18 series guys and certain USASOC guys (read between the lines) the use of any non certified commerical armor is prohibted.  Guys where trying to get the Crye Armored Chasis system into use but where prohibted (and these guys have LOTS of latittude...) since it had not been HP White cert'd yet.






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Offline 0tto Destruct

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You're voting Liberal on Monday....aren't you?                                       ;D

Riiiiight....

So, pistols at dawn then, George?.... :warstory:

Offline George Wallace

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Riiiiight....

So, pistols at dawn then, George?.... :warstory:
Sorry.  Slept in.  Monday....Winner votes.... :warstory:
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Offline 48Highlander

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Sorry.  Slept in.  Monday....Winner votes.... :warstory:

You know...that's one hell of an idea for a system of government....vote by dueling :)

Offline 3rd Herd

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Found on another forum. this guy pays the price for not being alert, but his body armor worked.

A quote from the video forum post.

In reference to the posted video, unless I am mistaken, this video is a shortened clip. After the soldier is dropped, he moves around to the other side of the HMMWV, where he is checked for wounds. (This is where the video ends, but the best part of the story starts.) After being cleared, he and his group set out to find the sniper and engage them in a small firefight. In the aftermath, the original Sniper is shot, and First Aid is rendered by the original Sniper Victim. The IBA is the best piece of equipment being offerd to our fellow troops in the last 25 years.

http://www.sondrak.com/archive/skpics/CG%20briefing%20sniper%20clip.wmv

And:

Soldiers may be reimbursed for protective gear
By Maj. Paul Cucuzzella
January 13, 2006


WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 13, 2006) -- Soldiers may now file claims and receive reimbursement for protective equipment privately purchased between Sept. 11, 2001, and July 31, 2004.

A provision of the 2005 Defense Authorization Act allows for the reimbursement if service members weren’t issued equivalent equipment prior to deployment in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom.

Full story at:
http://www4.army.mil/news/article.php?story=8457

« Last Edit: January 29, 2006, 17:34:16 by 3rd Herd »
"if he was to be hanged for it, he told his brother, he could not accuse a man whom he believed had meant well, and whose error was one of judgment, not of intention"
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Offline Journeyman

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The debate isn't really new:

"It is my opinion that press reports of statements by high-ranking officers to the effect that we have the best equipment in the world do much to discourage the soldier who is using equipment that he knows to be inferior to that of the enemy"
- BGen JH Collier, Combat Command A, 2nd Armored Division, 1945

Mind you, the troops weren't actually buying their own Tiger tanks because their Sherman's were second rate  ;)

Offline 3rd Herd

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Mind you, the troops weren't actually buying their own Tiger tanks because their Sherman's were second rate  ;)

See movie Kelly's Hero's staring Clint Eastwood
"if he was to be hanged for it, he told his brother, he could not accuse a man whom he believed had meant well, and whose error was one of judgment, not of intention"
Wellington

Offline Mickey

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 :rofl:

...except that Donald Sutherland bought the Tiger Tank with stolen loot.....  ;D
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Army Tests Pinnacle Armor "Dragon Skin" Vests
Army News Service | May 19, 2006
The Army announced that PEO Soldier has contracted with Pinnacle Armor to purchase 30 of its latest body armor vests, known as “Dragon Skin,” for delivery no later than May 17.

The 30 production-representative vests will be delivered to H.P. White in Street, Md., for ballistic testing. HP White is the only National Institute of Justice-certified, independent, ballistic-testing laboratory in the United States capable of conducting the complete First Article Test. This is the same facility and ballistic testing standards used on the body armor currently fielded to Soldiers. Upon completion of the First Article Test -- which is a three-day test -- the Army will issue a press release stating the results.

All suppliers of Army body armor are required to pass the First Article Test. This is the same standard test conducted on the currently fielded body armor. Standard testing consists of a variety of ammunition and weapons fired on various size vests, under a range of conditions that replicate combat environments.



If “Dragon Skin” successfully completes First Article testing, it will advance to the second phase of testing. The Second Phase testing is conducted at Fort Benning, Ga., and consists of form, fit, function and operational suitability to meet Soldiers’ needs across a wide variety of combat tasks.
Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion.


Copyright 2006 Army News Service. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051901606.html

Potential Advance in Body Armor Fails Tests

By Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press
Saturday, May 20, 2006; Page A13

The Army's struggle to find a new, more flexible body armor was dealt a setback yesterday when a California company's high-tech Dragon Skin vests failed to pass military testing, a senior Defense Department official said.

After three days of testing this week, the Army determined that the body armor does not meet military specifications, said the official, who declined to specify which tests the armor failed. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the results have not been released.

The Army paid about $170,000 to buy 30 sets of the armor for the testing.

Generally, during testing, various types of ammunition are fired at the vests, and the armor may also be subjected to extreme temperatures or environmental conditions. The tests were done by H.P. White, an independent ballistic testing lab in Street, Md.

The Army has expressed great interest in getting more flexible body armor. One of the key complaints about the armor used by troops on the battlefield is that it is too heavy and inflexible and may lessen a soldier's speed and agility. The current armor includes heavy ceramic plates in the front, in back and on the sides.

The Dragon Skin testing was initially delayed because of a dispute over testing conditions between the Army and Pinnacle Armor of Fresno, Calif., which makes the product.

Earlier this week, the Army announced it would conduct three days of testing, signaling the dispute's resolution.

A request for comment from Murray Neal, Pinnacle Armor's chief executive, was not immediately returned.

Neal, however, has previously contended that his armor is of high quality and its "capabilities have been proven to be significant improvements over the current Army issue."

