Dragon Skin fails in independent testing

Via a reader: Experimental flexible armor fails Army testing

Comments

  1. The tests were done by H.P. White, an independent ballistic testing lab in Street, Md.’ quoted straight from the MSN article. I seem to recall it being mentioned elsewhere that no other body armor manufacturer would agree to being tested at HP White because HP White not only favored Natick, but there was some question as to the impartiality and fairness of thier testing. In other words, I have a feeling someone is trying to screw pinnacle again. ‘Defense Review also viewed a letter from ATC containing information that proves that SOV/Dragon Skin did NOT fail any U.S. Air Force test or requirement, as has been stated by certain parties in the U.S. Army. We viewed the relevant information ourselves.’ From Defense Review

  2. What nonsense. I hate to throw out these kinds of ideas, but I think the Army is letting its contracts take priority over body armor effectiveness. Pinnacle has produced more than enough information proving that Dragon Skin is the most effective body armor currently on the market, but for some reason the Army continues to undermine its credibility by first ordering its soldiers not to wear the product, and then conducting these ‘tests’. Either because of politics, or money, or anything else just as stupid, Pinnacle is getting shafted and US Army soldiers are getting worse. (By the way, I know the Air Force loves Dragon Skin. Does anybody know what the USMC thinks?)

  3. Oh my G-d. It sounds like computer wars. Apple is better… No MS is better. Look guys, no offense, but I’ll take the Pentagon’s word. Wanna prove them wrong? Then find someone to sponsor a third party, no holds barred test. I really can’t see someone up there saying,’Gee, This Dragon Skin stuff rocks, but since we don’t like Pinnacle, it is better that some GIs die.’

  4. One thing I noticed in the article, was that the guy from Pinacle said the Dragon Skin stopped AK rounds. IBA with the plates will stop 7.62 NATO M80 ball ammo (it’ll hurt, but it won’t go through.) In the famous video of the US soldier getting shot in the chest, then getting up and taking cover behind his HMMWV, he was shot with an SVD (7.62x54R caliber). Both of those rounds are considerably more powerful than that fired by the AK-47 (7.62x39mm). This might be the test Dragonskin failed.

  5. I think the real issue is that we do not know what ‘test’ it failed. It is entirely possible that the Dragon skill passed every ballistic test and still failed because of maintence or support issues. My understanding of the issue is that Dragon Skins main problem is that A) it costs about 4x currrent body armor and B) Pinnacle lacks the capability produce the armor in sufficient quantities.

  6. My background is in law enforcement, not the military. Still, there are a few simularities. For one, everyone always wants new gear for the cops. People claim that lives will be lost if this new gear doesn’t show up. ‘We are just thinking of our brave boys in blue!’, they always claim. That is fine so far as it goes, but I notice that the people who scream the loudest never actually need to use the gear, and they don’t really know what they are talking about. They just hear the manufacturer, someone who stands to profit from selling the gear, say that it is all due to corruption that their new pie-in-the-sky stuff isn’t in every squad car or on everyone’s belt. Sound familiar? Another problem is money, a real world consideration if I have ever heard one. The Army alone paid about $500 million over the past three years to upgrade our troop’s armor and buy new sets. We have all heard reports about how there are problems procuring enough rounds for the troops small arms, problems getting humvees armored up, problems getting spare parts for the vehicles we do have, etc. Shortages mean cost overruns or doing without, and people are already complaining about the deficit and military spending. Congress has slashed the number of new aircraft the Air Force is going to get, and the Navy won’t get their new DD(X) boat after all because there just isn’t enough money. Yet people who favor a new body armor system never bother to think about the resources needed to make things happen. Another $2 billion or so? Hey, the only reason we don’t buy the new gear RIGHT NOW is because of vested interests, bureacratic inertia and greed! It’s all another conspiracy, and our brave men and women in uniform are paying the price! Even if the new gear provides some sort of advantage, couldn’t it be that concerned people have to make hard choices based on the real world? Last time I checked, the real world isn’t perfect and we all have to make our own choices between what we want and what we can do. Why is it different for the Pentagon? James

