Finally the wait is over. The Indian Army’s infantry soldiers are going to get modern bullet proof jackets. The Indian government has signed a contract of Rs 639 crore with a domestic defence manufacturing company SMPP Pvt Ltd to procure 1.86 Lakh bullet proof jackets. The Indian Army was pressing the centre government for buying modern bullet proof jackets since 2009, but due to our slow procurement system it took nine years. The army had purchased 50,000 jackets in an emergency in March 2016, but it could not match army’s requirement neither it helped in reducing the shortage.
SMPP Pvt Ltd has successfully cleared the stringent trials of the Indian Army. SMPP chairman S C Kansal said, “The new jackets meet the most advanced GSQRs 1438 (technical parameters) standards of the Indian Army. These bullet proof jackets have `Boron Carbide Ceramic’, which is the lightest material for ballistic protection.” These will somehow reduce the shortage, but the Indian Army needs total of 3.5 lakh jackets for the infantry soldiers.
As reported by The Times of India, an officer said, “The contracted bullet proof jackets have contemporary and state-of-the-art specifications with added protection level and coverage area. These ergonomically designed bullet proof jackets have modular parts, thereby providing immense protection and flexibility to soldiers operating in different operational situations ranging from long-distance patrolling to high-risk room intervention scenarios.” He further added, “The new bullet proof jackets will provide 360 degree protection to soldiers in combat, including from latest hard steel core bullets.”
SMPP Pvt Ltd will provide these jackets within next three years and the procurement process starts in the next two months. The deal to procure these bullet proof jackets from a domestic manufacturer will definitely give a boost to ‘Make in India’ campaign. The Indian Army is also in a dire need of modernise assault rifles and also needs to modernise the artillery guns.