He said he has nine years of ballistic data, both classified and unclassified, that show the armor taking over 40 rounds of ammunition from an AK-47, then another 150 rounds from a submachine gun, all at close range without any failure.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2006, 22:46:43 by Quagmire »
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Offline Kalatzi

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Here's an interesting article - Apparently GW's Secret Service detail wears dragon skin ...
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/2/7/114814/3131
Best Wishes to Francois Hollande, France’s president nicknamed “Meccano-builder” for his ability to bridge the endless personal and ideological disputes, a process he once likened to

Offline riggermade

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I saw dragon skin on Discovery channel and it looked like an amazing piece of kit...but then we have to take things with a grain of salt
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Offline muskrat89

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A couple of comments - first, I doubt that the Secret Service changes their equipment, based on who is the President. Seems they always gotta sneak in some Dubya bashing.

Second, I would imagine that military requirements differ significantly from Secret Service requirements.

Other than that, I don't have a "side" in this quarrel
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Huh?

Soooo... they charge a dead man ???

Yea I was about to post the same comment, I can see an escort of 6 men quick marching a coffin onto the carpet.  :o

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"For you younguns a history lesson.
back in the 80's a similar set of circumstances occurred. The culprit Brit camo pattern and US issue jungle boots. Both items were highly sought after items that were not issued through formal channels. British units in Canada rotating back to the United Kingdom were to destroy cbt uniforms used in Canada. In both Wainwright and Sufflied a highly organized unoffical NATO QM system developed. Magic Pantry IRP's in sufficient quantity would get you a set of slightly used Brit camos. After the Bn CO and RSM were seen trooping the line in their 'gifts', imitation became the sincerest form of flattery. No orders were passed but it was understood by one and all that the unofficial uniform was for field use only. The only caveat in this was the bright forward thinking Recce plt CO who managed to successfully argue the lack of suitable equipment for his plt and they became standard issue to that platoon."

And don't forget US Rain jackets and Ranger blankets and Danners.   Ah yes, when bivie bags were something in the pages of US Cavalry...
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There was a special on Dragon Skin on Weapons Races or something like that.

The host who is ex-special forces put more than 100 rounds into vest of 9mm (MP5), 5.56mm (M-16) and 7.62mm (AK-47) and didn't get one penetration.

The final test was they put a dummy with a vest on, on top of a grenade (this part was being monitored by a guy from one of the local bomb squads because he was looking at adding to his guy kit).  Again, no penetration at all.

I'm by no means an expert, but the host is, and his eyebrows were definitely raised....


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Offline Kilo_302

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yeah i saw the same bit. I am also not an expert, and even if the host isnt either, the EOD guy they had sure was. A soldier taking a grenade like would probably still have died due to concussion, but he wouldnt have died from shrapnel to the chest thats for sure. Impressive, but I think the jury is still out.

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I have a set of Dragon Skin.
- It is heavier than conventional plate -- but it is much more flexible.

   The issue of future weapons was not very well done.
The M855 5.56mm round is the greatest penetrator of the M43 7.62x39 or the M882 9mm Ball
  Yet the host made it seem the 9mm then the 7.62mm where more powerful


FWIW a set of Dragon Skin for the SPEARS/BALCS systems (Paraclete RAV, Eagle CIRAS etc) is $5750 USD...
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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you weren't detered by the negative press in Lightfighter (granted I haven't been there in a while).
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It's got positive and negative points

  I know a member on the testing board - who pointed out the US mil failed it due to the increase in weight over the IBA -- neglecting the point - it offers a 34% increase in coverage, for a 22% increase in weight --- and more importantly one can move in it --

When you look a US mil troop with IBA - side plates - bicep armor - and neck and groin protector -- the guy is not going anywhere.
   Ali baba -- knows this and takes advantage of the lack of dismounted manuverability.


It don't think DS is the full meal deal --- but some some uses it does the trick
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Just saw the Future Weapons ep.
Kev you still using this?  Anything further to add?
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Yeah --

There is a lot of info and accusations on the Lightfighter thread.

  Rumour has Nattick (US Soldier System development) has their own version soon to come out...
My guess is a lot of rumour and innuendo is being thrown both ways.
   1) If Pinnacle can get DOD to buy -- its the golden egg
   2) If Natick can get theirs in -- its in house baby - flashy PER's for everyone.  (and millions saved)
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Any trickle down to say...Us?
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Offline TheHead

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Another case of old Dinosaur officers/RSMs throwing common sense out the window.     I'd still say screw it and wear my own.     
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Well there is a CF cell at PEO/Natick

Of course these are the same people who are in league with CTS and "the TacVest is ergonomically correct - and the troops dont need that much ammo) -- so basically I would suggest not holding ones breath
  Until all the young captains who have been in Afghan - are angry young majors and push some of the out of touch staff people off a cliff.

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Well there is a CF cell at PEO/Natick

Of course these are the same people who are in league with CTS and "the TacVest is ergonomically correct - and the troops dont need that much ammo) -- so basically I would suggest not holding ones breath
  Until all the young captains who have been in Afghan - are angry young majors and push some of the out of touch staff people off a cliff.



That's the thing though when do we step back and say "Sir you're a ******* idiot and are going to get troops killed." We don't haha.  I remember that RCR RSM/CO ( Correct me if I'm wrong) who said they don't need more than 5 mags.   I remember the guys who came into relieve us in Spin Boldack who were terrified by the stories we told them of the old Tac Vest and were honestly scared for their lives of running out of ammo.   They were told by their Chain of Command they MUST wear it.   The sad thing was Gen Hiller the man himself said you can wear whatever the frig you want at a "Troops Hour" they had.     The CO/RSM didn't give a crap.      I took this issue so personally when I had a meeting with Mr Laurie Hawn a MP of Downtown Edmonton on Remembrance day that's the first issue I brought up, it made him and I both sick. How "Uniformity and Dress" are taking a priority over troops lives.