  7. Well, coming at this from a scientific/mathematical perspective, I would say that assuming the problem with this armour is the cost, the best solution would be to: * Gather statistics on what the most dangerous jobs, where soldiers are likely to be shot in ways which the Dragon Skin armour will protect them better than the Interceptor armour, for whatever reason (e.g. differing body coverage). * Make an estimate of how many lives the improved armour would save for each of these job categories, if the money could be found. * Based on the estimated number of lives saved vs. the cost of providing the armour, make a decision of how many units to acquire. If, say, 10% of soldiers are 5% likely to be shot with a high-powered round each year, while the other 90% are 1% likely or less, then perhaps buying this armour for those 10% makes financial sense, vs. spending the money on other things like armoured vehicles, reconnaissance – other things which can save soldiers’ lives too. It’s a basic cost/benefit analysis. You find the break-even point, below which it isn’t worth acquiring additional expensive sets of armour (vs. say equipping more people with the cheaper armour). The other disadvantage, of course, is the logistics of dealing with more than one type of armour. But it’s not that bad, and probably ultimately worth the bother. Another possibility is identifying those people for whom the extra mobility might be beneficial – more beneficial than the protection against higher-powered rounds that Interceptor may provide. For example, special forces soldiers may be too hampered by Interceptor. So, it might make sense to get the Dragon Skin for them. I’m still waiting to find out more information about these tests. I thought this might happen, but I’m not convinced there isn’t something funny going on. The Military/Industrial complex is real, and a problem.

  8. And what about all the troops that BOUGHT THE ARMOR WITH THIER OWN MONEY and then were told not to wear it? You think the Civilian Contractors over there would be wearing Dragon Skin if it wasn’t working? (Yes, I mean the Mercs, lets not get into that argument.)

  9. And what about all the troops that BOUGHT THE ARMOR WITH THIER OWN MONEY and then were told not to wear it? Military discipline must be maintained, particularly in a combat zone. Something tells me that this was a decision made to avoid moral problems and a breakdown in discipline more than anything else. You think the Civilian Contractors over there would be wearing Dragon Skin if it wasn’t working? I don’t remember anyone saying that it doesn’t work, just that the advertised increase in effectiveness might not exist. I specifically said that the armor might not provide enough of an increase in performance to warrant the huge expense to replace our current gear. Not to mention that there just might not be enough money in the budget, at least if we don’t want to skimp somewhere else. Since no one said that the armor won;t work, it looks to me like you are trying to construct a straw man. Let us try to keep polite here. We all want the same thing here. James

  10. IBA may stop one NATO or SVD 7.62 round. After that, you are wearing a bag of dust.’ Negative. IBA is rated to stop multiple 7.62×51 impacts, up to and including AP. I have personally witnessed it stop multiple AK rounds. Granted these are 7.62×39 and less powerful, but this type of armor does not shatter on impact.

  11. A couple of points from the peanut gallery. There is a good point to be made about the interceptor armor’s soft armor component being not up to snuff. ‘In theory’, the PEO is working it. The main issues are flexibility, weight and heat retention. The hoped magic wands – development of 100 watt micro turbines, integrated thermal electric coolers, and shear thickening liquid armor. The current interceptor armor has two huge advantages over Dragon armor. 1- Interceptor armor is easily upgraded by upgrading the plates. This also translates to a much easier logistics. 2- The plates are not proprietary – Thus the army can get upgrades from any source. Given the Army’s experience with Colt and other proprietary suppliers, the Army is very leery of any critical equipment item being sourced from a proprietary sole supplier.

  12. From all reports I have seen Dragon Skin is equal if not superior to the current armor system. Now with the ‘additions’ we have to put on our IBA it significantly increases the weight and reduces mobility. I weigh 130lbs and my body armor with shoulder daps, esapi front and side plates, side daps, nut protector, throat protector , and my ammunition and water weighs 67 lbs. That is over half my body weight. The temps are averaging 109 degrees. Foot patrols can last from 4-6 hours during the day. Combine those factors and it spells disaster. Firing from the prone is next to impossible and driving a HMMWV is a royal pain. I would glady sign a waiver to allow me to wear dragon skin. The Army is stubborn. Plain and simple. The new tech they are so proud to pass out to us is 9 times out of ten 1st gen tech when 3rd or 4th gen tech is available. Dragon Skin is a threat and it will be surpressed by the Army.

