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"Alien spacesuits" being worn by US troops in Iraq

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by dontoe, May 11, 2006.

  1. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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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.
    [​IMG]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.
     
  2. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    Like I heard on the radio earlier today, the Army tested remote controlled turrents back in the '80's on those things, that's what they should be using. Being a gunner on a HMMWV is a really cool position, but it's one hell of a dangerous one also............................
     
  3. sarasotausmc

    sarasotausmc 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    The cost and complexity vs the accuracy of a RC turret render that idea useless. A gunner has better view of the surrounding area than he would off a dusty screen that he would have in Iraq. Anyone who complains would complain less if he were hit by an IED and suffered only concussion injury vice something going through his skin. A HMMWV is a lot different from a tank, LAV or Striker vehicle in that it has less armor which generally provides more time and security to assess the threat and afford the use of remote turret operations.

    Change is hard and it's hard to change. This looks better than the kevlar shorts and sleeves that were a stopgap between this and just a vest with SAPI plates. It's hot in Iraq nekkid.

    We have to learn that to get, we have to give. That 19 year old Specialist has a mission and its the top gunner. War is hell. Inelegant does not apply, Schwarzenegger and Stallone made combat elegant, not true with Pvt Beltbuckle and PFC Benatz.
     
  4. sarasotausmc

    sarasotausmc 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Oh, before you say anything, my name is Gunnery Sergeant Lorentson, active duty Marine.
     
  5. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    And????????????????????????????????

    The visibility is great, especially gunning while in convoy while heading out to the Kahukus on an afternoon....................................:D

    There comes a point when too much is too much. The slapnuts that comes up with this stuff has to remember that a soldier's mobility is also a very important part of their survival skills.

    Important pice of information right there. Still to this day, I remember the day when I watched a SGT I knew almost buy it when my roommate almost endoed his HMMWV up at Bellows. If that suit doesn't interfere with a troop's ability to get down, I can see the added protection being nice. But what happens if that troop has to dismount in a hurry? It's kind of like the idiot general whose memo I had the honor reading back in '94. He stated that until the Army came up with some armor for the HMMWV, there was no way that his scouts were going to switch to them, they were going to stick with the Bradley. Well the Bradley might be great for what it was intended for, but outside having the room to pack porn and poogie bait in large quantities, it sucks for scouts.

    The thought behind this is good, I just hope they make some serious improvements to it because that thing is gonna be the cause of death for a young troop...........................
     
  6. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Very well then, Gunny....

    What happens when the cooling system on that spacesuit fails in the sandbox in the summer? You get a heat casualty faster than you can say "Corpsman UP, we need the silver bullet."
    What happens if the vehicle catches fire? You get a steamed gunner in the turret, because he can't get out quickly with all that trash on.
    What happens if the vehicle is disabled and the crew has to un-ass the vehicle? You get a dismount that has to have a set of "regular" gear somewhere in the vehicle, so he can strip all that spacesuit trash off and get saddled up in something that resembles normal gear.

    There comes a point where adding more s**t for the Marine/soldier/airman to hump around becomes a losing equation. You can only pile so much armor on a person before something else has to give - either accept much-reduced mobility, or accept carrying less water/rations/ammo/equipment. You can't have it both ways, and even a direct order from the Commandant himself can't change that.
     
  7. resurrected_jimmy

    resurrected_jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    I have been hit with an IED and the concussion hurts like hell more so than the shrapnel they pulled out of me. I spent 2 months in landsthul medical center, germany recovering from it. My SAPI plate is what ultimately saved my life. The ied we hit destroyed the up armor on my 1114. The gear we have works and I really dont want to add anymore s**t than I already have to carry.

    Respectfully,
    SPC Alex Estep
    Scouts Out!

    last of Iraq 093.jpg
     
  8. sarasotausmc

    sarasotausmc 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    All valid points. Mobility, visibility and survivability. There's no 100% solution, and those that have been through the AOR no that as well or better than me. I'm not saying that this stuff is the shiite either.

    RC turrets on a HMMWV are not as reasonable an idea as on a tank, stryker or lav, so scrap that. The gunner has to be exposed to shoot, so all around armor protection of the vehicle is out too. The armor on the vehicles still isn't a 100% solution, so what do we do? Just not convoy? How about leave Iraq? You got an answer? If it were easy I am sure it would have been done already. There were complaints about the armor on the vehicles prior to and when it was first fielded, and over time, it is continually being improved upon. Still not 100% by the penetration shown in your picture. What's different about this? I sincerely hope that your recovery is going well BTW.

    Have any of you noticed the good mentioned in that article? Bet those guys aren't complaining.

