New Body Armour Unfashionable


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Armoured suits are 'too goofy' say US troops
By Francis Harris, in Washington
(Filed: 09/05/2006)

American troops have complained that a new armoured body suit designed to be worn in Iraq makes them look "goofy".
The water-cooled "alien spacesuits" are being handed out to turret gunners in their notoriously vulnerable Humvee vehicles.
The new suit is designed to protect against roadside bombs but has had mixed reviews from soldiersThe protective suit, based on those worn by bomb disposal officers, was intended to cut spiralling casualties for one of the most dangerous jobs in modern warfare.
But some troops have complained that the armour and headgear is inelegant. Others say the water-cooling system, designed for the soaring temperatures of an Iraqi summer, regularly breaks down.
Nonetheless, the suits being tested in combat by US military police units in northern Iraq have produced good results.
Capt Larry Bergeron told the military newspaper Stars and Stripes that the armour was credited with saving the lives of three men sprayed with shrapnel from roadside bombs.
"One soldier's visor stopped a piece of shrapnel that hit dead centre," he said. "If he had not had that suit on, the effects could have been catastrophic."
Gunners on Humvees have high casualty rates. While newly-installed armour protects those inside, the gunner stands with the upper half of his body exposed, making him far more vulnerable to roadside bombs and gunfire. Others have been crushed as vehicles overturn.
But Specialist Michael Floyd, 19, said: "I am not a big fan of this thing. It is really hot and hard to move around in. I do feel safer, but only in an explosion. I would not feel safer in a rollover or in small-arms fire."
Critics say the heavy suits also restrict movement during combat.
Our man in the field, Doody be his name-o, reported on this not too long ago. Though the complaints of looking "goofy" strike me as pretty friggin stoopid (sic) as I do not think these suits were designed with fashion in mind. And the complaints about wearing them in normal combat are a bit specious as they were designed for the sole duty of protection of Humvee gunners.
Well yeah, they're not exactly sexy, but if they work good then better being goofy and alive then cool and dead.
I doubt that the "goofy" descriptor was a real complaint. I'd bet it was just a comment on the armor's appearance. I can't imagine that any HMMWV gunner would rather go into harm's way without as much "goofy" looking protection as he could get himself into.
I remember feeling how miserable it felt to wear the old "Steel pot" helmet in Vietnam. Then again, I also remember wishing I had one big enough to crawl under when crap hit the fan. It's an inherent right of every soldier everywhere to complain. :wink:
Well I agree they look stupid, but I wouldn't care if was a circus clown suit as long as it kept my butt safe.

Perhaps the best way to keep a gunner safe on a Humvee is to make him less conspicous. For example design a enclosed/semi-enclosed turret on the next generation vehicle.
mmarsh......The problem with the turret it would make the vehicle even more unstable and prone to turn over.
Well if you stuck a turret on top of that vehicle would it improve the handling of it especially on the corners.
There are a few HMMWVs outfitted like the "Pope mobile" over in Iraq right now. They aren't too bad and offer a bit more protection. They get scratched and dusty, but doesn't really effect visibility enough to matter.
The problem with the armor and turrets like that is mobility. There are a lot of times where you will need to unass the HMMWV in a quick fashion. You're always making a trade.

CanadianCombat said:
They need some of these turrets.

Some of our turrets do have the chicken plates, as well as the glass like I mentioned. They do offer more protection, but again, also hinder mobility.

When you are intentionally making your guys targets by keeping them buttoned up in HMMWVs, there is only so much you can do for them.

For some static patrols and show of force patrols, the suits would be ideal. For many others, they would not. I personally would not wear one while in the turret.

I'm very sure if the government put it's money where it's mouth is we could get something like that seen in the series Roughnecks Chronicles.