CISF wants to get bulletproof jackets that can withstand AK 47 bullets
The Central Industrial Security Force has sought replacement of the bulletproof jackets worn by its personnel guarding the country’s airports as they are incapable of withstanding bullets fired from AK 47 assault rifles, the weapon of choice for terrorists, and gunshots fired at point blank range.
The force, which has over 25,000 personnel and provides security to 60 of the 98 operational airports in India, flagged the issue to the ministry of civil aviation last month, a senior CISF officer said on the condition of anonymity.
It has around 1,000 bulletproof jackets and wants to procure 1,500 new ones.
Bulletproof jackets used by CISF personnel were procured in 2011 and a gunshot, if fired from close range, is capable of piercing the jacket and hurting a person, said the senior officer cited above.
“The guidelines of the ministry of home affairs say that there should be a replacement every five years. The latest version can withstand several rounds of firing even from close range,” the officer said.
“Latest gadgets can help us in reducing the manpower also. Most of the airports are on high alert and sensitive and use of jackets is important in case of a terror attack,” the officer added.
The force has prepared a report where it has listed the requirement for aviation security in the next five years.
It has also demanded 19,000 personnel for aviation security and at least 4,000 are needed immediately for Metro airports. Typically, those patrolling the approach to the terminal and those who are part of the Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) wear bulletproof jackets.
“The value of bulletproof jacket is not judged by the age but whether the new version is available; the latest version will always have some advantage and as soon as it is available, it should be procured,” Arvind Ranjan, a former director general of CISF, said.
“But procurement should not be done in one go as it will make the replacement costly. The bulletproof jackets should not be procured for the entire force but as per the requirement,” Ranjan added.
The Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), which frames guidelines related to aviation security, is in the process of changing the specifications for the jackets and will write to private airport operators and the state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) to purchase the latest version of the bullet-proof jackets.
The onus is on airport operators to procure any security-related equipment.
The bureau has said will be testing some of latest bulletproof technologies available before making the switch.
“The best practice adopted by the other countries will be selected. The airport operators will be asked to procure it,” a BCAS official said.