Army to buy 62,500 bulletproof jackets for protection against steel core ammunition


The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued two tenders to purchase 62,500 bulletproof jackets for Army troops deployed in counter-insurgency operations and at forward locations to protect against lethal steel core bullets that now terrorists and inimical countries are using.

Through two tenders, the MoD is procuring bullet-resistant body armour under Make in India, including 47,627 jackets under the normal route. While another lot of 15,000 jackets would be procured under the emergency procurement procedure expected to be finalised in the next three to four months, said Army sources. The ministry is likely to procure 47,627 BP jackets in phases over the next 18-24 months, Army sources added.

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The specifications prepared by the Army demand that the jackets should be able to shield a soldier against 7.62 mm armour-piercing rifle bullets and steel core bullets shot from a distance of 10 metres. The Army has opted for level 4 bulletproof jackets following instances of the use of steel core bullets by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Alarmed by the new trend, the top brass is learnt to have discussed the issue during Army Commanders Conference early this year and after that, the decision was taken to upgrade the body armour for troops engaged in counter-terrorism operations and at borders.

In June, the Indian Air Force bought 10,000 bullet-resistant body armour from Tata Advanced Systems Limited. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is also enforcing a national specification for domestic manufacturers of BP jackets that offer 360-degree protection against ammunition.

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