NEW DELHI: The Army chief has assured bulletproof jackets for soldiers would be procured speedily. The ‘process to procure 1.86 lakh jackets, with new qualitative requirements, has passed technical trials and were undergoing field trials as part of the second stage of the process, he said.
“The Army is moving to provide the jackets at the earliest,” said Gen Suhag said at his annual press conference last week. Sources in the Ministry of Defence told ET that this is the first time that the process of acquisition has cleared the technical stage, since the procurement process began in 2009.
The purchase of 1.86 lakh bulletproof jackets saw several hitches since 2009, until the government in 2012 issued a fresh proposal after changing the qualitative requirements. There were several delays due to technical problems even then. As ET reported, the ammunition created by Ordnance Factory Board failed to meet the right velocity requirements used for the trial of these jackets.
Sources have indicated that with the technical trials cleared, very little remains to hamper the procurement process. “In the field trials stage we just check the user comfort, weight etc and no real technical issues. In case of bulletproof jackets, this stage is unlikely to create any bottleneck,” a senior Army official told ET.
To meet the immediate requirement of soldiers, 50,000 bulletproof jackets are being procured as per the old qualitative requirements. According to a statement by the defence minister last year, the urgent and essential requirement of the jackets was being met through the revenue procurement route. “These are at the cost negotiation stage and should be available in a few months,” said the Army Chief.
Source: Defense News