You're totally right infidel bang on.  We need these dinosaurs out.  My platoon commander he was young and stupid though not old and decrepit. It only took a good sized fire fight and a few of his own soldiers almost dying (Literally the young man almost died) from heat exhaustion and dehydration , to realize you don't march your troops into the ground in 60 degree weather with little to no water.  After his first firefight his "perception" changed, a little.

We do need those young Capts , Mcpls and Sergeants who have seen combat to become the new RSMs and COs.  I agree completely.  The sad thing is, the way the attrition rate was in 1PPCLI a lot of those combat vets are gone, it's not like they listened to us anyways :P   

I apologize for the rant, I'm not even in the Military anymore. This stuff though just burns away at me.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 15:32:07 by TheHead »
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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NBC is doing a segment on this right now. More to follow.
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One major problem that is a deal breaker for the Army is the glue that holds the scales in place. The glue seems to breakdown under heat which can be fatal.

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So the program ended.  Your right the adhesive did come up however the top dog for US armor said that Dragon Skin also had a tough time defending at room temp.  The tests were limited and done by a independent source and Dragon Skin beat out the Interceptor armor in all tests.  There were no tests done in Afghan/Iraq weather conditions (heat) and I showed add that the Interceptor armor did well.  The maker of Interceptor armor (who has no financial gain) says that DS is the next gen (ie better).  The US military also banned DS prior to doing any tests on it.  The person that oversaw the tests to ban DS has since gone on to work for the competition.  Democrats are now calling for full tests.  The head armor guy has stated they don't do side by side comparisons but will the equipment meet or exceed a set standard.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 19:35:58 by Lone Wolf Quagmire »
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Online tomahawk6

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I like the concept of DS maybe they can work out the issues. Meanwhile I have been looking at the possibilities of nano armor.

http://www.memagazine.org/contents/current/features/narmour/narmor.html

And this:
http://www.isracast.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ID=28

Offline Breacher41

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anyone need a pushing hand to encourage such falls off the cliff?  ;D
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Offline KevinB

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I spoke to one of the testors in the US Mil -- he fully beleives that the armor is GTG.

  As well I beleive (and from feel of my vest I think it is true) that recent vests also have the disks wired together like old fashion scale mail.

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It wouldn't surprise me if the makers of DS were looking at or inventing a better "glue" if it meant getting the DoD contract.
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Update.

Dragon Skin report spurs body armor discussion
By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Monday May 21, 2007 18:08:55 EDT

Army body armor officials announced Monday they would meet with members of Congress this week in the wake of recent media reports that question whether soldiers are equipped with the best body armor available.

Program Executive Officer Soldier commander Brig. Gen. Mark Brown made the announcement at a press briefing at the Pentagon Monday to explain why the Army refuses to allow its soldiers to wear controversial body armor known as Dragon Skin.

The briefing followed a May 20 NBC News report that presented results of independent ballistics tests commissioned by NBC. The tests were conducted May 3 in Germany. At NBC’s request, according to NBC News spokeswoman Barbara L. Levin, the Beschussamt Mellrichstadt laboratory did comparative testing of the Army's body armor, Interceptor, against Dragon Skin, a flexible body armor.

The tests show Level IV Dragon Skin vests outperforming Interceptor vests equipped with “ESAPI” plates in ballistic tests with various types of unnamed “armor piercing” ammunition.

“NBC News has blacked out the specific caliber of ammunition used in the tests, because the Army believes that level of detail may assist the enemy. NBC News did, however, share those details with the Army,” according to test results from NBC released May 20.

Brown, who oversees all body armor development for the Army, said today that the Army has requested specific details of how the test were conducted from NBC, but so far has not received that information.

In addition, Brown said he questions whether the “ESAPI” plates used in NBC’s tests were “certified” Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts that the service issues to soldiers deploying to combat.

Brown presented the results of the tests the Army conducted on Pinnacle’s SOV 3000 Level VI Dragon Skin vests May 16-19 at the National Institute of Justice-certified H.P. White labs near Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.

The tests subjected Dragon Skin against the same test protocols the Army uses to test its ESAPI and Enhanced Side Ballistic Inserts. The vests were exposed to temperatures ranging from -60 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as being immersed in diesel fuel, oil and salt water for extended periods of time. After each of these exposures, testers shot the vests with armor-piercing ammunition, the most lethal small arms threat in the war.

Four out the eight vests tested failed after suffering 13 first- or second-shot complete penetrations with 7.62mmx63mm APM2 Armor Piercing ammunition, Brown said.

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Interesting development if in fact NBC did use certified ESAPI plates.
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My guess is that the NBC test didnt. If they had they would be forthcoming with the test info.

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Bit misleading then... the article makes it sound like they did use ESAPI...  is the Army insinuating it was some knock-off ESAPI from a third world country instead...?  :o

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Well no one here knows what the exact tests were or specs.  If NBC didn't use approved DoD plates then yes it would be mis-leading but why would they.  NBC has no financial gain to support DS.
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Army Defends Body Armor Quality
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA American Forces Press Service
Article Link
 
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2007 – U.S. troops operating in Iraq and Afghanistan have the best body armor in the world, and the Army is constantly looking for ways to improve force protection, the general in charge of the program told reporters here today.
“Force protection is the No. 1 priority of the U.S. Army. We value our soldiers very highly, and we do everything we can do to ensure that they have the finest in force protection as they go into the battle,” Army Brig. Gen. R. Mark Brown, Program Executive Officer Soldier, said at a Pentagon news conference.

