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US Army and armor-maker embroiled in debate over body-armor safety

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NBC later posted the results of its own testing, which found Dragon Skin to be superior to the Army's Interceptor vests. In two tests, performed earlier this month by the Beschussamt Mellrichstadt laboratory in Germany, an Interceptor vest was penetrated by gunfire after several shots, while the same number of shots did not penetrate a Dragon Skin vest. A third test of a Dragon Skin vest against a more lethal caliber of bullet - one that the Army does not require its vests to protect against - also showed no pentration of the armor.

The Associated Press writes that, in response to the NBC report, the Army "in a rare move" released the results of its Dragon Skin testing on Monday. In a press conference (transcript available on the Defense Department's website) General Brown said that the armor suffered "catastrophic failures," failing to stop 13 of 48 armor-piercing rounds.

"Zero failures is the correct answer," he said. "One failure is sudden death and you lose the game."
Brown added that the armor failed to endure required temperatures shifts - from minus 20 degrees to 120 above zero - which weakened the adhesive holding the discs together. And he said that the Dragon Skin's heavy weight was also a problem for soldiers who need to carry a lot of gear.
The Dragon Skin, he said, weighs 47.5 pounds, compared to the Army-issued Interceptor armor, which weighs 28 pounds.
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