High tech German battle gear not so great


Their high-tech body armour, computer chip equipment and shiny black visors were meant to transform German infantrymen into the soldiers of the future.

There is just one problem, they say. It doesn't work.

The expensive outfits, each with a price tag of £14,000, looked fantastic on the training ground. But, according to German soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and quoted in an internal army report, the new super uniforms cannot stand up to the heat of the battle.

They complain that the equipment is riddled with flaws that even make it painful to use, especially at the extreme temperatures the troops encounter in Afghanistan.

The army report, details of which have emerged in the German press, says the body armour vests are so big and heavy that the soldiers are unable to sit comfortably in vehicles and instead have to squat "in extreme discomfort".

As for the shiny black goggles, instead of protecting from dust and glare and providing crystal clear vision, they apparently steam up as soon as the soldiers start sweating, leaving them blind to dangers.

The radio earpiece - part of the crucial communications package that commanders vaunted as a "forward leap in quality" - "constantly" fell out, troops said.

It is surprising that these flaws did not show up in testing. The goggles problem is pretty common and should have been noticed. The protective vest sounds like the gear the Democrats and NBC News tried to force on the military. It was so heavy it effected mobility to the point it was dangerous. The Germans have come a long way from when they had some of the most advanced equipment in the world. This stuff may be advanced, but it does not sound like something anyone else would want.

Update: Strategy Page has more on he fiasco as well as how US forces have incorporated new gear.


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