There's a behind the scenes battle going on between Pinnacle Armor, the Air Force, the National Institute of Justice and the Army.
You'll remember that a year ago the Air Force debarred Pinnacle after it found that the company had misrepresented the ballistic capabilities of its SOV 2000 armor claiming it was Level III compliant when it wasn't. This ban of Pinnacle products came on the heels of the Army's very public outing of Dragon Skin test results conducted by Army ballistics experts and witnessed by Pinnacle president Murray Neal himself.
But after the dust cleared, the tenacious Neal waged his own battle against the debarment, filing suit and compiling evidence that he claims shows Army testers forging test result documents and intentionally painting Dragon Skin in a bad light to the Air Force.
I spoke with Neal about this at length, and while he's skeptical that the Army is resorting to lying and forging documents, there are some things that definitely look fishy about this case.
Neal sent me an example of a document that purportedly shows forged test results and failures of the armor that didn't happen during tests conducted for the Air Force by H.P. White Labs. A lot of Pinnacle proponents point to a recent article by the bloggers at Soldiers for the Truth as explanation for the suspected forgeries and other skull duggery. We'll let DoD Buzz readers make their own judgment on that.
But Neal claims that when the actual shooters at HP White were cross examined during depositions, they said that over two days of testing they did not see the failures tabulated on the result summary table. I asked Neal to forward me some copies of the deposition transcripts to prove that. What he sent didn't seem to correlate with what he was claiming, prompting still more questions about what is actually going on here.
Neal appears to have at least has some cause here for fighting the debarment. Rumor has it the Air Force/NIJ is willing to settle and reverse the ban. I've been skeptical of Pinnacle's claims and have chafed at the company's absolutist claims and hyperbolic publicity stunts. But there's a limited number of armor makers in the world and there's no sense in keeping anyone out of the fold unless their product is totally bogus -- which Dragon Skin is not.