Nine years since the first demand was made, the Indian Army has inked a major contract to procure 1.86 lakh (1,86,138 to be precise) bulletproof jackets (BPJs) from an indigenous manufacturer. The contract, worth Rs. 639 crores, has been made with SMPP Private Limited, which specialises in bulletproof solutions and has already supplied products to Air Force, naval commandos and paramilitary forces.
It is pertinent to mention here that various vendors applied to provide the Indian Army with BPJs but failed to meet the standards comprising light-weight gear that can protect head, neck, chest, groin and sides of the foot-soldiers alongside offering greater agility.
Under the terms of contract, the bulletproof jackets that will be provided to the Indian Army will boast of state-of-the-art specifications along with the enhanced protection level. The modularity feature in these jackets will not only provide protection to the soldier’s body but will also enable flexibility.
New bulletproof jackets ensure 360-degree protection to the soldier during wartime even from the hard steel core ammunition.
Furthermore, the procurement of BPJs has been made under the ‘Buy Indian’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure, giving a boost to Central Government’s ‘Make In India’ initiative.
The agreement was finalised after serious concerns over BPJs for the army men were raised amidst the security situation on the border and in counter-terrorism areas.
The products will even meet the most stringent standards of the Indian Army – advanced GSQRs 1438 (technical parameters). “These bulletproof jackets have ‘Boron Carbide Ceramic’ which is the lightest material for ballistic protection,” Dr. S C Kansal, Chairman and Managing Director, SMPP, said.
It is expected that SMPP Private Limited will complete the delivery of jackets in the coming three years.