In response to a May 17 NBC News report challenging the Army’s use of Interceptor body armor vs. the newer “Dragon Skin” armor developed by Pinnacle Armor Inc., Brown today released information about the testing that ruled out Dragon Skin a year ago.

The tests were conducted May 16 to 19, 2006, at H.P. White labs near Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The Pinnacle armor was subjected to the same tests Interceptor body armor goes through, first being X-rayed and analyzed and then undergoing a series of live-fire tests, Brown said. The live-fire tests included room-temperature tests, harsh environment tests, and durability and drop tests.

Of the eight Pinnacle vests tested, four of them failed the tests, with 13 rounds penetrating completely on the first or second shot, Brown said. After the first complete penetration, the vests technically failed the test, but the Army continued the testing to be fair, he said.
More on link
 
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The US Army testing protocol is open source.
  And FIWI the threat round is the US 30-06 AP round at (IIRC) 2731 FPS Impact velocity

 
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So why the NBC testing? and was it to the same standard?
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No idea.
  I beleive NBC said they handed all their info over to the ARMY.

I've always been curious as to why the 7.62x54R AP round was not the threat standard (IIRC it is a HIGHER penetrator than the old 30-06 AP round)
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Army Seeks Body Armor for Deadlier Threat
Military.com  |  By Christian Lowe  |  June 27, 2007
Article Link

The Army has issued an industry-wide request for a new kind of body armor that can defeat even more powerful rounds than the current ceramic plate and has opened the door for the new armor construction that includes flexible systems many say are more comfortable than today's vests.

The new armor insert, dubbed "XSAPI," is intended to stop armor-piercing rounds more deadly than the ones the current "enhanced small arms protective insert" can defeat, will weigh less than a pound more than today's ESAPI and could have more coverage than the rigid ceramic plates currently fielded to U.S. troops in combat.

The Army's latest solicitation - dated June 20 - marks yet another chapter in the ongoing debate over allegations that the Army has ignored armor technology that could yield more protection and comfort than its current "Interceptor" vest. In May, an NBC investigative report raised questions over whether a certain type of body armor called "Dragon Skin" was stronger than the Interceptor - which is worn by most American troops in the field.

The NBC report - and the Army counter-attack that followed - gained the attention of the top lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee, which held a hearing on the subject June 6 and demanded a new set of tests to prove once and for all whether Dragon Skin - or other armor using similar technology - was better than Interceptor.

Dragon Skin employs a flexible system of interlocking ceramic disks that the manufacturer, Fresno, Calif.-based Pinnacle Armor, says is more comfortable and can endure more rifle shots than Interceptor. The ESAPI employs a series of rigid ceramic plates inserted into the front, back and sides of the Interceptor "outer tactical vest."

After the congressional hearing, the Army revised its earlier May 27 request for new armor to test, adding the XSAPI specs and opening the offer to flexible, or "scalar," systems. The Army also extended the period for manufacturers to submit their proposals by 30 days - until the end of August - a move congressional staffers say will give Pinnacle plenty of time to submit the vests needed for testing.

"The Army seems to be accommodating Pinnacle as far as it can," a top House Armed Services Committee aide told Military.com.

The Army declined to comment on the new XSAPI requirement or on upcoming tests until after the service has determined a contract winner.
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http://www.professionalsoldiers.com/files/dragon_skin_release_000121may07.pdf

Also

http://www.professionalsoldiers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14523
Dragon Skin?

There may be something better called Dragon Skin, but better than what?

Bottom line up front. From 16-19 May 2006, in Department of Defense (DoD) test protocols at HP White Labs, Pinnacle SOV 3000 Level IV Dragon Skin vests suffered 13 first or second shot complete penetrations, failing four of eight initial subtests with Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) threat baseline 7.62 x 63mm M2 Armor Piercing (AP) ammunition. The Project Manager (PM) Soldier Equipment Briefing report is on line and is easily available.

I say again, of eight Pinnacle SOV 3000 Level IV Dragon Skin (DS) vests tested for V0 penetration, four of them failed, and 13 of 48 rounds fired for record were complete penetrations. Of these, significant first shot failures were noted when the DS vests were exposed to diesel fuel, a serious concern since almost all of our vehicles use this fuel and between spillage during refueling and the potential for saturation after an IED attack on US convoys, vests can easily be contaminated with fuels. A first shot complete penetration was also observed after a DS vest was drop tested. Anyone who has served understands that a 48 pound vest is going to get dropped, dragged, and abused a LOT in a combat zone, even during normal patrolling and movement. Finally, and most significantly, the vest cannot be exposed to heat. With solar loads regularly generating vehicle interior temperatures well in excess of 150 degrees, the DS vest disks delaminate themselves and fall to the bottom of the vest, effectively reducing the armor protection to nearly nothing. All panels shot after high temperature exposure failed in the first shot. This is unacceptable and is hardly a characteristic I would look for in a product to replace the current proven ESAPI in conjunction with the Enhanced Side Ballistic Inserts (ESBI).

According to the X-Rays in the Army report, all hits were in protected areas with full disk coverage. Also easily seen in the X-Rays is the complete failure of the vests adhesive to retain the disks in place during extreme hot and cold weather testing.

NBC also neglected to mention the weight penalty of the Pinnacle SOV 3000 Level IV Dragon Skin vests, which can weigh up to 47.5 pounds or 20 pounds more than the Interceptor vest with ESAPI and ESBI. They appear to have tested the armor, flat, which favors the flexible Pinnacle armor. And they tested it at room temperature only, which means, I suppose, that if you are a soldier who never leaves the office, say, at NBC headquarters, the Dragon Skin may work well for you. If you, however, actually have to go outside, well, you may not want to throw away the Interceptor with the ESAPI quite yet.

