The Army is looking for an Individual Protection System, comprising ballistic helmet, bodysuit and shoes, for soldiers who face terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. It will hold a meeting soon with potential manufacturers who would make presentations. The Army intends to procure about 60,000 of the Individual Protection System, the first of its kind in India.
The Army wants that the system to be light to ensure easy mobility and reduce fatigue. It also wants the suit to have the ability to protect soldiers against blasts and also monitor vital health parameters of the soldiers wearing them. The protection system should also have devices to help jawans fight modern warfare. Earlier this month, the Army had released a questionnaire to identify probable Indian vendors who can undertake the project under the ‘make’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2016.
“A feasibility study will be conducted based on the responses of the vendors. They will be called for presenting their proposals,” said sources dealing with the project. A vendor interaction on the matter will be held on March 13 and thereafter a Request for Proposal will be sent out. The questionnaire said that the Rashtriya Rifles directorate was seeking the system. The RR is a main counter-terrorist force based in J&K.
The questionnaire said that the system should protect soldiers wearing it from 7.62x39mm bullets, used in AK-47 rifles, besides other types of ammunition. A primary weapon of terrorists in J&K is the AK-47.
A key component of the system will have to be the ballistic helmet, which should weigh about 1.2 kg. “The helmet will protect the head, face, neck and ears. It will consist of goggles for protection for the eyes,” reads the questionnaire.
“It should be a single system for best possible outcomes during modern warfare, such as sensors, night vision devices and laser range finders.” Separately, the Army is procuring 1.59 lakh ballistic helmets.
The system’s ballistic body suit should be able to protect at least 80% of the body from ballistic impact, says the questionnaire. The ballistic shoes should protect the lower part of the body from bullet splinters and mine shrapnel. Furthermore, the system should be able to monitor health parameters such as heartbeat, blood pressure and body temperature.
The army’s existing body armour comprises a bullet proof jacket which weighs 5.5kg and does not provide complete protection. The armour also comprises a bulletproof patka which only protects the sides of the head.
Lately, the Army has been focussing on providing its soldiers in combat with components such as more lethality, protection, situational awareness, survivability and mobility. This is important in view of the terrorist strikes on military stations and the fatal casualties caused in such attacks and in countering them.