New Delhi. In a major boost to domestic defence industry, India has begun exporting bulletproof jackets as per its own standards, which conform to international norms, to over 100 countries, including European nations, according to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
A top BIS official said that India is the fourth country after the US, UK and Germany to have its own national standard on bulletproof jacket which provides 360-degree protection.
The BIS is a national body that sets quality standards for various products and services. So far, it has set more than 20,000 standards.
“We brought all stakeholders together and decided on a national standard, which is of international quality. Armed forces are now procuring as per this standard,” he said.
Elaborating, J K Gupta who is a scientist at BIS and also a member secretary on making national standards for bulletproof jacket, said, “India was not able to procure quality bulletproof jackets in the absence of standards. So, there was a long pending demand from the armed forces to set quality standards for this product.”
In December 2018, the BIS framed a national standard for bulletproof jacket following a direction from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Niti Aayog, he said.
“The standard on bulletproof jacket was published in December 2018 and now everybody is implementing it. Under the Make in India programme, we have the world class facility and design capabilities. We are exporting these jackets to more than 100 countries even in Europe…,” he said.
Two PSUs Medani and Ordnance factory at Avadi, Chennai and private firms SNPP (Palwal), Starwire (Faridabad) in Haryana and MKU (Kanpur) in Uttar Pradesh are manufacturing bulletproof jackets as per the BIS norms, Gupta said.
The domestic players have already supplied about 1.86 lakh jackets to defence forces and the tendering process for further supply is underway, he added.
Highlighting salient features of the bulletproof standard, Gupta said tough quality norms are set to ensure jackets can be manufactured in various sizes to suit requirement of soldiers and provide 360-degree protection, including from AK-47 hard steel core bullets approaching at 700 metres per second.
These jackets have a provision for dynamic weight distribution system and design flexibility as well as uniform and detailed testing protocol to ensure everyone is able to adopt the same standard, he said adding that BIS
has incorporated testing protocols in the standard to ascertain the shelf-life of jackets.
Recently, Niti Aayog member and former DRDO chief V K Saraswat had said more than three lakh bulletproof jackets will be required by Indian armed forces.
According to officials, India so far did not have any specific standard for bulletproof jacket. So far, orders were placed for military and paramilitary forces based on specifications laid out by a customer.