The Pinnacle SOV 3000 vests tested were purchased and manufactured the same month that the Army PM test was conducted. They were tested under the ESAPI Purchase Description for front and rear, and ESBI Purchase Description for left and right side. All tests were conducted with 7.62 x 63mm 166 grain M2 AP projectiles stripped from Government Issue complete rounds and hand loaded for each shot by HP White Lab personnel. These rounds were loaded to a specific velocity (+ or – 25 fps) known to replicate the most common threat AP ammunition. In scientific testing, 27%, or more than one in four of these rounds went completely through the armor and into the target. Are you sure you want to suit up a loved one in this stuff?

Strangely, in their investigative reporting seeking to prove the superiority of the Dragon Skin armor over Interceptor with ESAPI, NBC did not appear to use actual ESAPI and ESBI plates for the comparison. Instead, they seem to have shot some other armor that Jim Magee provided and that he stated ““This is what the soldiers and Marines are wearing.” In fact, it may not be. So much for journalistic integrity.

Did the Army really ban the armor last year and issue a Safety Of Use Message (SOUM) even before formally testing it?

Not exactly. Army personnel witnessed a May 2004 test of DS in SAPI plate configuration where the Dragon Skin vests failed catastrophically. Nevin Rupert, Murray Neal, and Chief Scientist Dr. James Zheng were all on the range watching that day. I believe that Mr. Neal stopped the test early due to catastrophic failures of the Dragon Skin. There were also Army, AF, and USMC observed and reported failures of the DS armor in ballistic testing prior to the release of the Army Safety of Use Message in March 2006. The Dragon Skin armor design has a history of failure. Look at the Army PM report.

Would NBC allow soldiers to wear prayer beads and paper party hats as armor until the Army formally tested it and issued a soldier safety release?

Some people may think that Dragon Skin is the best out there, hands down, or that it is better than the Interceptor. Seemingly credible people also believe that they have seen UFOs, and that Elvis lives. That does not make it true.

The SOV 3000 Level IV Dragon Skin vests are too heavy, prone to failure under threat fire, and unreliable in extreme temps. I am not sure what role James Magee, Colonel, USMC (Ret.), the former President of Point Blank Body Armor, Inc. has in this, but there may be motives here that are currently unknown. I would be hesitant taking people’s own word for their expertise, especially given his position at Soldiers For The Truth (SFTT). His claim that he is the “inventor” of Interceptor body armor seems like a bit of a stretch as well, since people who have been on the Army body armor program since the late '90s do not recognize his name.

More stopping power and more coverage? Not exactly. In the Army tests, which cost the taxpayers over $250,000 just last year, stopping power of the Dragon Skin was questionable, as was the ability of the armor to maintain ballistic integrity in high temperatures typical of the AOR. More rifle coverage and less ballistic integrity for 20 lbs. of extra weight? Hmm, not sure I like that trade-off. The GAO seemed satisfied with the Army and Marine ESAPI programs as well in their report as of 26 April 2007.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) may, or may not have bought Dragon Skin for elite operatives in Iraq. I don’t have access to that information, but the CIA is not subject to US Army procurement policies or regulations. Ask them why they bought it, how it worked for them, and if they are still procuring it for their personnel.

Mr. Nevin Rupert now calls himself a whistleblower. He says the Army’s timing wasn’t coincidental. He claims that their loyalty is to their organization and maintaining funds. Rupert believes he was recently fired by the Army, he says, for supporting Dragon Skin.

There are plenty of disgruntled employees in every organization. I suspect that Mr. Rupert was relieved for cause. As a Federal employee, he cannot be terminated without good reason. I am sure that he would prefer that the details not be discussed, but I believe that his termination may have had to do with other matters than some dark conspiracy. He can open his employee files to the media if he really wants to.

Rupert also says he was ordered not to attend the May 2006 tests of Dragon Skin. If he was not able to be an impartial tester and finder of facts, as his job required, then what role was he to have played at the test? It would appear that the performance of the armor would speak for itself. And it did. It failed miserably, especially at temperature extremes, when most of the armor disks delaminated themselves and fell into a nice belt at the bottom of the vest. Not much protection down there, but I am sure they made a nice jingling sound as they were moved around.

As far as the officers and scientists involved in the testing, what interest would Army officers from combat arms have in supporting a lesser technology armor? Because it wasn’t invented by the Army? They don’t hold stock or care what the source of the armor is, just that it works. Do you really think that would put their brothers' lives at risk over some sort of parochial turf war? And their own as well, when they get issued the gear on their next deployment? I am sure that they would much rather be back in a unit rather than stuck in an office job pushing papers. I know I would.

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Continued:

I am not sure how things work in the news industry, but does Lisa Myers know everything her staff does or brings with them to shoots? Is she responsible for endorsing everything they do? Do they occasionally deviate from her guidance? Should we follow them with a camera and see?

Does she review and approve their expense accounts for company equipment? Can she provide a list of every item her crew carries, and the source of those items? Does her driver have clean underwear? Is she responsible for knowing that level of detail? Why should the general be?

NBC News claims to have commissioned an independent, side-by-side test of Dragon Skin and the Army’s Interceptor vest. According to them, Dragon Skin outperformed the Army’s body armor in stopping the most lethal threats.

There are only two labs that are National Institute of Justice (NIJ) certified to run NIJ body armor tests. They are the HP White Laboratory in Street, MD and US Test Labs in Wichita, KS. A third lab, Chesapeake Testing in Chase, MD, is under NIJ review for certification. Additional military facilities certify body armor performance for DoD. NBC does not own one of them, nor does NBC appear to be pursuing a scientific approach at a licensed facility. A proper test would require over two dozen SOV 3000 Level IV Dragon Skin vests to be placed on a human torso model and shot by specific threat rounds at a standard range and impact velocity, from specific angles and impact points, and under a variety of contamination and environmental conditions that soldiers might face in combat. Fresh off the manufacturing line ESAPI would be shot for comparison, if further certification or validation (already awarded to the ESAPI) was needed.

