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Procurement Orders Don’t Lie: Why Did the Army “Buy 177,000 Bulletproof Armor Plates”?

Tyler Durden
May 20th, 2016
Zero Hedge
Comments (84)


This article was written by Tyler Durden and originally published at Zero Hedge.

Editor’s Comment: Why indeed is such a large purchase taking place? Is the U.S. military gearing up for war in Syria, or perhaps the big one with Russia? Are the powers-that-be preparing to take on angry rioters and civil unrest here at home?

This isn’t just training, and it isn’t scenario. Something big is being planned.

Is the Army Preparing for a Major Deployment: Orders 177,000 Bulletproof Armor Plates

Traditionally, the best way to keep track of future military deployments – absent unexpected events, of course – has been to follow key procurement contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense of mission critical offensive wartime equipment such as weapons and ammo, or, less followed, core defensive components such as kevlar, body armor and other forms of core personal protective gear. These usually take place shortly prior to major “events” involving US armed forces.

Which is why we were surprised to learn that earlier today, the US Department of Defense revealed it had placed a $93 million order for 177,000 ballistic body armor plates from the US military’s traditional supplier of protective equipment, Ceradyne which several years ago was purchased by 3M. Both production and delivery are expected to be concluded over the next several months.

Here is the press release

Ceradyne, Inc., a 3M company, has been awarded a $92.7 million body-armor contract by Defense Logistics Agency for delivery of 177,000 pieces. The plates are designed to meet stringent performance requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Defense. Production and deliveries are expected to begin in 2016.

For those unfamiliar, this is what Ceradyne’s body armor plate looks like.

150410_02_ceradyne_esapi_type_vi_level_i_640_0 150410_01_ceradyne_esapi_type_vi_level_i_640_0

As Ceradyne explains, body armor is worn by virtually everyone in the US armed forces.

Worn by U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, the lightweight enhanced small arms protective inserts (ESAPI) are inserted into outer, modular tactical vests to provide torso protection against small-arms fire. These body-armor plates routinely protect U.S. armed forces in battle.

Meanwhile, 3M is delighted by the bottom line

“3M is pleased to win this contract, and we are honored to provide body armor for the U.S. military,” said Cheryl Ingstad, business manager, Advanced Ceramics Platform – Defense, 3M. “We continue to make it our mission to leverage innovation in advanced materials science and the manufacturing process to deliver highly engineered body armor that meets the exacting quality standards of the U.S. Department of Defense. We never forget that the primary purpose of every body-armor plate is to save the life of the military member who wears it.”

Ceradyne has become the go to provider to the DoD for virtually all armor-pierceing protection: it has fielded orders for hundreds of thousands of body-armor inserts and at least 100,000 enhanced combat helmets to the U.S. Armed Forces.

The last time Ceradyne announced a major ballistic armor insert contract with the Pentagon, was last October when the DoD ordered some 28,000 armor inserts for a price of $34 million. This happened just as US troops were being covertly deployed in increasing numbers to Iraq and Syria.

With this latest, and largest to date, order of bulletproof armor inserts, is the US army preparing for another major offensive, and if so where?


This article was written by Tyler Durden and originally published at Zero Hedge. Is there anything Tyler Durden can’t do?

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Author: Tyler Durden
Date: May 20th, 2016
Website: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-18/us-army-preparing-major-deployment-orders-177000-body-armor-plates

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  1. anon says:

    Finally getting around to it. ;0)

    • Menzoberranzan says:

      We’ll be wearing the same damn thing. I’m aiming for the face and practice to hit small.

    • Threeper says:

      So? It’s the Army… I’d be concerned if it was Homeland Security

      • Colt M4 says:

        Threeper, i hate to say it, but very soon the army and homeland security may be one and the same looking to rule over us. I just can’t see our country keep going on the way we have been. Our government is spending money we don’t have, with no way to ever repay it, along with that, letting in millions of illegals that will become a BIG problem once the money stops flowing.

        I see an armed conflict in our country coming between the makers, that would be us, and the takers protected by the government. I also would like to point out to everyone that i have been reading that some state and federal law makes want to outlaw body armor for everyone but the military, and police. So if you don’t already own body armor, you may want to get some, soon!

        • Anyone with an Oxy-Acetylene torch and an anvil can make their own ‘plates’ (insertion plates front and back and ‘balls'<–VERY important)! lol…. Armored plating has an advantage, but MAN they certainly DO get heavy in a short period of time, and, if hit, you'll still be VERY aware you were hit (even if no penetration you'll land on your ass with the 'wind knocked out of you'. (Not a personal experience thank God).

