New Delhi : The Indian Army has received the first lot of 20,000 bulletproof jackets for its troops posted in counter-insurgency and anti-militancy operations, after almost eight years of wait, and they have been quickly distributed to various formations.

This is the first tranche of an emergency order of 50,000 jackets placed in March for Rs 140 crore with Tata Advance Material Limited, which had supplied the jackets to the Army even in the past, the defence ministry sources said.

They said the Army’s existing bulky bulletproof vests are near the end of their operational life and hence a tender for purchase of 1.86 lakh modular jackets was placed years ago, but no purchases could be ordered as none of the samples offered by six vendors cleared the field trials as per the Army specified benchmarks. The tender was cancelled in October last year.

In fact, the defence ministry had cleared purchase of 3,53,765 new jackets for the Army back in 2009, but no purchase took place. After the tender for 1.86 lakh jackets was cancelled, the Defence Ministry ultimately placed an emergency order for 50,000 with Tatas that met the Army’s requirement o modern light weight modular bulletproof jackets that can allow greater agility to the soldiers while protecting the head, neck, chest, groin and sides.

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