The Indian Army soldiers will soon get bulletproof helmets from Kanpur-based defence firm MKU as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative.
An Indian Army officer told FE: “Northern and Western Command have been identified as priority sectors. The contract is for about 1 lakh ballistic helmets and 60,000 ‘commander helmets’ with integrated radio headphones. The soldiers posted there will receive the helmets first from the company over the next two years.” The ballistic helmet provides 360° head protection to a soldier.
At a value of around Rs 180 crore, the company won the bid against three companies — Shri Lakshmi Defence Solutions, Tata Advanced Materials (TAML) and Integrated Defence Products (IDP) — to deliver 1,60,000 bulletproof helmets conforming to Army specifications.
“Once the company finishes the delivery in 2019 of the current order, it will be given a follow-on order of supplying 2 lakh more helmets to the Indian Army,” a source said.
The helmet is built to US specification NIJ 40 which means it can withstand the impact of a 9 mm pistol or carbine bullet from close range and a 5.56 mm rifle bullet from further. It also protects soldiers’ heads from flying shrapnel and grenades and artillery shells.
Currently, Armymen are using ‘patka’ helmets which don’t provide protection on the top or back of the head. These helmets weigh around 2.5 kg as compared to the new helmets ordered which weigh 1.2-1.4 kg. The light weight improves manoeuverability.
For a five-year-old tender, the company which has been supplying ballistic helmets to foreign armies has for the first time got selected to supply to the Indian Army. The current order is expected to equip less than one-seventh of a 1.2 million-strong Army. Of these, some 4 lakh soldiers are in operations at any given time.
The Kanpur-based firm has expanded global presence over the years with customers in over 100 countries in Europe, South America and Africa and holds patented technologies that are recognised in the US, Europe and other parts of the world. Its products are certified by the leading names in the world, including, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), US, HP White Labs, US, Mellrichstadt, Germany, TNO, Netherlands and DRDO, India.