24 June 2007

F#@K Dragon Skin!

Well, I've been putting it off as long as I could stand it. I've been reading, researching, conversing, and other such things until my eyes bleed. I promised you all a good rant, and here it comes.
Brace yourselves...
FUCK DRAGON SKIN. That's right, I said it. The stuff is just shit.
Project Manager Soldier Equipment (PM SEQ) is charged with making sure that we (the American soldier) have the best kit to get the job done.
In May of 2006, PM SEQ conducted an evaluation of the Pinnacle Armor SOV 3000 "Dragon Skin". Upon completion of the testing, a Power Point briefing was prepared. The very second slide is what is called the "Executive Summary". The very second bullet point states that "since the inception of the IBA (Interceptor Body Armor) program in 1999, Pinnacle Armor has NEVER responded to a full and open COMPETITION."
What that means is a side-by-side test of ALL the competitors, not just Pinnacle, in ALL the areas tested by an independent third party lab. This lab is H.P. White, the National Institute of Justice certified ballistics lab used to test Army body armor.
The STANDARD for Army body armor is this:
- Extreme temperatures ranging from +160 degrees Fahrenheit to -60 degrees
-Extended exposure to diesel fuel, oil, and saltwater immersion.
- And finally a 14 hour tempurature cycle from -25 degrees to +120 degrees.
At the bottom of the third slide, THE THIRD FUCKING SLIDE!, it says in simple English, "BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: Dragon Skin does NOT meet required protection standards."

This is an x-ray image of the Dragon Skin before testing.
The armor, when laid flat, provides amazing coverage and protection. The individual ceramic/titanium scales are near impenetrable.
Unfortunatly, the human body is NOT, as Pinnacle would like you to believe, flat.
But is neither here nor there right now. No, the problem arises when the armor is expposed to a high tempurature of +160 degrees.

This is what happened:

The adhesive that is used to bond each scale to the ones around it failed and the ballistic integrity was next to non-existant.

So here is my rant:


I don't give a good goddamn how they got the vest to fail, all I care about is that the vest was exposed to a pretty typical scenario for not only Baghdad, but all points South of there all the way to Kuwait where we spend an ass-load of time waiting for a bird into country.

I've read, I forgot where but I'm sure if you Google hard enough (that sound's dirty) you can find it, that a Special Forces soldier was quoted as saying something to the effect that he would be willing to risk an Article 15 to wear Dragon Skin.

An Article 15 is "Non-judicial Punishment. Non-judicial Punishment translates into this from About.com (I've simply linked it as it is painfully long (that's what she said! sorry...)).

But rest assured, it can be an ugly issue for a soldiers career to get an Article 15.

Now, I'm all for SF wearing what THEY feel they need to stay safe and get the job done. It IS, afterall, their job to take calculated risks in order to perform some of the most difficult missions. If they want Dragon Skin, there is a DAMN good reason for it. Give it to them.

I, however, am NOT SF. I might be Special Operations, but I am not in the business that they are. In fact, the Civil Affairs Operator is to engage to BREAK contact. We're not ass kickers. Although we are capable of handling oursevles.

I would risk an Article 15 to NOT wear Dragon Skin. I've worn the "old" IBA, and while it IS stiff, chaffes and is all around uncomfortable, I know for a fact that it will protect me from small arms fire and shrapnel to an extent.

Here is UNDENIABLE PROOF that the IBA works and should continue to be used untill Pinnacle mans up to proper testing or shuts the fuck up about their crap failing to meet the standard.

Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic with E Troop, 101st "Saber" Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper during a routine patrol in west Baghdad in 2005. Tschiderer survived thanks to his protective body armor and directed a counterattack which wounded one of the snipers. He then provided medical aid to the wounded insurgent, who only moments earlier had tried to kill him. This insurgent video was recovered by U.S. forces after the counter-attack.

These jerk-off politicians are getting their panties in a twist because they think there is some magical form of armor that is going to protect us from IEDs.

I got news for you Francis, you CAN NOT STOP AN IED. Armor was NOT meant to protect you from a DIRECT HIT FROM NEAR POINT BLANK RANGE WITH AN ARTILLERY OR MORTAR ROUND! Especially the wickedly nasty EFP (Explosively Formed Penetrator) or "Plater Charge".

