New Delhi, April 10: The Defence Ministry on Monday inked a contract with indigenous manufacturer  SMPP Pvt. Ltd worth nearly Rs 640 crore for procurement of 1,86,138 bullet-proof jackets for Army’s infantry soldiers. The ministry said that the contract was finalised after ‘successful’ field evaluation trials. It also issued a statement which reads,”A major contract through capital procurement route, for procurement of 1,86,138 bullet proof jackets (BPJs) has been signed. The new BPJs will provide “360 degree protection” to the soldier in combat, including from hard “steel core” bullets.”

Based on increasing threat from low, medium and high velocity projectiles, the new bullet-proof jackets are designed to provide protection to soldiers especially during counter terror operations that can continue for hours.

The Defence Ministry further said the new bullet-proof jackets will boost the confidence of soldiers. “The indigenously developed BPJs will give new impetus to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government and provide confidence that Indian industry is capable of fulfilling the requirements of the armed forces,” it added.

Chairman and Managing Director of SMPP S C Kansal stated,“These bulletproof jackets will have ‘boron carbide ceramic’ which is the lightest material for ballistic protection. This makes SMPP BPJs the best of the class and will be able to provide ballistic protection at the lowest possible weight.”

Earlier in  October 2015, the proposed contract for 1.86 lakh modular bullet-proof jackets was scrapped as the samples offered by six vendors failed to clear the field trial.