Was the “Interceptor” ESAPI armor NBC tested government issued or procured independently? The markings on the armor seen in the video are unfamiliar and they appear to be independently procured non-issue plates from non-standard or non-qualified vendors. Wouldn’t a fair test use the fresh issue ESAPI plates, like the Pinnacle armor provided? Are the alleged ESAPIs NBC tested fresh and certified current production? Did they come from Pinnacle or a surplus store dumpster? There are six qualified vendors that have passed ESAPI first article protocol. The vendors deny providing plates to NBC. And none of them are Canadian.

NBC has not yet mentioned what model Dragon Skin was shot. Apples have to be compared to apples. You can wear armor that will stop .50 BMG, but you will not be mobile in it. I can test a stock appearing Ford Mustang that has twice the rated horsepower too, but it doesn’t mean the one you buy will perform like it does.

What was their sample size? Did they shoot up 30 SOV 3000s or ESAPIs?

Where did they shoot it? From the video, it appears to be on a flat surface. Do you see a lot of soldiers shaped like doors? Is there a problem with testing it on a torso shaped platform, replicating the soldier that NBC is so concerned about? Did they test single and multiple round impacts on all four impact faces of the vests?

What weapon, projectile, and impact velocity did NBC use? There is only one Army performance standard for ESAPI body armor testing. Was it the prescribed threat level for testing that is required in the acquisition documents? Are we counting on the enemy firing only a single round at the Pinnacle SOV 3000 level IV Dragon Skin vest? What happens if he has plenty of ammo that day and shoots twice?

The Army conducted tests of both types of armor at the HP White test lab, the NIJ certified facility for testing body armor, in accordance with the required protocol for scientific testing. Where was the NBC test conducted? What were the protocols? What threats did the DS stop that the ESAPI did not? The Army used multiple environmental protocols designed to duplicate the different climates our soldiers serve under. Again, what protocols did NBC employ? If the user is sitting at a desk, clean and dry in a Forward Operating Base (FOB), as tested by NBC, the DS probably works fine. If the wearer has to go outside and deal with the weather, sweat, contamination, etc., according to the May 2006 test, it isn't going to stop Jack, half of the time (four out of eight vests failed in certified testing). Furthermore, a size extra large Dragon Skin weighs 47.5 pounds (vs. 28 pounds for the equivalent fitting OTV with ESAPI and ESBI side plates) for 743 sq. in. (vs. 720 for the Interceptor with ESAPI) of total coverage. With Interceptor Body Armor (IBA), rifle protection is the sum of the areas of the front and rear plates and the 2 side plates. The Pinnacle Dragon Skin armor does provide more rifle coverage, as long as it is climate controlled and not shot much, but at a significant weight penalty. I am sure that if I wanted to carry additional plates to equalize the weights, the ESAPI could have done even better.

Gary K. Roberts, DDS, Commander, US Naval Reserve is also cited as conducting a test of the DS armor. While he is a Navy dentist, and an alleged ammo expert, I am unsure how he has become a scientific tester of body armor, or what his official role is. He seems to be interested in environmental testing of body armor, but does not appear to be familiar enough with Military Standard (MIL STD) 810E/810F to understand the ESAPI test protocol. The Armored Mobility Inc. (AMI) armor used as a control in his test is not a military issued plate. He is also quoted on the Pinnacle web site. What was his involvement? Was his a sanctioned Navy test? If so, it failed to follow DoD or NIJ protocols. Was he testing on behalf of Pinnacle? Was he compensated for his testing? Who sponsored it? Unless Dr. Roberts, DDS is able to substantiate his testing as meeting the HP White and NIJ standards for body armor testing, I would have to discount the validity of this test as a basis for comparison with military or NIJ certification of the armor.

The alleged NIJ test that Pinnacle refers to on their web site did not follow the DoD armor test protocol either. NIJ certification tests do not include high temperature, low temperature, or temperature shock conditioning tests. NIJ test conditioning is limited to water spray, all done at ambient conditions. NIJ is looking at adopting temperature cycling and accelerated aging in the new revision, NIJ Standard 0101.05, to be published, but this test was not conducted to the Army standard, so for Army procurement, it is irrelevant. I have heard that law enforcement units who have the Pinnacle armor use one set for training, and keep another locked away in climate control for actual call-outs. Maybe they are aware of this problem as well.

Incidentally, it would appear that Pinnacle continues to have additional legal problems with the government, as the investigators continue probing them for their fraudulent NIJ certification claim problem.

There is a one-time failure policy in the test business for Resistance to Penetration (RTP) tests. Because an actual failure during use may be a death sentence. First shot complete penetrations are NOT allowed in the ESAPI RTP tests. These are considered catastrophic failures, resulting in automatic failure of the First Article Test (FAT). Ballistic limit (V50) tests are looking for 3 partials and 3 completes at the worst case shot location-a single disc area of coverage. The SOV 3000 failed RTP tests 50% of the time, as opposed to the issue ESAPI failing 0% of the time, at twenty pounds less weight. Not sure what kind of odds you like, but if it is my torso inside the vest, I would rather be lighter, faster and better protected over the cool guy factor, especially when it hits over 150 degrees in the back of the vehicle.

General Downing’s comments after observing the tests, even as an employee of NBC, were still non-committal. Perhaps he is aware of the protocol for testing body armor, and NBC’s compliance with that protocol, or lack thereof. Or perhaps not. He was a Ranger and a commander, after all, not a procurement officer.

