Bulletproof jackets: Govt to float int`l proposals
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 17:39
New Delhi: Government will soon float international proposals for procuring bullet proof jackets complying with latest benchmarks for protection of troops under the command of the Home Ministry.

The new jackets will have to comply with best standards in body armour protection-- NIJ IV-- to protect to troops in combat from the lethal bullets of Self Loading Rifles (SLR).

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is a research, development and evaluation agency of the US Department of Justice and the standards set by it for bullet proof jackets are followed by security forces worldwide as a benchmark specification.

According to sources, the initial trials of these bullet proof jackets by a panel appointed to study the feasibility of these jackets has found that these vests should be light-weight and be able to protect commandos and paramilitary personnel from bullet injuries at the sides of the torso, neck and the groin region.

"The bullet proof jacket should be flexible and allow complete freedom of movement without compromising the ability to acquire and neutralise threats from any firing position including when wearing a ballistic helmet. The full body armour should have throat protector and upper arm protector as add on," they said.

The Home Ministry has recently procured 59,000 jackets--complying NIJ III norms-- for various paramilitary forces like CRPF, CISF, ITBP, SSB, BSF and the commandos of the NSG.

Currently, these forces are facing a shortage of more than 85,000 bullet proof jackets.

The CRPF, world's largest paramilitary force, leads the table with shortage of 40,069 jackets followed by the BSF which needs 15,467 of such life saving vests.

During the initial trials, the commando units of paramilitary forces and officers of the Special Forces of the Army advocated a better protection body armour for troops which will minimise loss of lives by stopping the bullets from deadly guns and rifles, sources said.

"The sides of the torso are the most vulnerable. The personnel in combat have to be saved from this and a 360 degree protection, light-weight bullet proof jacket, is the requirement," a senior officer involved in the process said.

The officer cited the death of NSG commando Havildar Gajender Singh who lost his life during the Mumbai attack when he was air-dropped at Nariman house to flush out the holed up terrorists.

Singh suffered bullet injuries from the side of the torso during the Mumbai operation.

Such casualties can be minimised and even totally stopped once they are provided the new bulletproof vests, the officer said.


First Published: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 17:39

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