In line with government’s ‘Make In India’ initiative and the Indian Army’s need for high technology solutions for military modernisation, Dr Shantanu Bhowmik of Amrita University of Coimbatore has readied a fully indigenous technology on high performance composite material that can be used for bullet proof jackets and helmets besides its other wide range applications in defence and aviation sector.
Thermoplastic Carbon Fabric (TCF) technology has been indigenously developed and patented by Dr Bhowmik, the Head, Research & Projects and Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore.
“The Light Weight High Temperature Thermoplastic Composite can prove to be a game changer for India’s defence and aviation sector,” Dr Bhowmik told DefenceAviationPost.com.
A Bullet proof jacket made from this material would weigh approximately 1.5 kilograms as against currently available vests with similar protection but weighing around 10-13 kgs.
“That this technology has tremendous potential for the Defence forces and beyond has also been acknowledged by the Indian Army during our course of interactions with them as part of the trilateral Army-Industry-Academia dialogue,” he said, adding that in its first compendium of problem statements by the Indian Army, the latter talks of the TCF technology developed by him.
“The Army has acknowledged that this technology promises to offer solutions for the futuristic requirement of high performance composite material in various fields including defence, aerospace, medical, automobiles and others,” Dr Bhowmik said.
While currently used material with similar properties require raw material to be imported, this composite has been prepared with material which is available in India in abundance.
Thus products developed using this composite will be fully indigenous thus achieving 100% self-reliance with zero outflow of capital to foreign countries.
Presently, procurement is being done through foreign ventures like Hexel, DuPont, Victrex and others.
Other than the bullet proof jackets, the TCF technology can also be utilised for AFVs, bullet proof vehicles and mines/blast protected vehicles, UAVs, LCAs Supersonic Aircrafts, Long Distance Missiles besides hardening of critical shelters for Army and BSF personnel in border areas.
The bullet proof vests and helmets in use currently by the Indian forces are very heavy, causing a lot of discomfort and leaving the Armed Forces personnel at a disadvantage during an encounter with heavily- armed terrorists.
The requirement for light weight equipments has been identified as one of the ‘felt needs’ for the Indian Army. As per an estimate, there is a requirement of over 50,000 bullet proof kits for the police force in the country. If the light weight bullet proof vests and helmets are produced in bulk within the country, it will ensure low-cost supplies and end to the endless wait for foreign vendors to supply the equipment.