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U.S. Army Did Not Properly Test Body Plate Armor

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 10, 2011 6:45 AM

Sometimes the only thing standing between life and death for a soldier is their gear, such as body plate armor. Well, the U.S. Army has admitted a rather large mishap: about 5 million plates of body armor were not tested properly.

According to a report from the Defense Department Inspector General, many units were not tested properly, while some units weren't tested at all.

Of course, just because the units weren't tested properly does not mean that they are defective. However, it does mean that without the tests, the Army has less information about the reliability of the equipment that is being used on the battlefield, reports Wired.

Body armor and plates are a huge cost for the Army. From 2004 to 2006, 7 contracts for body armor were fulfilled for $2.5 billion. The Army's Project Manager Soldier Equipment (PM SEQ) did not test two of the contracts' body plates to determine at which velocity projectiles could penetrate the plates, reports the International Business Times.

If there was an injury as a result of the body plate armor's defective testing procedures or lack of testing, there could well be liability.

After all, it's likely that the Army has a duty to make sure the equipment that it supplies its soldiers are properly tested so that they know how to rely on the equipment and best use it when in combat. And, if there is something wrong with the body plate armor while the soldier believes that it's working properly, injury could occur.

The manufacturer of the body plate armor could also face liability if the products were simply defective and not made to standards.

So, if there was something wrong with the body plate armor, it's possible that the Army - or the contractor - could be liable for negligence because the armor was not tested, or because it was improperly tested.

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