          • Plan twice, prep once says:

            Consider a sorbothane rubber layer behind armor, if armor is needed.

            Snipers don’t use armor. They just don’t get seen!

            • Lone wolverine says:

              I just watched a Mark Dice video . College students sign petition to imprison all registered gun owners. Guess what 90% of the people that singed looked like.

          • Colt M4 says:

            Bud, be very careful about cutting AR500 armor plate with a torch. The reason for that is what is called the “heat effected zone”. You see the heat from the torch will remove the hardness from the armor close to where the torch cuts.

            Now If you take a round close to that area it may fail to stop that round. The best way to cut AR500 plate, and not effect it’s hardness is to use a water jet or a fast moving laser. One more thing, you’ll need to use at least 1/2″ thick AR500 plate in order to stop an M2 AP round, using any AR500 thinner then 1/2″ will not stop an M2 AP round.

            • Plan twice, prep twice says:

              Try a water cooled diamond saw, or even water cool a metal cutting corundum blade. Whatever, it must be water cooled to retain the temper in what you are cutting.

        • Threeper says:

          Oh, I’ve got two vests with Steel Defender Level III plates front and back 🙂

      • Indifissible says:

        Yeah, fortunately we still have a doctrine called Posse Comitatus. Not that it will mean much if “he” pushes it, but many in uniform will not violate it.

        DHS getting it would be another story, but 90% of DHS agents have it already. By the way, i work with DHS often and all of the agents I know are very like minded….least of my worries regardless of what A. American writes.

        It will take a huge, foreign (UN) force to take us over. Shooting at blue helmets will make things much easier for us if, god forbid, sonething ever happens.

  2. stevor says:

    they were bought because somebody’s brother-in-law works for the company that manufactured them (I doubt they care to protect anybody other than themselves)

    • They may want them for the little citizen of Obama’s army .. to take down Americans..

      • anon says:


        Wait till the summer gets here. Most have never put on a full complete set of body armor. To include Underarm panels, collar and throat panel, Upper deltoid panels for outer arms. Then for Level 4 side in front and back plates with side plates. So you have to decide if you only want to wear just soft armor or just plates or both.
        One, two, three, or four plates depending on how much protection you want. Did I mention a Kevlar helmet?

        We will see how long Obama’s buddies will wear Body Armor. They will pass out in the first hour. But they looked. So COOL. LOL.

        • Jerry C says:

          DustyFae, you’re absolutely right. On top of that, here’s another consideration – for all of those little punks who actually put on all that body armor, I can’t help but wonder how many will actually attempt to stay in the game and continue to go house to house once they’ve taken a hit or two. No matter how good the training, even when a round hits directly into the plating. a person can’t possibly imagine the pain associated with taking a couple of hits from a 308 or a 30-06
          Yea, the plates may indeed stop a couple of rounds, but once the plate is fractured a few times – they basically become worthless… and I doubt they’ll be able to hit the “pause” button on their gameboy so they can change out the plating (a bit of humor there…)’ and forget wearing Kevlar all by itself – a large caliber round is STILL likely to cause enough kinetic energy damage to the underlining soft tissue of the individual that in all likelihood, the person will still be rendered ineffective or dead from the massive soft tissue damage… just because a person is wearing “bullet proof armor” DOESN’T MAKE THEM BULLET PROOF… silly rabbits… they better load up on a few boxes of KLENEX tissues because there’s going to be a whole lot of crying out there and it won’t be coming for our side….

    • sean says:

      They replace them every few years. 177,000 is about 1/4 of the active and reserve components combined. Soldiers train with them for everything these days and the constant taking body armor on and off and dropping it to the ground can eventually make the plates not completely reliable. The most logical thing to do would be just keep a stock on hand to issue prior to deployment and train with old ones but why be logical when playing with other people’s money?

  3. durangokidd says:

    Obviously they are intended for the subjegation of Texas !!! 🙂

    • Nope, that’s what nato troops are 4. The us troops will go to the sheep states that don’t fight back, So they won’t be torn about shooting Americans and force a coup by rebelling.

  4. Why only one hundred “enhanced” helmets.

    It was because of cheap outdated helmets that the young men, in the Armed Services deployed in the Middle East wars for Israel, who were injured by bombs, suffered such horrible head injuries.

