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Army Modifies Body Armor RFP

I've been following a strange story of the body armor the Army uses to protect soldiers in Iraq, with two podcasts on the subject. Today I read that the Army has issued a change to their RFP for body armor that would be more inclusive of the flexible type of armor that Pinnacle Armor makes, their Dragon Skin product. The due date was moved out a month. Defense Tech reports:

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 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.


I'm sure this is a result of the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the matter I excerpted in my last podcast. The Congressman wanted to provide an opportunity for Pinnacle to compete, despite their history of innuendo, deceit, and misrepresentation.


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Comments (6)

Hey - Dragon Skin works fin... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Hey - Dragon Skin works fine. All you have to do is put a big target on the front in the thick spot, so the bad guys will hit the part that actually works.

What I've read of this flap... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

What I've read of this flap is the Army used it's existing specs to test the Dragonskin body armor. It didn't meet the standards that were used for the existing armor.

So, some TV news magazine is going to save the world and gets the Dragonskin armor, takes it to some independent lab and through testing determines it is superior to the current body armor.

After that I read analysis of that testing at a couple of sites provided by current and recently separated military. Their assertion was that the testing at the private lab was not as thorough as the testing done by the Army. They further asserted that in their experience Dragonskin wasn't as good as the currently used armor.

So, some Congressman has to get into the act, hold hearings to try to prove that the Pentagon and Bush aren't providing the very best body armor to the troops. Da da da da! The congressional hearings are going to save the world and all the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to boot they might be able to mould another rhetorical club to use for bashing Bush.

John in CA,The heari... (Below threshold)

John in CA,
The hearings were 99% free of Bush Bashing. Almost all the Congressmen's wrath was directed at Pinnacle, not at the Army. Go listen to the excerpts of the hearing and you'll get a flavor for the mood. Even the democrats were on the side of the defense department in this spat. As a result of the hearing, a potentially superior product will get a chance to be tested, even though it failed previous Army tests.

You mean those congressiona... (Below threshold)
Allen:

You mean those congressional hearings work? Surprising, isn't it?

Off-topic:I just n... (Below threshold)
sandy burger:

Off-topic:

I just noticed that wizbangblog.com is bannned in Thailand, and I thought you might want to know (if you don't already).

Congratulations!

he hearings were 9... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
he hearings were 99% free of Bush Bashing. Almost all the Congressmen's wrath was directed at Pinnacle, not at the Army.

Charlie, you are right. Color me surprised. I failed to realize that Duncan Hunter is on that committee. Say what we will about his reiteration of his son's presence in Iraq/Afghanistan, he's a serious defense representative. I did jump to a conclusion about what the hearing would be like. I suppose I am just conditioned to that when democratics are involved with anything to do with this war and the DoD.

The Pinnacle team did not represent themselves very well.

Based on the reports I've read from Army guys who have knowledge of the Dragonskin and Interceptor controversy, I was skeptical of what NBC and the committee was trying to prove.

I'm sure of what NBC was trying to prove. They were trying to create a controversy. I'm sure Pinnacle played right along with them.

I commend the committee for having a good hearing.




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