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India gets its own Standards for Bullet resistant jackets; to supply the jackets to South East Asia 

Financial Express , Jan 10, 2019

The first-ever Indian Standard (IS) on Bullet Resistant Jacket for protection against small arms and ammunition for the defence, paramilitary and police forces was released today.

As has been reported by the Financial Express Online earlier, after a long time India will have its own Standard for Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJ): IS17051:2018, which has now been finalized. The standard prescribes minimum requirements of bulletproof jackets against small arms & their evaluation procedures.

IS 17051-2018 specifies five size designations based on chest/bust girth- XS (72-80 cm), S (above 80-88), M (above 88-96), L (above 96-104), XL (above 104-112). And shall be designed ergonomically to minimize restrictions of movement, which has been ensured by conducting field tests by personnel.

It also includes optional requirements of Quick release system, Dynamic weight distribution system and high buoyancy jackets and covers physical requirements like protection area of Soft armour panel (SAP) (Front, back, groin, neck, collar etc ) and Hard armour panel (HAP), (Front, Back and side for 360 degree protection), maximum aerial densities of BR panels and total weight of jacket. It also specifies six threat levels faced by Indian Army and Para military (Level 1 to 6).

The standard has been adopted by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) after the draft finalised by the Textiles Protective Clothing Sectional Committee was approved by the Textile Divisional Council.

The adoption of the standard is considered as a milestone in setting minimum performance requirements of bullet resistant jackets and screens their supply so that only acceptable quality reaches the user.

The standard has been customised to Indian needs and would eventually lead to reduction in fatal casualties to the security forces wearing such jackets. Until now, the bullet proof jackets and helmets being provided to the Indian security forces is based on the NIJ III+ Standard, which refers to ballistic resistance of a body armour.

At a meeting jointly organised by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and BIS, Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said that the action now would be on addressing the queries and concerns of industry by BIS and DRDO labs and equipment and methodologies for testing the standard which falls into the broader category of technical textiles.

The challenge is reducing the weight of the jacket from 10.5 kg to 6 kg in consonance with scientific criteria. And the IS for bullet resistant jackets is expected to help in speeding up procurement by the user agencies and in testing of materials. The standard should be adopted in all procurement orders of the security forces.

According to Surina Rajan, Director General, BIS, said, “Our work begins now as we have the indigenous capacity to go to the next level, i.e. use of lighter material for jackets. The standard could become a base to supply the jackets to South East Asia where the requirements are similar to India’s.”

The new standard may not be uniform for different security forces operating in different types of terrain. Therefore, standards have to be dynamic and change with the change in conditions, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO, pointed out.