    I am against these Bankster wars. But if we send men into battle they should have the best protection money can buy.

    Hope this is not intended for the American public. Read about the group “Anonymous” at Daisy Luther. Apparently this group intends to hack the major banks around the world. Seems more like part of a covert government ZioNWO conspiracy to create chaos out of which they will initiate one world digital economy.

    We live in interesting times. Damn it. Peace out.

  5. Anonymous says:

    is the US army preparing for another major offensive?
    when is the US army not preparing for a major offensive? closing in on 100 years of major offensives. where? if the past is any indication its a smaller weaker target. Bullies don’t want a real fight, ever.

  6. Observer says:

    Head shots. Knee caps. IEDs.

  7. PO'd Patriot says:

    I really don’t see a dark/dangerous connection with this purchase to anything.

  8. mr. larry says:

    is the US army preparing for another major offensive, and if so where?
    the US has always been preparing for another major offensive. closing in on 100 years of this shit.
    where if the past is any indication, the target will be smaller and weaker. like any bully they don’t want a difficult fight they may loose, again.

  9. anon says:

    Replacements Plates with updated material.

  10. Alias says:

    This purchase isn’t unusual, its the Army, ceramic sapis break from time to time. I broke mine in SOI because we were told to put them in the bottom of our packs and I dropped my pack too hard.

    Its nice that they are actually getting new equipment that the average grunt is going to use and not some multi-million dollar tarmac ornament.

  11. Alias says:

    Double post, but the armslist pictures look like level 4 self-contained plates, aka, deployment sapis. Training sapis are level 3 and require softarmor backing.

  12. Sgt. Dale says:

    Because these are better plates. Nice thing is that I might end up with one of the old strike plate for free. If so I’ll get as many as I can for my group.


    • Mountain Trekker says:

      Sarg, you guys always get the Bennies.

    • anon says:

      SGT. Dale.

      There is a lot to be concerned about used body armor and new purchases can be real expensive. Also with the problem of it being outlawed, replacement soft armor can be hard to fine. There are many Army Navy stores that have soft pads. Have seen dates of 2012. Not soiled or distorted or hard. Still flexible, no bunching, no rips or tears. Should it get bad, if one had a few patch pads to insert into the carrier might be a good idea. Don’t want to get shot but just saying.

      Maybe double up the soft armor instead of plates.

      • buttcrackofdoom says:

        those dates don’t mean much….vests are good as advertised WAY Beyond the 5 years they say….survivalblog has a bunch of good posts about buying used ones….google it….i used to keep this info hush hush, but i got several now, so just tryin’ to help all you muthuhs from othuh bruthuhs out there. as long as they are taken care of, they will last a long time…..don’t get them wet.

  13. TheGuy says:

    You sure this isn’t just another bailout?

    How’s Ceradyne doing these days? Any hints of 3M slicing them off like a gangrenous toe perchance?

  14. Federalist45 says:

    This one seems benign. 177,000 is not many, given the rate of loss on these things. They can be damaged beyond use simply by the soldier, transiting via C-130, dropping his dufflebag on the tarmac hard enough. There are scores of thousands of soldiers deployed and using these things at any given time. Moreover, there are civilians and personnel from other Services who will use some of the inventory. This purchase is almost nothing and was made by the Army. Now, if it were 500,000 purchased by DHS? Then we’d have to be concerned.

  15. grandee says:

    Had a black hawk fly low over the house today, due to rainy weather. They have been back and forth across my small town USA all week.

    kinda creepy.

  16. CRB83 says:

    The ceramic plates in service have a lifespan. The constant wear reduces their ballistic effectiveness, they also can crack when dropped on their corners. I’m only surprised they’re not buying more. Nothing to see here, folks.

  17. Taxdn2poverty says:

    Wondering why the Military purchased 177,000 armor plates is like wondering why the wife bought an extra gallon of milk. Frankly I agree with another comment: the brother in law scenario.

  18. California Resident says:

    Those plates shown are good for one hit and that’s all.

    At minimum, the AR500 Omega steel with spall protection is better.

    They’re slightly heavier, but they perform much, much better – and for less money.

    • anon says:

      California Resident

      Ceradyne APM2 plates as shown above take multiple hits as per utube vids. .308 7.62×39 .223 7.62×54 close range.

      They do degrade per shot but no penetration.

