April 07, 2007


See, here's an example of what I wrote about yesterday. Yes, there are some drawbacks to the current body armor. But it takes time to pinpoint the problems and come up with solutions, to test out the solutions, and to implement them. For pete's sake, we didn't know what the shortcomings of the original IBA would be until they were actually used in theater! But now they've improved upon it, namely to make it lighter, change weight distribution, and even supply a quick release to instantly remove the armor in case of drowning or fire. That's brilliant and applicable, but the only way we knew we needed it was to let the original design run for a while. Nothing is perfect the first time around, but that Time article acted like the Army has given up on trying to improve the situation. Army's broken, guess that's it. That's absurd: they're constantly working to make life better for our warriors. Remember...Civil War soldiers had $175 worth of gear, OIF's have $17,000. But people act like our government is shortchanging our troops or throwing them to the wolves. They're working on it, dangit. It took seven years to design and build the LM, right?, a lunar module that had never been seen before. Well, IBA is a new concept too, and it will take time and effort to get it right.

Grr, I get so worked up over this stuff. Deep breaths.

Posted by Sarah at April 7, 2007 10:22 AM | TrackBack


I think you recall how upset I got when politicians at home were pushing to add more armor plates to the IBA. My medium size IBA with a basic load of ammo attached weighed 25 lbs (no estimate here, weighed on the post office scale). Add to that my camelbak, video camera, additional ammo, knife, GPS, rifle, helmet, and my ruck if it was a long mission. Life was miserable. So you got into the situation of adding more armor plates so you can take more hits but in doing so, you weighed down the soldiers so he was slower, less manuverable so he was more likely to get hit (by a bullet). Heat casualties also increased. What have we accomplished here?

I also remember the predecessor to the IBA - the RBA. It was even heavier and bulkier. It was so heavy and bulky that many soldiers would stash the rear trauma plate and just wear the front plate. It was good until you took a hit in the back.

Bottom line: adding more armor only makes things worse if you can't keep the weight below a certain threshold.

Posted by: R1 at April 7, 2007 11:25 AM

When my boyfriend was deployed there were some murmurrings that some "well-meaning" (read: ignorant) congressman wanted to up-armor Chinooks. I mean, the general public this is what it sounds like: "OMG, you mean those Chinooks are like tuna cans, you can just shoot straight through them? Oh, how awful." But the reality is that the armor would weigh 7000 lbs, which would reduce the aircrafts lift capacity by half, which translates into 2x the missions needed, because what could be accomplished before with just exposing yourself once, would have to be accomplished in two trips. Not to mention that this makes the aircraft heavier than necessary on lighter trips, thus less manoeuverable, thus easier targets. So in all likelihood something like that would just increase Chinook crashes. Luckily Chinook uparmoring isn't as "sexy" as other uparmoring, so it sooner fizzled.

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at April 7, 2007 01:32 PM