by David Crane
DefenseReview has confirmed a report that Pinnacle Armor
met with General James R. Moran
, Commanding General, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center
and Program Executive Officer Soldier
), on January 17, 2006 in order to give him the opportunity to see the official DoD/military protocol test data on Pinnacle’s SOV/Dragon Skin body armor
. Upon viewing the data, Gen. Moran
informed Pinnacle Armor that he would conduct his own ballistic tests on the Dragon Skin
tech at only a civilian testing facility (of his preference) to lower test standards/protocols for the SAPI, ISAPI, and ESAPI plates that are below even civilian standards, not at a DoD facility to military test standards/protocols. We must say that General Moran’s testing plans seem strange to us.
Why would PEO Soldier want to test the Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin tech at a civilian test facility when the U.S. Army has two research and test facilities (ARL and ATC) very close to this civilian test lab? A Pinnacle Armor rep has informed Defense Review that Pinnacle Armor "asked to have the Dragon Skin armor as well as the current issue ESAPI armor tested at a DoD test facility side by side to DoD standards to which Gen. Moran adamantly refused."
Adamantly refused? Why? On what grounds?
It is confirmed that…
Gen. Moran now has in his possession ballistic test data/results clearly showing that Pinnacle Armor’s Dragon Skin body armor has been tested to DoD standards and exceeded each standard and far exceeded the standards to which the plate technology is tested at a civilian test lab. Is the DoD/U.S. Army on testing SAPI, ISAPI, and ESAPI plates (ceramic hard armor) below civilian standards? We can only speculate as to why the DoD/U.S. Army would want SAPI, ISAPI, and ESAPI plates and/or Dragon Skin (or any body armor tech for that matter) intended for military use to be tested to less than civilian standards, when our infantry warfighters are facing military-level ballistic threats (assault rifles, machine guns, etc.) from the enemy. If the DoD/U.S. Army is testing the SAPI, ISAPI, and ESAPI ceramic armor plates to lower standards, this could at least partially explain the durability issues that they suffer on the battlefield, as well as the same limited coverage U.S. infantry warfighters have had for the past ten years.
It’s probably time for some kind of Congressional intervention and oversight over ballistic armor procurement/adoption to ensure that our troops get the absolute best body armor available, anywhere. I think they deserve that. Right now, DefenseReview believes that the best anti-rifle level protection out there is Pinnacle Armor
Dragon Skin. But let’s make sure. Perhaps PEO Soldier and U.S. Army Natick would be willing to have an open side-by-side test of Dragon Skin
at the ARL and ATC test facilities, with a panel of independent evaluators present. If the Dragon Skin body armor proves to be superior in those tests, perhaps we can at least give our servicemen and women the choice (Dragon Skin or Interceptor). Perhaps someone in Congress can look into Natick’s
procedures and protocols and try to at least verify PEO Soldier’s and Natick’s ballistic test results claimed for Interceptor body armor
. The bottom line question has to be: Are our troops getting the absolute best armor available? Until PEO Soldier
can prove otherwise, we don’t think so. Based on what we currently know, we believe that Pinnacle Armor SOV/Dragon Skin body armor is hands-down superior to Interceptor body armor OTV
with USMC Interceptor SAPI
Here’s what we know: Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin has been in production since 1996, and is battlefield proven by almost every US Federal Agency. It’s been proven in real combat engagements against real enemy threats
. It is currently, hands down, superior to U.S. Army Natick’s Interceptor body armor (USMC Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System Outer Tactical Vest
with USMC Interceptor SAPI
/ISAPI/ESAPI) with regard to surface area of coverage, protection level (ballistic threat level and multi-hit capability), durability, longevity, and wearability. Note: If U.S. Army PEO Soldier and Natick Soldier Center/Soldier Systems Center have ballistic test evidence and/or field evidence to refute this, DefenseReview would very much like to see it. Dragon Skin is so durable that it can be dropped from a two-story window with no ill effects. You don’t have to handle it with care like you do with conventional ceramic plates (ceramic hard armor plates). Dragon Skin’s performance is guaranteed for the life of the warranty (6 years). When a standard-coverage Dragon Skin vest is compared to standard coverage Interceptor armor, Dragon Skin offers a greater coverage area at the same weight. When a full-coverage Dragon Skin vest is compared to Interceptor body armor with side plates attached, the same holds true.
Is the current playing field level? Is Pinnacle Armor getting a fair shot (excuse the pun) against U.S. Army Natick’s Interceptor Body Armor? If not, will Gen. Moran and others at PEO Soldier/Natick level the playing field and expedite honest evaluation standards/protocols so that our infantry warfighters at least get the chance to choose an alternate technology like Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin when they go into harm’s way? Since our warfighters’ lives are on the line, they deserve every viable option existent.
Defense Review is still in the process of trying to secure an interview with Gen. Moran, in order to get his side of the story. This is only fair. He deserves a chance to respond. With regard to Pinnacle Armor officials, we’ve already interviewed a company representative. We plan to publish excerpts from all interviews as soon as we can.
Note: Defense Review has been in contact with the PAO (Public Affairs Officer) at PEO Soldier in an attempt to secure an interview with General Moran and get his side of the story. We have, so far, been unsuccessful in reaching Gen. Moran for comment.
The following are links to previous DefRev articles on the ongoing Pinnacle Armor SOV/Dragon Skin vs. Interceptor Body Armor situation (in order from most recent to least recent):
The following are links to previous DefRev Articles on performance and technical aspects of Pinnacle Armor SOV/Dragon Skin body armor (most recent to least recent):