    The complaints that the suit is "goofy" and inelegant is the most ridiculous complaint I have ever heard. The complaint that it's hot in Iraq, and can't be fixed. Proper training and rehearsals help the issues of "what if...".

    Oh, and I didn't put the gunny thing in there to sound like an expert on protection, or thump my chest. I just put it in there to separate myself from others who complain without experience in Iraq and the centcom aor. And that is not a dig at anyone.
     
  9. SkulzNBonz

    SkulzNBonz 1/2 ton status

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    That suit may save a man's life, but it also would make him pretty much combat ineffective anywhere other than his gun turret. If the hummer breaks down or is taken out, it would take him ten minutes to get out of that suit. All the while, not being able to put lead on target, or run for that matter, and probably tieing up another person helping him get out of that monkey suit. Usually you have about 1.5 seconds to be ready to put rounds down range, and frankly, I don't want to have to drag your heavy ass in 100 lbs (exagerated) of extra gear. People die in war, get over it.

    John
     
  10. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    Anyone that has spent time gunning on a HMMWV has the position to critique, approve and/or otherwise stay neutral on the topic. One does not need experience in a certain theater to offer up commentary, they just have to have the experience of spending years on the vehicle. If that either offends, irritates and/or just pisses you off, get over it. I wouldn't comment if I didn't know WTF I'm talking about.

    The solution to this is simple, yet expensive. Design a new line of vehicles that would be better suited for the task. That's not to say the HMMWV isn't a great vehicle, because it is great, but it simply lacks the protection needed out of the factory. I'm just wondering how great those South African vehicles stand up to the IED's and mines since they've been built with that stuff in mind?

    It's always been a situation of producing a product and after testing it in the field, making improvements to it, hence the whole armored HMMWV thing. But from my years spent riding in a HMMWV hatch, the last thing I need to worry about is wondering how I was going to exit the vehicle in a speedy manner after a rollover or attack and after dropping inside while wearing a suit like that.
     
  11. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:


    :bow: :bow: :bow:


    :bow: :bow: :bow:
     
  12. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Glad to hear you made it out OK!

    Back on topic, I think your last sentence sums it up.

    Why not? Make it an electric turret so there's no hydraulic-fire danger. A couple small gyros in the azimuth & elevation circuits of the turret drive will take care of any bounce from the vehicle. Helmet-mounted turret cueing (like the Cobra & Apache guns) will eliminate the need for complex optics or display screens.

    Agreed; believe me, if I had the answer I wouldn't be shooting the s**t online about it...
    I DO feel it's time for the United States to set a firm "we're outta here" date for a withdrawal from Iraq. Let's not argue my opinion on that, though...

    Oh, and just so everyone's clear on it: I have NOT been to either sandbox, nor have I heard a shot fired in anger, or fired a shot in anger myself. I know a lot of guys & gals who HAVE been there, done that, got the CAR or Combat Aircrew wings... but unfortunately I ain't one of 'em.
     
  13. Stickseler

    Stickseler 3/4 ton status

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    Man I remember in Panama all we had were flack jackets (not bullet proof vests) that we use to wear 2 of and those Damn diapers that we just used as seat cushions cause they were comfy
     
  14. Jagged

    Jagged 1 ton status

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    Any time I go, all I'm issued is a flack jacket with no inserts and a helmet. Only time I've worn them was during alerts. Still makes me feel helpless though, MOPP4 with the small amount of body armor, and I'm expected to do aircraft maintenance. You ever try doing some wire maintenance in MOPP 4 with body armor on?

    Edit: And a funny thing about my flack jackets. They're the green camo jackets, and we get these desert camo covers to put on them. Fun times. Normally when I'm in the desert I don't wear any protection, just my DCU pants, a T-shirt, and a reflective belt (yes... I have to wear a reflective belt.... in the desert....). But, gotta haul all my camping gear and chem gear to and from work, leave them in a building that's 3 minutes away from where I'm working.
     
  15. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    I hated those f'n things, especially when my CO decided we needed to do a train-up for Desert Storm when we didn't stand a chance in hell on going due to prior responsibilities. Nothing like spending a lovely Hawaiian afternoon tramping around the jungle with flak vest and MOPP4, good times, good times...............

    Of course that flak vest doesn't compare to our entry vests on the SRT. Those damn things make that old Kevlar vest feel like silk.....................:D :D :D

    The one disadvantage I see with it that has already been mentioned is the visibility. Can't see much from the inside and that is probably the most important advantage when it comes to the HMMWV because it doesn't have the advantage to take damage like other vehicles.

    I think the military needs to start working on developing stuff like the South Africans have. Large, wheeled vehicles that have the ability to withstand stuff like mines and IED's. No need to scrap the HMMWV all together, but the current environment in Iraq dictates that a different vehicle should be developed to handle convoy escorts.......................
     

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