So these independent, limited tests by NBC raise questions about the Army’s claims?

It would appear that Pinnacle already has some serious credibility issues, including claims posted on their web site. For example, despite Pinnacle's claim, US Army Special Forces Command, which equips all US Special Forces, has never heard of Pinnacle, much less purchased armor from them.

Why does NBC not speak with the purported father of flexible armor, Mr. Allan D. Bain, whose web site http://www.evolutionarmor.com/Flex.htm states:

“The fact is most of Pinnacle Armor's systems were invented by Allan D. Bain formally of Armor Technology Corp. Pinnacle Armor started manufacturing after we educated Mr. Neal how to make armor by contract executed in October of 2000 that was fair and honestly fulfilled. Pinnacle Armor and Mr. Neal never manufactured any body armor prior to this date. So if you hear about Pinnacle Armor or the "Dragon Skin" armor being manufactured since 1995 your talking about armor that Pinnacle Armor never made or developed. In fact Murray Neal was a sales representative for Armor Technology from 1997 - October of 2000 a company owned entirely by Allan D. Bain, the true inventor of Dragon Skin."

"There are quite a few reasons, and if you have read the Pinnacle Armor propaganda you will hear about tales of fraud, sabotage, and protection of the good old boy network as it relates to The "Interceptor Vest". I can tell you as someone who works with the military on this kind of endeavor there are a lot of reasons why this armor hasn't been universally adopted and the reasons above are basically false. The truth is Pinnacle Armor received clearance to forward samples to the Army and was paid 170,000 dollars, and that was after they were paid almost a 1,000,000.00 dollars to develop the armor from where we left off after we sold patent rights to Pinnacle Armor in October of 2000."

"The major flaw was not observing the Article One testing environmental conditioning protocol, which calls for the armor to withstand 165 degrees F for 6 hours. After five years of development and having the protocol in hand you would figure that the adhesive used to affix the tiles to the high strength fabric would be of the high temperature variety, it wasn't, and because of that these vests failed. OOPS!"

Essentially, the inventor of Dragon Skin freely admits that the current manufacturers of the armor are aware that it cannot handle temperature extremes without falling apart, and pretty much ripped the government off last time. Did NBC look into that?

Critics told NBC they’d like to see the Army re-test and re-evaluate Dragon Skin, so why not retest the DS vest now? Because it is too heavy, and not reliably bullet resistant. Warfighters want lighter and flexible, not heavier and flexible. What if Pinnacle has changed the adhesive? Will Pinnacle be recalling Dragon Skin armor with substandard adhesive manufactured before the Army discovered this shortfall? Well, I would hope so, after a free FAT test at taxpayer expense. All other vendors pay for the FAT if they fail, Army pays if they pass. Would Murray Neal like to donate another 30 vests for destructive testing? Even so, the Army may retest, at a cost of many more tax dollars since the Pinnacle vests are several thousand dollars each. At the end of it, will there be an expose by NBC on how the Army wastes our tax dollars retesting failed body armor? Why is NBC promoting this failed technology? What is their agenda?

For any vendor that wants to compete for Army body armor work, the system is evaluated against the ESAPI standard/requirements as stated in the performance specification-not evaluated against the IBA itself. If you meet the standard, you are eligible for an award if pricing is in the competitive range during Full and Open competitions. To my knowledge, Pinnacle has never responded to a Full and Open competition. Why doesn’t Pinnacle Armor compete for Army business like every other body armor vendor? Why should they get special treatment? It appears to me that Pinnacle is attempting to restrict competition. I wonder how other manufacturers of body armor that have passed the ESAPI FAT protocol feel about this?

What about it, Mr. Neal? Are you willing to ante up this time for a round of government testing, or do you just want to sell the Army another load of defective armor?

And for NBC, would this have been an even juicier story if the Army bought and issued the Dragon Skin, after knowing that it was inadequate and defective, and dozens of soldiers died? Again, this armor failed the Army tests, not slightly, not on a technicality, but miserably and utterly. The designer of the Dragon Skin armor himself admits its inadequacy. Yet some would like it fielded more widely. Look at the Army test results. They speak for themselves. As an American soldier, I am glad that the Army tested it and discovered the real truth, rather than listening to armchair quarterbacks, snake oil salesmen, and charlatans. This refusal to yield to the SFTT, Dr. Roberts, and NBC has saved soldiers' lives. And that is the real bottom line here.
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http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/795iwopr.asp?pg=2

NBC's Body Armor Embarrassment
Another failed attempt to paint soldiers as victims.
by Tom Donnelly
06/20/2007 11:14:00 AM



ONE OF THE RECURRING themes of press coverage of the Long War, and particularly the conflict in Iraq, is that soldiers are victims. According to this trope, soldiers and Marines are sacrificing themselves in a cause already lost, by an administration that cares little for the men and women in uniform. The proof of this last proposition was demonstrated to the media's satisfaction long ago, and confirmed for them in former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's proclamation that we went to war with the force we had rather than the one we'd liked to have.

Exhibit number one in the press's case for the prosecution was the question of armor protection for soldiers--not only armor for trucks and Humvees but individual body armor. Facts have never been allowed to get in the way of these stories--nor have questions about the tradeoffs between mobility and protection --and, if a recent report by NBC's Lisa Myers is any indication, they still aren't. In Myers's report, done in the classic "I-team" TV investigative style, NBC paid for an independent ballistics test comparing something called Dragon Skin body armor (so-called because it is made up of overlapping ceramic discs) with the Interceptor body armor now being worn by soldiers.

