After a long wait of more than twenty years, Indian Army is all set to get a much needed protective gear in the form of bullet-proof helmets for its soldiers. Indian Army will be in possession of 1,59,000 of these bulletproof helmets within two months. Defense Ministry has given the green signal for the procurement of these bullet-proof helmets for the soldiers.
The helmets are totally indigenous and will be procured from MKU, an Indian firm which also supplies military equipment to the UN and NATO, according to Ministry of Defense (MOD) sources. Indian Army has started to make emphasis on procuring many major equipment through Make in India route and this is a part of the initiative. “The new ballistic helmets are arriving after decades for the army. An initial quantity of 1,59,000 helmets will be coming and they will replace the older helmets being currently used,” said MOD sources. Close to 6000 of these helmets will be given to the Indian Navy.
According to a report in Economic Times, the crucial factor of these new helmets is they are bulletproof. The older ones could only protect a soldier from splinters, rocks and a bullet that has ricocheted and grazed the helmet. “If a bullet directly hits one of these older helmets, it would not protect the soldier wearing it,” explained the sources. The army began using patkas, which is an improvisation to the older helmets. But a patka can only protect one’s forehead, not the rest of the head. Army personnel explained that these patkas which are being used in counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East, will not be best suited for war-time use, as it provides only limited protection. On the other hand, a ballistic helmet is being seen by the army as a protective gear for soldiers to be used during war and counter-terrorist operations. Some of the ballistic helmets will also have radio sets attached to them for better communication between soldiers during operations.
In November last year, Ministry of Defense had ordered the procurement of bullet-proof jackets for the soldiers of Indian Army, ending a long wait to a much needed demand. With bullet-proof jackets, and now the bullet-proof helmets, Indian Army is steadily on its way towards modernization which is not only going to save lives, but also increase the morale and strength of Indian Army !