Tuesday, January 17, 2006

ARMOR ARGUMENTS

Here’s an odd one many of you will know more about than I

Linked by the perennial rockthrowers over at Huffington Post is a story from Soldiers for the Truth, the group who broke the story about the armor effectiveness study a few weeks back. This time they are claiming certain soldiers have been ordered to not wear certain kinds of very expensive, privately purchased body armor which is claimed to be superior to standard issue:

“Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits”

http://www.sftt.org/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpDefense&htmlCategoryID=30&htmlId=4514

Soldiers for the Truth claim the men have been threatened with disciplinary action and loss of life insurance. Apparently this is a recent policy change.

Very odd, I think… I found – I think - a little out about the armor. The standard armor is manufactured by Point Blank Body Armor, the alternate is made by Pinnacle Armor.

The standard armor is proof against small fragments and rounds up to 9mm. You can add plates to it; with the add-ons it will stop a medium high-powered rifle like a 7.62 X 51mm NATO. A page on the product:

http://www.pointblankarmor.com/interceptor.asp

The other product claims to be able to stop lighter rifle rounds like the 5.56mm the M16 fires or the short 7.62mm the AK47 uses. It too can be augmented for heavier protection.

http://www.pinnaclearmor.com/body-armor/sov.php

Soldiers for the Truth relates Pinnacle Armor’s claim that “more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan … and nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are wearing Dragon Skin body armor.”

They also relate the cost: $6,000 a set, far more than the regular issue.

I’m sure that cost would be less in mass production, but I can understand the Army’s choice. Still, why prohibit it?

Any thoughts?

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