In a move that signifies growing self-reliance, the Indian Air Force will get 10,000 bullet-proof jackets for their special forces and other personnel from Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).

 The lightweight bullet-resistant body armour is expected to replace bulky and heavy jackets that are slowly being phased out from the entire armed forces, sources said.

“TASL has signed a contract for the supply of 10,000 numbers of bulletproof jackets of medium and large size to Indian Air Force (IAF) in June 2022 after qualifying all the specifications, product testing and validation requirements,” a TASL spokesperson confirmed to businessline. The supply of these bulletproof jackets for the first time to the Indian Air Force is as per the terms of the contract, the spokesperson pointed out.

The IAF has been wanting to equip its Garud Commando Force with lighter jackets resistant to close combat weapons and also that they are not a hindrance in the swift movement of the commandoes, said sources.  

The TASL, however, did not reveal the worth of the BP jackets the IAF is buying from them. The defence arm of the Tatas, however, stated that the TASL offers solutions for personal protection requirements by manufacturing bullet-resistant jackets, bullet-resistant helmets and associated solutions for the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and all state police departments.

“These protective equipment capabilities are combined with low weight, breathable comfort, keeping the body armour snug fit against the torso with larger protection area against higher threat protection,” it pointed out.

Not just the TASL, but other indigenous companies such as Star Wire (India) Ltd, MKU (Kanpur) too are manufacturing body armours, taking up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to shed dependence on imports for making BP jackets. As per a two-year-old NITI Aayog estimate, tri-services of Army, Navy and Air Force, central armed police force like BSF, CRPF and CISF, and police need at least 3 lakh bullet-proof jackets.

Towards the last week of September, Army issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the procurement of 47,627 bullet-proof  jackets along with accessories under the ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ category with 60 per cent indigenous content. Now the  Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has come up with a national specification offering 360-degree protection for domestic manufacturers have to follow.