The Bhabha Atomic Reseach Centre (BARC) has developed a next-generation bulletproof jacket for the Indian armed forces, which is not only cheaper but also much lighter.
Bhabha Kavach, named after nuclear physicist Dr Homi J. Bhabha, the jacket was developed at BARC’s Trombay centre in response to a request from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The jacket weighs just 6.6 kg in comparison to the 17-kg jackets in use and has passed over 30 tests carried out by certified agencies. Bhabha Kavach is available in three variants as per the requirement of the armed forces.
A five-member BARC team worked for a year in 2015-16 to develop the jacket, which is being tested by a joint team of the CRPF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and the Central Industrial Security Force. The northern command of the Indian Army is also testing a variant of the jacket in Jammu and Kashmir.
The jacket is made using extremely hard boron carbide ceramics that is hot-pressed with carbon nano-tubes and composite polymer. BARC has been using boron carbide in the control rods of its nuclear reactors.
BARC has transferred the technology of Bhabha Kavach to Mishra Dhatu Nigam, Hyderabad, for its large-scale production. “It is estimated that about one lakh jackets will be required, per annum, for the next 10 years. The light jacket will surely save the government exchequer foreign exchange,” he said.