  13. It would be really informative and helpful if the Army would reveal which tests in particular the dragon skin armor failed. So far as I can tell they haven’t done so, they merely said,’It failed our test.’ For all you know they could have tested the armor against a HMG and said it failed If one reads up the history of the M-16 before it made it’s way into GIs’ hands, the Army was flat out against the new rifle and favored the M-14. In the Army’s test of the M-14, AK-47 and AR-15(what the rifle was called before M16), the Army failed the M-16, insisting only the M-14 was suitable. Fortunately saner heads prevailed in the 1960s. I would not be suprised if Army biasness were the real factor here.

  14. The 5.56 round was not favored by the army. If they had a choice, they would probably gone with a 7.62 assault rifle. But the M16 didn’t have much competition, and that’s why it’s still in use.

  15. Ok, so there are lots of things on this post. Let me speak from a soldiers point of view. Screw everything anyone has to say about anything else. When you are in the sand box, all that matters(or should matter) is saving an american’s life. I dont care about money, or politics or anything else. All i know is, if im taking hits – I want whatever is going to keep me breathing. As far as Dragonskin, I am watching future weapons as we speak and after taking multiple 9m, 5.56 and 7.62 rounds, the host set the dragonskin vest on a frag grenade and set it off. Guess what, not even a loosened thread. No holes, no rips and no tears. Its got my vote.

  16. The reason is money. Since the army will not say what test failed, (and yet every other independent test says DragonSkin is better) I can’t think of any other reason. Think of it, the Army has already bought 1000s upon 1000s of their armor, are they really going to dump all that and say they are wrong?

  17. I think it will be working our way through the inventory on hand and maybe granting license for manufacture. I also think that when enough contractors are hit by big enough stuff and walk away it may raise a question, BUT(!) the grunt belongs to Uncle Sam and he’s going to make it be done his way. There will never be waivers to allow use of personally selected armor since that’s not a top-down management philosophy. I was thinking of leasing a set for a buddy going to the Afghan playland. Guess this rules that out…

  18. Not to drag up an old thread (okay, I’m dragging up an old thread…) Since Dragonskin just passed the NIJ level III certification, I think it is time to revisit this, especially after at least two sources have been dissed over on professionalsoldiers.com (google: dragonskin professional soldier, and then look up the last page). They discount any information from SFTT.ORG and defensereview.com as being ‘internet tabloid’. I wonder if the posted NIJ certification is ‘internet tabloid’. I also notice Karl Masters hasn’t posted anything since his comments about ‘recommending dragonskin for the insurgents cause it sucks so bad’ came to light. Any thoughts?

  19. [i]Military discipline must be maintained, particularly in a combat zone. Something tells me that this was a decision made to avoid moral problems and a breakdown in discipline more than anything else.[/i] I’ve heard this from some individuals who serve in the military, so this is at best second hand knowledge: The reason for the prohibition on self-bought body armor was because combat medics are trained to know how to release standard military issue body armor in a few seconds. Wounded soldiers wearing non-standard body armor would find themselves in a situation where the medic could not quickly figure out how to remove the armor and administer treatment. I also seem to recall that the prohibition only came after the military finally got to providing all soldiers with the necessary armor. So it wasn’t as though they were telling soldiers to go without body armor, but rather to use that which was approved and provided by the military.

  20. Dragon Skin failed tests conducted under real-life conditions. In a high-temperature, high-humidity setting, the adhesives used to hold the armor plating together failed. In Iraq, the temperature gets up to 114 F, and obviously the soldier is going to sweat. Also, more expensive armor might mean less air support, or less smart bombs. There are trade-offs.

  21. Okay, SFTT hasn’t picked this up so I thought I would pass this along. http://www.evolutionarmor.com/Flex.htm Right now, I don’t think anyone is telling the whole truth between the DS and INterceptor crews. I’ve said before, something stinks…now I can’t tell from which direction.