Far from being a case of independent investigation, the report smells more like a piece of special pleading. Dragon Skin is made by Pinnacle Body Armor, whose chief executive, Murray Neal, has long complained that the Army has been lying about his product. According to Myers, "In our limited testing at a renowned ballistics lab in Germany, Dragon Skin was able to defeat more bullets than the Army's Interceptor and did so with significantly less body trauma."

Employing yet another media-catnip tactic, Neal and his PR team have convinced some concerned parents that there may be something better than what the Army is supplying their children; they in turn have agitated for Congress to intervene. The House Armed Services Committee's once-moderate Democratic chairman Rep. Ike Skelton--whose son is a soldier, and who is apparently competing for the Iraq "oversight" job with more reliably left Rep. Henry Waxman--dutifully responded to the NBC broadcast by holding a hearing on the subject of body armor. Alas, the story soon deviated from the script.

In testimony to the committee, the Air Force related its history with Dragon Skin. While researching flexible body armor, the Air Force purchased some Dragon Skin for evaluation. However, after being notified of Dragon Skin test failures, the Air Force requested a live fire test, which Dragon Skin failed, resulting in a recall of all its Dragon Skin. As it happens, the Army has had a similar experience. It had purchased some Dragon Skin vests for use by its Criminal Investigations Command, but recalled the vests in April 2006, not only because of test failures, but because of false certification claims. Finally, under questioning from the committee's ranking Republican, Duncan Hunter, once an infantryman in Vietnam, one of NBC's "experts," upon hearing of the Army's experience, allowed that Dragon Skin was "not ready for prime time."

The NBC report, too, included questionable claims--and its tests were indeed "limited," falling far short of military standards. In fact, Pinnacle's Dragon Skin body armor has been tested a total of six times by the military, four times by the Army, and once each by the Air Force and Marines. It has failed every time.

On the Army's website you can see footage of Pinnacle's Murray Neal peering into a hole in ballistic clay--which simulates the human body--after a test round made a full penetration of his product. The Army standard is, not surprisingly, zero penetrations. According to the Army, Dragon Skin suffered 13 penetrations out of 48 test shots. The service also provided NBC with the results from a May 2006 test showing that Dragon Skin failed Army testing, "miserably" in the words of Brig. Gen. Mark Brown of the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

But why let the facts get in the way when you're retelling a story that fits the accepted narrative? The press and the leadership of the Democratic party, in the throes of an extended Vietnam flashback, have decided the war is lost. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even thinks he knows what's going on in Baghdad better than does Gen. David Petraeus, the commander on the scene. But the media and the Democrats still fear that their defeatist attitudes may alienate people in uniform, or Americans more broadly. Thus the need to cast soldiers as victims. The only victim in the body army story, though, is the truth.

Tom Donnelly is resident fellow in defense and national security studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

 
 
© Copyright 2007, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved. 
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Offline Red 6

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The US press has a miserable record of lambasting military equipment projects, which ultimately turn out to be effective weapons. Look at how 60 Minutes trashed the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in the 80s and now the Bradley has been in service for over 25 years. Has 60 Minutes ever put out another story about how many Soldiers have survived due to being protected by the Bradley's armor? I know several of them, including the guy who is typing this post right now. Look at how horribly the media portrayed the Apache helicopter and especially the M1 tank back in the 80s. Both were supposed to be examples of all that was wrong with the military-industrial complex in the USA.


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LWQ -- Keep in mind that Doc Roberts is an accepted Ammo expert, he worked with Fackler as his understudy and workis in conjunction with Buford Boone of the the FBI...
 -- he was also the one that blew the LeMas "blended metal" issue open (re-packaged vermit rounds at dangeorulsy high pressure - that several {inc me} had fallen for -- and that several of the PS folk are enamoured with (hence LTC Rapers attack on the good doc).
  Keep in mind he also tested the LIII DS vest - not the LIV one - and it was for a LE dept that was only interested in penetration -- not the temp testing and POL imersion tests the .mil does.
  I know and respect Tony -- but he does have a grudge with Doc Roberts, and IMHO in this issue its coloring what he says


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I bow to your experience (again) BUT if its true that the makers of Dragon Skin mislabeled on of their products intentionally (wrt ballistic protection) there is no excuse for that and I would be weary of the company in any other endeavors they partake in.
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Quagmire,

Thanks for the excellent coverage and supporting information.  I think you have eliminated any doubts as to which was better.

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I 6 was/is running with Dragon Skin.  I suggest you PM him for more info.
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Dont get me wrong -- I think what Pinnacle did was illegal and immoral -- and FWIW Doc GKR was syaing they need to be criminally prosecuted - like Second Chance and other where over the Zylon issue -- oh yeah the CF still uses Zylon  ::)

I6 was  ;) -- no problems so far -- no disk migration etc. 
  I think its kinda a BS test fwiw on the POL soaking -- since DS is soft armor and plate -- and if you had your soft armor soaked in POL you'd have to exchange it too -- BUT the fact Pinnacle lied on the tests - and the NIJ certification, and also has cheated on the weight issue (there large is medium in the accepted sizing).

   I think a DS style is a better system than the hard plate -- I can move and shoot a lot better with it - over the ESAPI -- BUT the current DS is not up to the grade -- better they shut their mouth and fix the problem than try to bamboozle people with an inferior product.

Search the LeMas Blended Ammo fiasco for a similar issue  ;)
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PM on the way...

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Just curious, are Canadian soldiers allowed to wear other body armors then issues? Has their been the same issues within the Canadian Army?

Thanks, Phil.

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no we aren't allowed.
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Offline philbm900

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What happens if they found that they arent using the proper one?

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charge of some kind, depending on who finds out and if they (the person with the non-issued gear) do or don't have their issued gear as well.  If they say worry something in addition too what they are issued it MAY not be as a big deal but since I don't charge people I wouldn't know for sure.
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