Lightest Bullet Proof Jackets for Indian Army
In 2009, Indian Army identified a shortage of 3,53,755 BPJs and procurement overdue from a very long time. 9 years later, a contract for procurement of 1,86,138 BPJs, through the capital route, was concluded with a private firm in April, 2018.
The contract was won by SMPP Pvt Ltd, a small Delhi-based company which has a Research and Development Centre in the Okhla Industrial Area. The deal worth ₹ 639 crore. As per the company, these jackets are made up of lightest bullet proof material Boron Carbide Ceramic and meets the Indian Army’s stringent quality standards.
In February 2021, Minister of State for Defence, informed Parliament that out of the aforementioned order, 1,00,000 BPJs have been received so far. In May 2021, The Indian Army has projected a requirement of 50,000 new bulletproof jackets (BPJs) for its frontline troops, the procurement process for which is expected to have started.
DRDO lightest BPJ in collaboration with Academia
Addressing to the MSME during the Defence & Technology Expo Empowering MSME in Chennai, the DRDO chief said that DRDO will soon produce the world’s lightest bullet proof fabric in collaboration with academia. DRDO has 10 centre of excellence in R&D
which has been renamed to DIA CoE(DRDO, Academia & Industry Centre of excellence). With these syncretic efforts the world’s lightest bullet proof fabric is set to come out of these centres. Industries will join the project from the date of sanction. Earlier it was done in phased manner and industries were brought at later stage.
Last year, DRDO has announced to have developed a lightweight Bullet-Proof Jacket (BPJ) with the help of new technology. The jacket has been developed by Kanpur-based Defence Materials and Stores Research and Development Establishment (DMSRDE), a DRDO laboratory.
The technology that reduces the weight of the jacket assumes significance as it would enhance the comfort of soldiers while ensuring survivability. The Front Hard Armour Panel (FHAP) of the jacket was tested at Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Chandigarh. It has successfully completed the most stringent Indian Army GSQR 1438.
DRDO’s BPJ Specifications
Each gram of weight reduction of the bulletproof jacket is crucial. The indigenous technology reduces the weight of the medium-sized BPJ from 10.4 kg to 9 kg.
The BPJ consists of three parts: Soft Armour Panels (SAPs), Hard Armour Panels (HAPs) and carrier to accommodate SAPs and HAPs.
The Soft Armour Panels provides protection against 9 mm carbine form a distance of 05 meter with Back Face Signature (BFS) less than 25 mm.
All Hard Armour Panels (HAPs) provides protection against 7.62 SLR, AK-47 (MSC) bullets from 10 meter distance while the Front HAP also provides protection against 7.62 SLR, AK-47 (Mild Steel Core & VHSC) bullets.
DRDO’s BPJ has been successfully designed (from ab-initio), fabricated and evaluated in all the three sizes (Small, Medium and Large) meeting all requirements of Indian Army GSQR 1438 and have been successfully evaluated as per GSQR 1438 at TBRL, Chandigarh.
Domestic requirement & Export
India has huge requirement for BPJs not only for armed forces but also for paramilitary forces, state polices and other security agencies. DRDO has also issued Industrial licenses to 15 companies for manufacturing bulletproof jackets having production capacity in the country of over 10 lakh per annum to meet the domestic and export requirement. India currently exports bulletproof jackets to 18 countries.