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The Indian Defence Ministry has ordered expeditious clearance of pending proposals for acquisition of arms and ammunition for the Indian Army. Following scathing criticism by a parliamentary panel, the Defence Ministry is “taking action over many critical acquisitions for the army, including bullet-proof jackets and latest weapons,” said official sources.

Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (Midhani), a DPSU under the Department of Defence Production, had developed bullet-proof jackets made of steel. However, since it did not qualify, it was decided to arm the jackets with exclusive fibres such as aramid or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.

However, the technology to manufacture the fabric was not available in the country, though the downstream technology to further process the fabric into material for the jacket is available in the Indian private sector. Since there are very few foreign manufacturers with the technology, Midhani has now initiated the process to acquire the technology to make the specialised fibre in the country, in collaboration with foreign companies.

Referring to an earlier RFP for procuring 186,000 bullet-proof jackets, five companies had responded, each offering two models of the jacket. After extensive evaluation, the government signed a contract last month for procuring the bullet-proof jackets. The new jackets are to provide 360-degree protection to the soldier in combat, including from hard steel core bullets.

Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (Midhani) has been supplying bulk quantities of armour steel products offering ballistic protection against a variety of weapon systems including 9 mm SMC, AK-47, 7.62mm SLR based on technologies developed by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a constituent of the Indian Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).


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