By Ayaskant Das, Staff Writer
New Delhi: India plans to procure body armour developed by its army officer indigenously and is readying to identify a global industry to produce the bulletproof jackets, the process for which could begin in March, people with knowledge of the matter said today.
The Indian Army will come up with a Request for Information to find either a local or a global industry to transfer the technology for what’s been described as the world’s lightest full-body bulletproof suit, developed by an officer at the College of Military Engineering (CME) in Pune, Maharashtra.
The prototype of the indigenous body armour have successfully gone through field trials at the Army War College in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh recently, the people, mentioned earlier, said, requesting anonymity citing rules.
The technology for the bodysuit is ready for transfer. User trials will be conducted as per requirements of field formations of the army and the companies that respond to the RFI, they said.
The suit has the capability to withstand 9-mm bullets fired using MP9 carbine from as close a range as five metres, sniper bullets fired from a close range of 10 metres, burst rounds of MP9 carbine and grenade splinters of 2-mm to 4-mm diameter from point blank range.
The technology for the suit has been developed by Major Anoop Mishra of the Indian Army, posted at present as an instructor at the CME, after 1.5 years spent on design, development, trials and testing.
A patent for the technology has been applied with the Delhi-based National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), while certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards and the US-based National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is awaited. The patent is likely to be issued by February, following which the Indian Army can transfer the technology to an industry for mass production.
The suit comprises a full-body soft armor, which is flexible and offers protection from the neck to ankle level, and a hard armor, which protects the chest, back and the sides laterally. The suit has been named ‘Sarvatra Kavach‘ for offering 360-degree protection to the human body against sniper bullets.
The hard armour has undergone successful tests at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) in Chandigarh, while the full bodysuit has also been tested at the ballistics laboratory of the Bengaluru-based Tata Advanced Materials Limited (TAML).
“It can easily be rated as the best bulletproof bodysuit technology available internationally. The NATO-certified bodysuit confirms to NIJ Level III+ standards, weighs 19.8 kg and can only withstand AK-47 rounds shot at chest level,” Major Anoop Mishra told Defence.Capital over the phone.
“In Sarvatra Kavach, the hard armor confirms to NIJ Level IV standards and the soft armor confirms to NIJ Level III+ standards. The total weight of the bodysuit is just 14.5 kg. It can provide protection even against sniper bullets and is at least 25 per cent lighter than the best bulletproof bodysuits available internationally,” Mishra said.
The best bulletproof jackets in use at present with the Indian Army confirm to NIJ Level III+ protection. No armed or paramilitary force across the globe at present boasts of a NIJ Level IV bulletproof bodysuits.
The material used in ‘Sarvatra Kavach’ is a composite fibre of boron nanotube and polyethylene that has been named ‘Dynam‘ by Major Anoop Mishra, its founder. The fibre is far less expensive than ‘Aramid‘, a synthetic fibre that has been in use since1974 by companies which supply bulletproof jackets to the US Army.
NIJ standards specify that dynamic trauma suffered by bulletproof gear while in operation should never exceed 43 mm keeping in view the physical stature of soldiers and Marines in the US.
Given the physical stature of soldiers drawn from the sub-continent, the Indian Army has set dynamic trauma standards at a maximum of 25 mm. The maximum dynamic trauma will never exceed 15 mm to 16 mm in the ‘Sarvatra Kavach’, people, mentioned earlier, said.