The quality of bulletproof jackets in use across the country came into focus when Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare was killed in a combat with terrorists during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Eleven years after the incident, the Ordnance Clothing Factory (OCF) based at Avadi in Chennai, a government organisation functioning under the Ministry of Defence, is gearing up to supply bulletproof vests and jackets to the armed and paramilitary forces in the country.
According to V. Mathivanan, joint general manager of OCF, Avadi, the bulletproof vests and jackets developed by the defence establishment have already undergone quality checks and emerged ‘effective’.
“OCF has developed two ranges of bullet-resistant clothing for the armed forces and paramilitary personnel. The vest is designed and built to protect the personnel from pistols and rifles. The jacket is strong enough to resist bullets fired from assault rifles like the AK-47 and INSAS,” he told The Hindu on the sidelines of an MSME conclave in Coimbatore on Wednesday.
Mr. Mathivanan said that a few samples of the bulletproof vests and jackets manufactured by OCF, a unit of the Ordnance Equipment Group of Factories of the Defence Ministry, were already given to the armed forces for use after the quality check.
“The bulletproof vest and jacket were tested at the Ordnance Factory, Tiruchi (OFT). The vest and jacket could resist the bullets during the quality check which involved firing from close ranges,” he said.
OFT is one of the arms manufacturing units of the Defence Ministry where indigenous assault rifle INSAS, LMG and other weapons are made.
According to Mr. Mathivanan, the vest developed by OCF will have bullet resisting panels on the sides to ensure protection of the user from firing from the sides too. The jacket will ensure greater protection than the vest.
Among the three main raw materials, OCF imports para aramid fabric and high density polyethylene from foreign countries. The third main raw material namely the silicon carbide plate is procured locally.
While OFC is making majority of the defence clothing inhouse, Mr. Mathivanan said that it was looking for outside agencies for the stitching of overalls for the armed forces.
OCF will give technical support to them. It was also looking for the supply of basic materials like buttons and sewing threads for defence clothing from outside, he added.