So please, Congressmen and Congresswomen, shut the hell up and spend my fucking tax dollars a little more wisely.

At least until I get back to Baghdad. The thing I love most about being deployed is that not one cent of my paycheck goes into the pockets of those ass bag politicians.

Consider yourselves ranted.

JB2D out.


Mary*Ann said...

It never fails to amaze me...and it seems to be in any kind of organization...that no one listens to the people actually invoved...doing the work.

Matti said...

From now on, I shall know you as the Master Ranter. :-)

Seriously though, that was pretty helpful. I've heard some people say Dragon Skin is good and some people say it's bad. I wondered what the issue was all about. That was really informative.

Mary*Ann said...


Good civil affairs story

Jim said...

If dragin skin fails like that, why are they even considering it? It seems to me that something that has multiple failure points (temps of 120+, having to put it on a flat surface, etc) is pretty much pointless.

Why not stick with what we know works? Ohh, pork you say? Bringing home the bacon for their special interests? That explains a lot. Unfortunately, there are lives at stake though. You can't afford to play kiss ass with your big money friends at the expense of endangering our troops.

Jim C

s said...

Yeah I know it was just last weekend that I was rolling around in Diesel Fuel,Oil and then washed off in the ocean in my Intercepter OTV in a 160 degree weather. Not to mention that if you do any of that in your intercepter your supposed to turn it in immediently or the fact that the only reason that Pfc. Tschiderer survived is because of the CERAMIC ESAPI PLATE that saved his ASS!!! The same material that Dragon Skin is made out of. Now if you don't want to wear it thats your prerogative but if the man who helped invent the Intercepter OTV body armor is saying that if he had to go to the sandbox he would rather wear Dragon Skin it makes me think. Any armor or weapon will fail if subjected to enough abuse. I used the Intercepter vest and it is heavy and most of the weight is on your shoulders. I currently use a Eagle Industries CIRAS Combat Integrated Releasable Armor System which distributes weight alot better and is in my opinon better than the OTV but thats just my two cents.

s said...

O yeah sorry if I double posted and nothing against ya bud it's just that I've never been a fan of the OTV I really like Dragon Skin and my CIRAS then again I was never a fan of the ACU's I like MULTICAM good luck in the suck keep your head down and stay safe man.

Shawn said...

I think what raises the doubt for most people is that the Army banned the armor two months before testing. In particular the statement "I refuse to comment on this until I can understand flexible body armor". I sincerely hope that they would not pull the same shit that was used to try and rig the testing for the m16. I am not promoting Dragonskin I would like to see a couple of full blown independent tests.

RT said...

If you want some F* up reading research the man in charge of the testing, now the VICE-PRESIDENT of one of the Interceptor manufactures.

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Anonymous said...

if its just a matter of plate delamination due to adhesive break down? why not just layer the damn shit IE the Ti ceramic plates. i know i probably sound like im talking out my rear, just bear with me. imagine this stuff woven into layers of Kevlar. each pocketed layer holds each plate exactly were it needs to be. then have each layer interlock via high strength stitching or even full Velcro. that way each layer can be dumped and replaced if it gets fubar. i know im probably missing something huge. like the minimum and maximum interlace distance required to stop a round. but i figure back it up with layers of kevlar just in case. to me doing it this way you dont have to worry about some forking glue running down your bdus. while you get your ass killed in true neput style. i imagine this tec integrated into a a more advanced refined design. loosely based on how the samurai woven bamboo armor was made.

or even better DARPA just give me access to a lab. some of your more cool/evil nerds. a steady supply of cheese burgers, stuff to drink. a nice pay check plus the occasional screw or occasional kill. ill gladly find a better cheaper way to make armor out of. an interwoven flexible matrix. consisting of tungsten titanium and ceramics. with a target weight preferably comparable to carbon fiber. and a target flexibility preferably near that of conventional concealable vests.

if someone truly wishes to take me up on this offer. there credibility shall only be confirmed or authenticated. by there ability to find me by no other info than this blog post.

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awesome blog! Ive heard about this stuff and am glad to find a pimp slap of reality on it!