After Seven Long Years, Indian Army Finally Gets First Lot Of 50,000 Bulletproof Vests

After almost eight years of delay, the Army has started getting new bulletproof jackets for its troops posted in counter-insurgency and militancy-hit areas. The first lot of 20,000 jackets has reached the Army stores and handed over to various formations.

This is the first tranche of the part of the emergency order of 50,000 jackets placed in March for Rs 140 crore. Despite numerous efforts in the past decade, the Army faces a shortage of bulletproof jackets — a mandatory requirement to saves lives in counter-insurgency operations.

The Army needs 353,765 new jackets sanctioned as per a plan in 2009. Of these, 1.86 lakh were to be supplied in the 11th plan (2007-2012) and another 1.67 lakh jackets were to be supplied during the 12th plan (2012-2017). With the 12th plan ending in March 2017, only 50,000 have been ordered from TATA Advanced Materials Limited, which in the past has supplied jackets to the Army.

The fault lies with the “slow” decision making process.The Army has been looking for modern light weight modular bulletproof jackets that allow greater agility to troops while protecting the head, neck, chest, groin and sides of the infantry soldiers. The Army’s existing bulky bulletproof vests are near the end of their operational life.

The tender for purchase of 1.86 lakh modular jackets was scrapped in October 2015 as samples offered by six vendors failed to clear field trials as per the Army specified benchmarks.

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has also come up with a prototype bulletproof jacket, as per the newer technical specifications, using different state-of-the-art ballistic materials.

FIRST LOT OF 20,000 JACKETS REACHES STORES

– The first lot of 20,000 bulletproof jackets has reached the Army stores. This is the first tranche of the part of the emergency order of 50,000 jackets placed in March for Rs 140 crore
– The Army needs 353,765 new jackets sanctioned as per a plan in 2009
– Of these, 1.86 lakh were to be supplied in the 11th plan (2007-2012) and another 1.67 lakh jackets were to be supplied during the 12th plan (2012-2017)

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