India to export Bullet Proof Jackets? South Asian countries keen to buy

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Updated: Sep 14, 2019 7:54 PM

The acceptance of a product by the Indian armed forces itself works as a certification for quality, globally. Everyone is aware of the stringent processes that our forces enforce before clearing a product for induction into the services, Chatterji says.

Top officials of BIS have stated that that IS could become a base to supply jackets to the South Asian countries as their requirements are similar to India’s.

India, which now has its own BIS standards for Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJs), is in discussion with neighbouring as well as friendly countries for adopting these standards.

Industry sources have said that “There has been interest expressed and it is likely that these would be accepted soon. India is already exporting Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJ) conforming to International Standards like NIJ. Once these standards get implemented in other countries export of BPJs made as per BIS standards would also commence.” Adding, “The export of gear based on BIS norms is based on Adoption of these norms and export orders.”

The ever Indian Standard: IS17051:2018 for the BPJs for protection against small arms and ammunition for the defence, paramilitary and police forces was released earlier this year in January and India became the fourth company in the world after the US, UK and Germany to have its own national standard on BPJs. This outlines the minimum requirements of BPJs against small arms and also their evaluation procedures.

Top officials of BIS have stated that that IS could become a base to supply jackets to the South Asian countries as their requirements are similar to India’s.

Once the armed forces and paramilitary forces place an order based on the BIS: IS17051:2018, they will be made at the two PSUs including Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited and Ordnance Factory Avadi, near Chennai, which have world class facilities.

In the absence of Indian Standard for the BPJs, the body armour was procured based on the specifications given by the customer. There is a requirement of more than three lakh BPJs for the Indian Armed Forces.

Defence Exports

Recently, Secretary of the Department of Defence Production under the Ministry of Defence, Ajay Kumar had said that “In 2018-19 India had produced defence-related equipment worth Rs 80,000 crore, out of which Rs 11,000-crore worth armaments were exported.”

Based on requirements received from Central Asian countries, India is stressing on exporting defence equipment to friendly nations.” India is already exporting defence equipment to various friendly nations, including to those in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Kumar had said.

India is manufacturing various platforms indigenously including the warships, fighter aircraft, helicopters, and trainer aircraft.

What is the BIS for the BPJs?

IS 17051-2018 has specified five size designations which are based on chest/bust girth- XS (72-80 cm), S (above 80-88), M (above 88-96), L (above 96-104), XL (above 104-112).

This jacket is going to provide 360 degrees protection to soldiers and even protect it from the steel core of AK-47 bullets which travel at 700 metres per second

These will then be designed ergonomically which will help in minimizing restrictions of movement. This has been based on the field trials by the personnel who will be using these jackets.

Besides having a dynamic weight distribution system, there will be an optional requirement of Quick release system.

The high buoyancy jackets will have Soft armour panel (SAP) (Front, back, groin, neck, collar, etc).

There will be hard armour panel (HAP) which will cover the Front, Back, and side giving 360 degrees protection.

There will be a maximum aerial density of BR panels with six threat levels are taken into consideration as has been specified by the Indian Army and the Paramilitary forces.

Until now the jackets and the helmets used by the forces is based on NIJ III+ Standard, which refers to ballistic resistance of body armour.

Expert View

Sharing his views on the export of BPJs, Brig SK Chatterji (Retd) says that “Indian industries in the defence sector need to market their products and services globally if they have to grow. The buyers of defence products are primarily governments. In addition, its technology breakthroughs that’s going to be the most important lever of growth.

Since the focus has been on indigenisation of its defence inventory, it’s extremely important that not just Indian original equipment manufacturers (OEM), but MSMEs and start-ups, should focus on technology acquisition and development. “Only then will we be able to provide equipment that is world-class at lower costs and penetrate the huge global defence market,” he adds.

The acceptance of a product by the Indian armed forces itself works as a certification for quality, globally. Everyone is aware of the stringent processes that our forces enforce before clearing a product for induction into the services, Chatterji says.

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