  22. Quote from Raffles: If one reads up the history of the M-16 before it made it’s way into GIs’ hands, the Army was flat out against the new rifle and favored the M-14. In the Army’s test of the M-14, AK-47 and AR-15(what the rifle was called before M16), the Army failed the M-16, insisting only the M-14 was suitable. Fortunately saner heads prevailed in the 1960s. Not true the M-14 was in service from after the Korean War and Vietnam. That M-16 was a candidate for replacement of the M-14 as the M-14 was deemed old technology and cumbersome. The reason the M-16 was chosen was the weight, weight of ammunition, maintenance (Even tho the army never trained this until the M16A1 started failing constantly in battle) Good reading material at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M14_rifle

  23. I’ve read all the hoopla about which is better, Dragonskin or Interceptor. I currently use a more advanced vest than the Interceptor with type IIIA panels w/ front & rear SAPPI level IV plates. The plates will do the job just fine. I was persuaded to go against Dragonskin based on words I heard from a H.P.White lab worker who was in a Class that I instructed a while back. But, when I reapproached this guy to get a hold of the failure data, I got the run-around on who to talk to to get the data. The ‘Old Man’ upstairs at H.P.White is shall we say; ‘Very Stingy’ with the results of the testing. In order to get the results, you have to get permission from both him and Pinnacle Armor. I tried, didn’t happen. Even when I tried the backdoor approach, no results! I just reviewed the independent results from the side-by-side test results done in Germany. The Interceptor had numerous failures. Dragonskin, no failures! Now suffice to say, I smell a huge RAT in all of this. The fact is, at present no other armor makers anywhere in the world have anything better than Dragonskin. That leaves plenty of reason for those who sale a less capable product to fear a superior product and bad mouth it’s capability to sway sales in favor of something that they don’t have or have access to make money from! No worry, it’ll catch up with them all. I figure Dragonskin is the tip of the iceberg in new inovative armor designs. The future is bright in that realm. Hopefully, the servicemen & women will be supplied with such capability. I am going to replace my type IIIA armor panels with Dragonskin panels soon. But, the Level IV plates are going to stay! BCH

  24. Ok, I’ve seen alot of people posts start with ‘I’m not in the military, but…’ I’m in the military. I’m active duty U.S. Army, in a Combat Arms MOS. If you wore the armor I have sitting in the back of my car outside, you would beg for Dragon Skin. Bet none of you on this site realize that Interceptor armor is listed as Fragile do ya? Yeah, it’s rated at 7.62, but made to break up to take the impact. It can’t stand multiple rounds period. I have a pair of ‘$200.0’ dollar ballistic glasses that my supply hands out to anyone that asks… I myself have gotten 3 pair in the last 6 months. $200 is what is listed as ‘cost’ in supply receipts. Actually worth maybe $30.00… The only people that realize how much the Army wastes is military personnel, and even then… old heads don’t wanna bear any speaking against the government… because you’re just not supposed to… since they so graciously pay us… The thing is, certain people can be taught to go with what you got, and the Army definitely teaches this. I could go on, but basically, there are things that are universally known, but not said. Those in power spend money where it benefits themselves, and money means more than the lowly E-1 to E-4 lives… which makes most of the army. Lower enlisted die more, there are more of us. We are the new, the underexposed to training. I’ve been in the Army for almost 2 years… No COIN (counter-insurgency)training, no IED training… anyway… lucrative contracts mean more to my life. We in the military know it, most just give up and accept it.

  25. Ok, I’ve seen alot of people posts start with ‘I’m not in the military, but…’ I’m in the military. I’m active duty U.S. Army, in a Combat Arms MOS. If you wore the armor I have sitting in the back of my car outside, you would beg for Dragon Skin. Bet none of you on this site realize that Interceptor armor is listed as Fragile do ya? Yeah, it’s rated at 7.62, but made to break up to take the impact. It can’t stand multiple rounds period. I have a pair of ‘$200.0’ dollar ballistic glasses that my supply hands out to anyone that asks… I myself have gotten 3 pair in the last 6 months. $200 is what is listed as ‘cost’ in supply receipts. Actually worth maybe $30.00… The only people that realize how much the Army wastes is military personnel, and even then… old heads don’t wanna bear any speaking against the government… because you’re just not supposed to… since they so graciously pay us… The thing is, certain people can be taught to go with what you got, and the Army definitely teaches this. I could go on, but basically, there are things that are universally known, but not said. Those in power spend money where it benefits themselves, and money means more than the lowly E-1 to E-4 lives… which makes most of the army. Lower enlisted die more, there are more of us. We are the new, the underexposed to training. I’ve been in the Army for almost 2 years… No COIN (counter-insurgency)training, no IED training… anyway… lucrative contracts mean more to my life. We in the military know it, most just give up and accept it.

