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Indigenous bulletproof vest 'Bhabha Kavach': Just what the armed forces need

By Vikas

Swiftness and stealth are two of the most important things needed by a trained force to carry out operations successfully. The Bhabha Atomic Reseach Centre (BARC) has developed a new bulletproof jacket for the Central armed forces, which is not only cheaper but also much lighter. Lighter bulletproof vest means that the troops would be able to move faster even on difficult terrains.

The Bhabha Kavach (Image courtesy - http://barc.gov.in/)

At present, Central armed forces use heavy steel-armoured jackets that weigh between 10kg to 17kg. Using technology developed at BARC, scientists have brought the weight down to anywhere between 3.1 kg and 6.6 kg.

BARC has developed a special process to strengthen high molecular weight polyethene resulting in high ballistic performance composite sheets (called BARC Nano-Sheets). Bhabha Kavach made up of BARC Nano-Sheets are lighter in weight with reduced trauma level with respect to the existing jackets, said the BARCH website.

Bhabha Kavach, named after nuclear physicist Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, is made using extremely hard boron carbide ceramics that is hot-pressed with carbon nano-tubes and composite polymer.

Apart from being lighter, sturdier and more reliable, Bhabha Kavach will also be cost effective. As against Rs 1.5 lakh for importing one jacket, BARC scientists said that the indigenously built Bhabha Kavach will cost Rs 60,000-70,000 and the price could come down. Bhabha Kavach has undergone 30 in-house trials to check for various parameters, reported Hindustan Times

The idea to develop a lighter bulletproof jacket was initiated in 2015. The former director general of CRPF, K Durga Prasad, said that weight of the bullet proof matters when forces are on a long duration mission. Heavier jacket becomes an impediment when there are operations that last around 3-7 days, an HT report quoted Prasad as saying.

These jackets would be needed in large numbers and will be manufactured by Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, a defence PSU.

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