The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan

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Hard Glass And A Rearview Mirror
by James Dunnigan
June 29, 2008

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

In the last year, over 10,000 Objective Gunner Protection Kits (OGPK) have been delivered to Iraq and Afghanistan. What makes the OGPK so special is that it gives turret gunners (in hummers, MRAPs and trucks) all round protection, without sacrificing visibility. This is done by using lots of bulletproof glass and rear-view mirrors. Cheaper and lighter than the remote control turrets, the OGPK came about when suggestions from the troops were picked up by U.S. Army equipment developers, who designed and tested the system in less than a year back in 2005. Shipment began in 2006, and the new turret armor proved a big success.

The turrets are designed to be easily installed by vehicle mechanics. With turret gunners no longer so vulnerable to snipers or explosions, morale and effectiveness are up. A battery powered motor kit was also developed, to make it easier to rotate a turret equipped with the OGPK. On the down side, all of this adds over half a ton of weight to the vehicle, and changes the center of gravity. With OGPK and other armor kits, hummers become so heavy that key mechanical components increasingly break during rough driving. This means troops have to be careful of how much weight they transport in a heavily armored hummer.

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