It Was Dragon Skin All Along


I just got back from an hour and a half briefing with PEO Soldier Gen. Pete Fuller and top PMs for the service’s primary gear buying office.

I’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 Army’s rejection of the system as portrayed in the GAO report.

It turns out that only one vendor submitted a design to fulfill the Army’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 hasn’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 we’d like?'” said the program manager for Army armor, Col, Bill Cole. “We’re still looking. We haven’t ruled it out completely but we haven’t seized on anything that meets our requirements.”

— Christian

10 Comments on "It Was Dragon Skin All Along"

  1. Why is it that they cannot make armor sufficient for outer wear and they offer bullet resistant and Tac III Level Armor that looks just like ordinary Suit Jackets, shirts etc for Civies? Heck I am about ready to purchase a long jacket that will stop anything in my ammuntion chest. If I can do this, why cannot the Military do the same?

  2. I’m just confused. just Put our trips in knights armor

  3. Pinnacle should just go back to the drawing board and try again. Clearly they thought their product was a winner but in the end it didn’t measure up. Give them credit for attempting to make a product.
    However could we just be asking too much for our body armor and technology has not yet caught up with our needs yet? Modern body armor needs to protect from the following things:
    Shrapnel is first since thats why they were designed in the first place.
    Stopping rounds from pistol up to battlefield rifles.
    Concussive forces. The round has momentum that can also cause serious injury even if it does not penetrate. This is the same reason a weapon with a blank can kill you.
    If you try to make the product lighter, you usually do lose something in the trade off.
    For right now, we should be satisfied that companies are trying to improve on our equipment to protect our military from enemy action.

  4. Nano Armor?
    “In the coming year, Kong may also begin work on a more specialized version of the PNF. He has a proposal in to the U.S. Army to manufacture nanocomposite materials for lightweight armors.
    “The material I want to develop and produce will have multi-hit capability, up to large-caliber small arms, such as a sniper rifle,” Kong says. It’s possible his proposed nanocomposite armor could work against heavier projectiles, too, according to Kong, but such capabilities would require more work and more testing.
    Kong’s armor would contain layered composite materials made of lightweight metal and ceramic nanoparticles. His team would manufacture these composites with a new, special PNF. Using the existing, general-purpose PNF wouldn’t work, because the production of such materials is tricky and cannot tolerate any cross-contamination. Kong thinks the Army will make a decision about his proposal sometime during the current fiscal year.”

  5. So the FutureWeapons show where a live grenade was detonated under the Dragon Skin and had NO penetration was a hoax??
    Doesn’t the recent testing still go back to the problem that the labs were not independent and thus free from biases and subjective views or preferences towards certain vendors??

  6. Atacms,
    I think the grenade test you talk about was more a “best case scenario” rather than a hoax. My understanding is that Dragon Skin works very very well from particular angles, and very very poorly from others.
    There’s also problems with weight, as it’s heavier than the Interceptor. And if you leave Dragon Skin in a hot environment for too long, like the back of a car in the middle of summer (or the back of a Humvee in Iraq) the scales start to come loose and fall off.

  7. I still can’t believe how butt-ugly the new uniforms are. It looks like he is wearing pyjamas.

  8. It seems as though the Pentagon has changed its front man, Col.Pillsbury the dough boy.
    Now, instead of a whale in a US Army killer uniform, the Pentagon has substituted a suitably uniformed clone of “Zippy The Pin Head”.
    The Pentagon, is searching for the equivalent of turret armour that existed on battleships, and by wearing such, their soldiers can safely assault hills etc.
    This solution will keep the soldiers safer, however it will make them totally unable to move up hill.
    So the US assaults, must by necessity come from the top of the hill rather than the bottom.
    The US Army will become the world’s first Air Mobile Assault Maginot Line.
    The equivalent of Iwo Jima attacking San Diego.
    Heavily protected, and totally innefective.
    The US Military had better start a serious weight training program for its soldiers.
    Those very few that make it through this program, however won’t need to carry the armour, they will be able to kick the shit out of the Bengal Tiger eating Taliban with fly swatters.
    A Tiger tank for every US soldier would be the solution, why spend all that money for tens of thousands of battleship turrets?
    I am sure that Krupp still has the design specifications for their tanks. Just give them a call and order what you want.
    The Krauts will go into overdrive and fill the order in less time than it will take to get even a call back from General Dynamics.
    The Tiger tank turrets, should by all means however have the correct camouflage.
    Which of course they probably won’t.
    Then the info defense nerd dorks on this thread can endlessly discuss the camouflage subject.
    Over and out,

  9. atacms,
    There is a huge difference between the blast and fragmentation of a grenade and the penetration of armor piercing rifle rounds.
    The concealable armor you’re talking about won’t stop the same stuff military armor is designed for. The armor you’re talking about can stop pistols and some rifles, but probably can’t protect from blasts and armor piercing rounds.

  10. The grenade test you were refering to was not a real HE grenade, but it was a training grenade. They used a pyrotechnic charge for entertainment value for the show. You can't believe everything you see on TV. Go look at the video and pause it when they lift up the armor, you can clearly see the M67 training grenade still on the ground. The EOD guys made a flashy charge for the show. This was admitted in one of the earlier dragon skin threads.

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