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Comments by YACCS
Saturday, April 01, 2006

So why won't the Army let your child protect themself?

Pinnacle Armor

Armor Banned by Army Banned by Air Force

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 20 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A brand of body armor banned by the Army also failed Air Force tests and some of the vests were recalled, Army officials said Friday in defending their decision to require that soldiers wear only protective gear issued by the military.

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, who manages the buying of body armor, dismissed claims by California-based Pinnacle Armor and other companies their gear can match Army-issue armor.

"They have not been tested," Sorenson told reporters. "They have not passed the rigor that we put into standards determining whether something is safe, effective and suitable."

Under a new Army directive, soldiers can no longer wear any commercially bought body armor. The Army said it cannot guarantee the quality of the commercial armor, and any soldier wearing it will have to turn it in.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Friday there are no plans to enforce such a policy across all the military services.

Sorenson also referred briefly to the recall of Pinnacle vests by "another service," but didn't name the Air Force. He added that any soldiers who defy the order and wear commercial armor could be disciplined.

This is about to be a shitstorm of trouble for the Army.

First of all, they're lying about the tests

Dragon Skin Shows Its Stuff

By Nathaniel R. Helms

Pinnacle Armor Company, the makers of Dragon Skin body armor, recently offered the public a demonstration of its body armor intended to convince even the most skeptical observor that Dragon Skin body armor is markedly superior to the Interceptor OTV body armor currently issued to America's war fighters.

The Fresno, CA-based company has been trying to get the Pentagon's attention for more than five years. According to witnesses familiar with Pinnacle's efforts the Natick Soldier System's Center in Massachusetts, PEO Soldier at Ft. Belvoir, VA, , and TSM Soldier at Ft. Benning, GA (TRADOC Systems Manager Soldier) were given the Pinnacle SOV-2000 "Dragon Skin" technology and allowed to select the rounds and shot placement to test it five years ago. The tests subsequently conducted showed Dragon Skin surpassed all other body armor technologies available at the time, Army tests revealed.

Witnessed statements were later made the same year to Pinnacle president Murray Neal - the inventor of Dragon Skin armor and its patent holder - by Natick Soldier Systems Center's program scientist Dr. James Zheng, who reportedly said, "The SOV Dragon Skin system will never be fielded unless the technology and intellectual property are turned over to Natick Soldier Systems Center," according to sources who spoke with DW upon assurances of anonymity. Neal never did give up his secrets and Pinnacle never received an Army or Marine Corps contract.

Not to be deterred Pinnacle has pressed on ever since. Its most recent attempt to prove its case came January 26 and 27 when the company organized a live firepower demonstration for national television in which an off-the-shelf Dragon Skin SOV-2000 body armor vest was blasted repeatedly by a Fresno, CA SWAT officer. The police officer fired 40 single shots of 7.62 X 39mm ball ammo from an AK-47 assault rifle and 210 rounds of 9mm ball ammo in both single shots and three-round bursts from an H&K MP5 sub-machinegun into the vest at very close ranges.

Neal said his company wanted to do a side by side shoot off against the Interceptor OTV system when Catch-22 reared its irksome head. Although Interceptor OTV is available for public purchase it is against federal law to possess unless the purchaser is an authorized member of the Armed Forces. Interceptor OTV manufacturer Point Blank Body Armor Co. makes that perfectly clear in a warning it carries on its web site that civilian ownership of Interceptor OTV body armor is against the law:

"Point Blank's Military version of the Interceptor™ OTV is manufactured for the sole use of the United States Military. Resale of the Military version of the Interceptor™ OTV to persons other than the United States Military is prohibited and subject to legal action."

Perhaps more important, BG James R. Moran, Commanding General, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center and Program Executive Officer Soldier (PEO Soldier), the chief of the Interceptor OTV program, refuses to allow any such test side-by-side test to proceed on his watch, according to a report published February 17 in

The news hounds should have asked the enlisted warrior standing in the background after Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Sen. Jon Warner (R.–VA) assured the American public the Pentagon had the body armor situation well in hand. The enlisted man was wearing his complete OTV outfit including the new E-SAPI side inserts. One enterprising reporter who did talk to the soldier found out the guy never wore all that stuff in combat because it didn't allow him to move. Unlike Dragon Skin, which can be wrapped around a basketball, OTV is too rigid for comfort, the man said.

"I can't even put my arms down [in Interceptor OTV armor]," the unidentified war fighter reportedly complained.

To be fair it is essential to reiterate once again that the Interceptor OTV body armor system is good body armor. In fact it is eons ahead of the so-called "flak jackets" that preceded it. To claim, however, that the Interceptor OTV system is the best body armor money can buy is utter nonsense. Several hundred Marines and a single Soldier identified by the U.S. Army who died while wearing Interceptor OTV can attest to the body armor's shortcomings. The proof lies beneath their headstones.

In the meantime Dragon Skin is already out there, it works, and it is immediately available for mass production. If the Pentagon had spent as much time and money trying to acquire Dragon Skin as it has defending its untenable claim that Interceptor OTV is the best body armor in the world the process could already be moving forward.

Maybe next time!

Then, of course, there was the test which allowed generals to use the Dragon Skin in Afghanistan.

This a $5K piece of equipment, people have taken home loans out to buy this. If DOD and the DA thinks this is going to just be another ruling in their 'not invented here' syndrome which is Army tradition. I doubt wives and mothers are going to be cool with this.

My bet is that the Army will have to explain this to Congress within a week or so

The Army wants to claim they did test it, and there is no evidence that they did, just an order to suppress its use. I can bet you that order doesn't affect Delta or Dev Group, who uses what they want.

posted by Steve @ 12:02:00 AM

12:02:00 AM

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