  26. Sorry guys, but the Pentagon has too much of a sordid past (Remember the Bradley? How about the Sgt. York? The unarmored Humm-Vs?) to be trusted with something so important with someone that has a proven agenda.

  27. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYvfxvDwJxA&feature=related http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/15665507/detail.html http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/03/10/pharma.water1/index.html?iref=newssearch AMERICA IS DOOMED SEE WHY! THIS IS NOT A JOKE DO SOME RESEARCH ! the U.S.A is doomed see why! Current mood: excited Category: Life and now this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T74VA3xU0EA and now i will take away your gun rights so you can’t fight and my new world order is to put something in your water so that all of the world will die slowly of disease,fammin, check the news and see that i have already started the debate on your second amendmendt to bare arms.and they have found the floride and other drugs in your water. and the global warming is to help and i will also lock up all the money in the world through your banking systems so that you cannot run or hide from the new world order. so i am giving the world 2 months to take out your money and all people of the world that has any bills that they pay i will attack them first . because you are helping my army to grow buy all the credit and the world economy will crash now check here is ware i did my first push see it here. http://article.wn.com/view/2008/03/20/Economist_Fed_Congress_missed_chance_to_avoid_recession/?section=TopStoriesWorldwide&template=worldnews%2Findex.txt watch your weather , and the news for my army is now compleat and we are setting up for the attack so if you belive in your goverment they are all liers and they will help me as of today!

  28. I test body armor and would like to say a few things. It seems most of the people who support Dragonskin are uneducated about armor and how it works, and have only seen TV reports glorifying the technology. Remember that these are first and formost entertainment programs and do not always accurately convey the facts. There is a media hype over the Dragonskin, mostly because of the enthusiasm of it’s supporters and not because of it’s performance. As far as multiple hit protection in plate based armor like Interceptor, a critical force needs to be surpassed in order to break the plates. As for wearing a bag of dust, that’s just not realistic. If a bullet of high enough mass is fired which hits with a critical speed a plate will break, but until then it can stop hundreds of rounds. Once it does break it will likely continue to offer protection unless you are hit in the exact same place, which is unlikely. Dragon skin uses the same materials in its plates but because they are smaller plates, they are subject to much less bending and are therefore less likely to break. This also means that you feel the impact more. DS offers the same area of protection as IBA, but greater mobility and much lower weight which is a major issue especially if you’ve ever had to wear one of these. As far as the army not allowing soldiers to wear DS, the ban is not limited to DS armor, but all armor that is not army issued. This is to prevent soldiers from buying and wearing inadequate armor, not to ostracise Pinnacle Armor. Based on performance, weight and mobility, I would reccomend Dragon Skin Armor. It offers the same degree of protection at half the weight and allows greater mobility which is critical in combat. The problem however is cost and production. For one, the DS costs almost 4 times as much as IBA and would run the army 700 million to fit all of its soldies with the new armor. Considering the difficulty passing the Pentagon’s budget last year alongside still growing public discontent with the war, that’s simply not feasible. Furthermore Pinnacle Armor lacks the production facilities to produce sufficient quantity of the vests. Most important is it’s inability to date to achieve NIJ certification. Personally I feel that IBA armor is effective and should continue to be used to provide ballistic protection for our soldiers. Where we need to be focusing armor funding is not on improving ballistic protection but rather concussion protection. Instead of stopping bullets from penetrating vests, which IBA does a great job of already for most situations that combat soldiers will realistically face, we need to improve explosive protection. Specifically in helmets, greater shock absorption would benefit soldiers in the types of attacks that have claimed the majority of lives in the present Iraq confrontation.