India’s Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a new lightweight bulletproof jacket (BPJ) for the Indian Army which reportedly offers 360-degree protection from enemy fire to the soldiers deployed in combat.
Developed by the Defence Materials and Stores Research and Development Establishment (DMSRDE) lab of DRDO in Kanpur, the Front Hard Armour Panel (FHAP) jacket weighing 9 kg was tested at Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Chandigarh and met relevant BIS standards, DRDO said in a press release.
“The importance of this vital development lies in the fact that each gram of BPJ weight reduction is crucial in enhancing soldier comfort while ensuring survivability. This technology reduces the weight of the medium-sized BPJ from 10.4 to 9.0 kg. Very specific materials and processing technologies have been developed in the laboratories for the purpose,” the statement added.
DRDO was commended by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh for developing the lightweight BPJ, designed to make the soldiers more comfortable. Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO also congratulated the DMSRDE team for the development.
The Indian armed forces have faced a critical shortage of such BPJs, especially in counter-terror operations in J&K and anti-Naxal operations in many states of India.
The latest challenge the army faced was in Kashmir where the militants have lately been using the armor-piercing steel core bullets. The DRDO-developed BPJ reportedly offers 360-degree protection from enemy fire to the soldiers deployed in combat.
DMSRDE Kanpur a DRDO laboratory has developed a Light Weight Bullet Proof Jacket weighing 9.0 kg meeting the qualitative requirements of Indian Army. The Front Hard Armour Panel jacket was tested successfully at TBRL Chandigarh and met relevant BIS standards. #AtmaNirbharBharat pic.twitter.com/NwalIkfUG8
— DRDO (@DRDO_India) April 1, 2021
A contract worth Rs 639 crore was signed in April 2018 for the procurement of 1,86,138 BPJs with SMPP Pvt Ltd, out of which around one lakh have been delivered to the forces. More efforts are on to replace the old and bulky armor jackets currently with the army, which provide less protection and impede the agility of the soldiers in battle.
Multiple Indian companies, both government and private, export bulletproof jackets to over 100 countries, including those in Europe. India is the fourth country to have its own national standard on bulletproof jackets after the US, the UK, and Germany.