  19. Asshat says:

    Those plates are bulkie and heavy to wear. Add helmet mag load knee pads you can see mobility going way down. Troops will need those plates because they won’t be able to move fast they will be taking hits. They are cool to use for raids then put them away. I’d rather just use cover effectively much cheaper and lighter. Spotting and Keeping the enemy as far away as possible helps. if it’s a hassle to wear you won’t wear it. Just like carrying a gun if it’s to hard to conceal and heavy to carry you will leave it behind. Sometimes the biggest and baddest isn’t always the best. Practical things are better in the long run. A level 4 plate is not practical. A thin level2 soft vest is. A 50 cal desert eagle is not as practical as a subcompact glock9mm. I just can’t see a situation where I wished I had bought the 50 cal. It’s a range toy. The ceramic level4 plate is gonna stick out like a storm trooper. Ya it will stop tank rounds but is that what you need.

    • buttcrackofdoom says:

      but we aren’t trapsing all over the countryside like the army does, are we? i plan to be in my home, guarding it with all my shtf “Cellmates”…..i will be taking my chances WITH My level 3a armor and level 4 plates. just remember, if you don’t have a gun, or a bullet-proof vest, or a parachute when you NEED it, chances are pretty good you’ll NEVER Need them again….y’all go ahead and think up all those places where a vest won’t save you, and i’ll think about all those places where it WILL save me….thankfully, there’s a lot of people that think like you, so vests are CHEAP Right now….wait ’til the shootin’ starts….THEN we will see what their “Value” is.

      • anon says:


        What calibers will we be up against? For instance Hunters and Range shooters will have more of the higher powered rounds, 30.06, 7mm, 47-70, 50 cal. These people unless provoked to go out on search and destroy will be defensive in nature. The jerks that want to loot and steal most likely will use handgun calibers mixed in with .223, .308, 7.62×39 and shotgun calibers. Any size bullet can kill you and body armor is not 100% protection. It does give you the edge over one who is not wearing it. Also many preppers will have a long gun as a primary weapon and a pistol as secondary. Application of tactics is crucial. Make the wrong move, it’s over.

        It the beginning you might get plenty of the RUN Up on you types aided by drive by shooters. Casualty rate will climb and that will be finished.

        Shoot and scoot will have to be diminished by defensive toys. Deny them coverage and protective barriers.

        Body armor will help and some is better than none. Soft armor first then add on the plates. I believe there will be more handgun encounters first. As time goes by the rifles will be more of a danger from renegades.

  20. Doesn’t our military have fewest personal since WW2? They’re not going anywhere.

    • Kevin2 says:

      WWII is not a good comparison to make due to the lethality and accuracy of the weapon systems used today. A battalion composed of three companies has greater firepower and destructive power at their disposal than a division in WWII against a conventional force. Guerrillas can negate a substantial amount of that capability. Targeting the enemy is one thing. Knowing who they are is another. “Kill them all and let God sort it out” is fine unless your planning on governing post hostilities. Guerrillas don’t win, they just make the area they operate in ungovernable and applying the accepted axiom, “War is politics by other means”, ungovernable translates to losing.

  21. spaceman says:

    WW3 IS COMING ……….

  22. Old Guy says:

    They bought it for the same reason that they buy $200 toilet seats. Its a inside deal to make money bilking the government. Some dishonest purchasing agent gets a kick back.

    • tazweiss says:

      They bought the plates because they were on discount. The last time the army bought level 4 plates from that same company, they paid over $1200 each. That was in October, last year. This time they got them on sale, at only $523 each. Why not buy big when you’re getting such a good deal?

  23. Winston Smith says:

    If it is a war they are preparing for, I would bet that it is war with China and/or Russia. The planners are probably thinking of a limited war but I doubt any such thing is possible between nuclear powers.

  24. Asshat says:

    A vest does you no good if your shot in the face. Sure right now they are cheap for cheap armor. But cheap armor is bulkie. If it’s not concealable your gonna stick out and be noticed. You gotta be wearing the armor for it to be effective. Staying home is my plan but The chances your gonna have to leave to source something you need is reality. We prepare to not need anything but it can happen. In his circumstance you don’t wanna be wearing a level4 plate and soft vest slinging a rifle. This is not grey man. A concealable compact setup that doesn’t raise flags that your a potential threat is what you want. For home the level 4 is fine if that’s what you like. Just sayin most folks don’t have the $ to afford both setups. So they gotta go with what is practical and works in the widest variety of scenarios. Armor like anything else is you get what you pay for. Thin comfortable concealable armor that will stop almost all pistol rounds is gonna run you $600 plus. Your gonna be able to be mobile and protected without everyone knowing. The cheap armor is good for home or holding down the farm or retreat. Your trying to survive you may have to leave your home farm retreat and fall back to regroup. To flee to live and stay in the fight is smart. To stand your ground knowing the odds are stacked against you will get you killed fast. Cheap armor is better than no armor. If surviving shtf teotwawki when doctors will be hard to come by I’d save up for the best armor. Having the best gun but cheap armor makes no sense.

