After a few soldiers started wearing Dragon Skin body armor, the much-hyped alternative to the standard Interceptor defenses, the Army banned the flexible armor -- and allegedly threatened to cut off the life insurance policies of anyone wearing it. Then, the Army took a different tack, saying it would start testing the Skin, to see if it was up to snuff.Now, one of the officers in charge of those tests is publicly dissing the Dragon armor, Jane's Nathan Hodge reports.
In comments posted on an online discussion forum, Karl Masters, director of engineering for Program Manager - Soldier Equipment, said he recently supervised tests of Dragon Skin, a vest made by California-based Pinnacle Armor."I was recently tasked by the army to conduct the test of the 30 Dragon Skin SOV 3000 level IV body armor purchased for T&E [tests and evaluation]," Masters wrote in a 6 June posting. "My day job is acting product manager for Interceptor Body Armor. I'm under a gag order until the test results make it up the chain."I will, however, offer an enlightened and informed recommendation to anyone considering purchasing an SOV 3000 Dragon Skin - don't."Masters added that he would not recommend the vest, particularly given the threat from 7.62 x 54R armor-piercing rounds."I do, however, highly recommend this system for use by insurgents," he added...Pinnacle officials have consistently maintained Dragon Skin passed the tests that were conducted in May, and said army officials agreed to continue tests at a later date. They say they are awaiting word from the army on the resumption of testing...After repeated inquiries, an army public affairs official referred Jane's to Pinnacle for more information on the results of testing. Lieutenant Colonel William Wiggins, an army spokesman, said the safety of use memorandum regarding Dragon Skin is still in force."As our research community comes up with new products, we'll field them," Col Wiggins said. "You can be assured that we field the best body armour in the world."