Researchers at IIT-Delhi have developed the world’s lightest bulletproof jackets, which are capable of stopping eight bullets fired from an AK-series rifle. The jackets, which weigh 8.2 kg, are over 2 kg lighter than the ones being used by the Indian Army.
Another version of the jacket weighs 9.5 kg and can stop as many as six bullets fired from certain sniper rifles. The bulletproof jackets that are being used by Indian soldiers currently weigh about 10.5 kg.
Professor Naresh Bhatnagar, from the Centre of Excellence on Personal Body Armour in IIT Delhi said the jackets have been developed in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation and it took them 15 years to reach this point.
“In In 2008, an Army Major requested us to focus on lighter bulletproof jackets. The jackets that they used at the time used iron as the primary material and weighed 22-25 kg. The Major, who had been shot at in the line of duty, stressed on the need for drastically reducing the weight of the jackets so that the soldiers could operate effectively on the frontlines,” Mr Bhatnagar said.
The professor said that the new jackets are made of polymer and ceramic materials. He said the research on the jackets was so exhaustive that 25 M.Tech and 12 Ph.D students had done their theses on various aspects of them.
Dr. Hemant Chauhan, a senior scientist at IIT Delhi, said the testing on the jackets was done internally. “We fire ballistic bullets using gas guns to carry the tests,” he said. The jackets have got the approval of the Bureau of Indian Standards
The IIT researchers said they will be presenting the jackets at a NATO conference in Germany next month and expressed the hope that the gear will be saving the lives of Indian soldiers soon.