Indian soldiers can expect to carry a lot more on their backs than they do now. At present, an Indian soldier carries a load of around 10.8 kg, which goes up to 21.5 kg when he is on the move. But research conducted by the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) shows that an average Indian soldier can actually carry a lot more-around 30-40 kg on his back.
On an average, the 10.8 kg that a soldier currently carries includes a haversack (4.4 kg), a web of grenades and ammunition (2.2 kg) and a rifle (4.2 kg). When he is on the move, the load goes up with the addition of a backpack (10.7 kg), raising the total weight borne to 21.5 kg.
DIPAS has used a newly imported Rs 1.50-crore 3-D Motion Analysis System that uses six video cameras to measure the effect of load carried by soldiers. DIPAS director Ilavazhagan told HT, “While we could easily measure the physiological effects of carrying load, like the heart rate, blood pressure and calories expended, we did not have a device to evaluate the effect of bio-mechanical load till we procured the new system.”
Bio-mechanical stress because of carrying unequally distributed loads, he said, can lead to muscle and joint pain, thereby, reducing the soldier's efficiency. DIPAS additional director Dhurjati Majumdar said, “The findings of the tests point to minor ‘angular’ problems in the backpack currently carried by soldiers.”
With some improvement in the backpack, efficiencies and the load that a soldier could carry could be increased. Korean and American soldiers can carry as much as 50 kg on their backs and with some tweaks to the load carrying ensemble, Indian soldiers, said Majumdar, would definitely be able to carry at least 30-40 kg.
The system, he said, would also be used to improve the design of shoes, anti-mine boots and bulletproof jackets.