I just got back from an hour and a half briefing with PEO Soldier Gen. Pete Fuller and top PMs for the serviceâ€™s primary gear buying office.
Iâ€™ll be spiraling out tidbits throughout the day, but one thing I wanted to throw out there was to close the loop on the flexible small arms protective insert and vest testing issue and the Armyâ€™s rejection of the system as portrayed in the GAO report.
It turns out that only one vendor submitted a design to fulfill the Armyâ€™s requirement for a flexible armor system and you guessed it, it was Pinnacle, maker of Dragon Skin.
According to officials in the room, the vest suffered “catastrophic failures” during preliminary design review tests at Aberdeen a year ago.
“The flexible vendor had a direct penetration,” Fuller said flatly. Because of feedback from the Hill, the Army opened up the contract to any vendor — not just hard plate makers — to provide X and E SAP capability.
“We have shown that flexible is not working the way everybody thought,” Fuller added.
But the Army hasnâ€™t given up on a flexible armor system…
“Fort Benning has asked me pretty regularly ‘is there anything out there that would work in a weight weâ€™d like?'” said the program manager for Army armor, Col, Bill Cole. “Weâ€™re still looking. We havenâ€™t ruled it out completely but we havenâ€™t seized on anything that meets our requirements.”