Gen. R. Mark Brown, Program Executive Officer Soldier agreed
to release a June 2006 test results rebuffing claims that commercially
available body armor is supperior to the
Interceptor Body Armor the Army issues to warfighters. Gen.
Brown said the Army had been reluctant to release test results
that could inform the enemy of U.S. capabilities. "Right
now, we believe it's critical that our Soldiers have confidence
in their equipment and that their families know force protection
is the Army's number one priority," Brown said. (more...)
the decision to release May 2006 test data is an assertion by
Pinnacle Armor Inc. of unfair treatment. The issue surfaced
again in this week's investigative
report aired by NBC. Pinnacle, based in Fresno, Calif.,
is the manufacturer of Dragon
Skin SOV3000 body armor, which Brown said failed "catastrophically"
when it was tested by HB White Labs in Street, Md., one of two
labs in the nation certified by the National Institute of Justice.
"It failed to stop 13 of 48 [first- or second-round] test
shots," Brown said of the testing at H.P. White. "The
CEO and vice president of Pinnacle witnessed it. One bullet
penetration is cause for failure to meet the Army's standard."
According to Gen. Brown, Pinnacle's Dragon Skin SOV3000 body
armor was subject to the same fair and independent testing,
in a variety of environmental conditions, as products from the
six producers of the Army's current body armor. All six of the
current producers passed every test with zero failures, which
is the standard. In addition to failing ballistic testing, Dragon
Skin is also operationally unsuitable because of its greater
weight and bulk and compared with the Army's body armor. Depending
on size, Pinnacle is 46% to 70% heavier than the current IBA.
"We are trying to make the armor lighter, not heavier,"
Brown said. It should be noted, however, that DragonSkin provides
full side protection with the baseline system, while IBA requires
two additional ESBI modules which add more weight to the system.