    • anon says:


      You made some very good points, Grey man and the short comings of wearing body armor.

      I guess they will know when they see the positioned sandbags and the overnight erected, walled firing positions.

      I am not running nowhere to fight another day. I mean to send them to their maker. It’s about attitude. Mine is not getting any nicer.

    • What of the ‘armor’ that IS NOT STEEL, but made of the same stuff that Cadillac uses for their V-6 ‘super-engine’ heads? It’s a polymer or ???? (damned if I can remember tonight). They came with my Level IIIa (front, back, balls).

      The UK sells “refurbished” armor (LEVEL IIIa) that is thicker than most, yet reasonable in weight and mobility. Without plates they are selling for around $250 and up …which ain’t bad at all.

      I’d rather place the steel around me (and not move) than carry the shit everywhere. Lastly, I intend to use water for ‘ghosting’ and other ‘past-times’ so ANY extra weight isn’t on my list. Just what you need to get it done and no more…

  25. Anonymous says:

    The ARMY buying bulletproof body armor?

    This is absolutely shocking!

    There has got to be evil intent behind this, why else would they want something like this that clearly has no normal use to them?

    Bet they’re also buying bullets and guns so you better watch out. they’ll be coming for you soon!

  26. OkieRim says:

    Is this 177K “plates” or 177K “complete sets”? IMHO, this is nothing. Many times a service will solicit a ktr for items that other services will use, not too mention that these might just be used for future attrition.

  27. Probably just replacing what they gave to ISIS.

  28. Kevin2 says:

    They would need a whole lot more than 177,000 plates taking on China or Russia. The probability of that going nuclear is high. A “limited” engagement in Syria likewise would have a high probability of a direct confrontation with Russia which rapidly escalates. I therefore think all of the above is improbable.

    If the paragraph above is taken at face value for conversation sake the likely use is another foreign misadventure that we don’t know about or domestic disorder. Sometimes painting by the numbers results in an ugly picture.

  29. Chuck Spears says:

    oh for fucks sake.
    SAPI plates break like everything else and need to be replaced.

    • Lone wolverine says:

      High power rifle resistant plates break if you drop them. . .? Yea yea that’s right. For fs sake can’t you understand that ? And a billion and a half rounds of hollow point 40 cal. That the military doesn’t use is for practice . And those no hesitation targets of pregnant women and kids and old people. Is nothing to worry about . The MRAPs same thing move along nothing to see. How stupid do they think we are?

  30. steve says:

    If my math is correct, that is $536 per plate. Seems like the govt should get a much better price, buying in bulk like this.

  31. Anonymous says:

    177,000 of THEM trying to subject 300,000,000 of the People who must have their own armor that isn’t limited to a big business contractor’s cushy deal with the involuntary taxpayer’s masters? These are only BASIC protection (which is better than nothing!). The People can have even better protection by being innovative and not thinking inside the military’s box.

  32. Sean says:

    Or maybe the Army just used up all its supply of plates losing the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan. Just resupply.

  33. Sgt Tremor says:

    “Why indeed is such a large purchase taking place? Is the U.S. military gearing up for war in Syria, or perhaps the big one with Russia? Are the powers-that-be preparing to take on angry rioters and civil unrest here at home?

    This isn’t just training, and it isn’t scenario. Something big is being planned.”

    Why always the connedspiracy? Is it because none of you can identify your tin-foil hat from your head?

    I work for the Army. We are replacing aging equipment. Nothing more. Goes along with a lot of the surplus military vehicles being sold. That’s all this is. No connedspiracy. Just the ones you idiots keep fabricating.

    • Leonard says:

      I’m with the Sarge on this one. Have a number of friends and family in the Army, and if the feds ever tried to use them to disarm us, they will NOT do it. A general or other military “politician” may agree to send troops in to do the deed, but our soldiers WILL NOT kill us.