An IIT grad’s little-known firm will now make bulletproof jackets for the Indian Army

The defence ministry has signed a Rs 639-crore contract with an Indian manufacturer for supply of bulletproof jackets, a move that is in sync with the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.These jackets will have boron carbide ceramic, making it ultra-light in weight and providing a ‘360-degree protection’. The ceramic is one of the hardest materials to stop bullets and yet be lightweight. According to Ashish Kansal, executive director of SMPP, they are one of the five companies in the world to manufacture these jackets. In 2017, the ministry of defence had given SMPP the technology award for bulletproof jackets. Started in 1985 by Dr S.C. Kansal, an IIT-Bombay alumnus who received his Ph.D in chemical engineering, the company’s turnover in the last financial year was over Rs 100 crore.

The indigenous company, SMPP Pvt. Ltd, will supply 1.86 lakh jackets to the Army. It has previously supplied bulletproof products to the Air Force, Navy, paramilitary and police forces of various states like Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh.

The company claims to preserve a sustainable ecosystem by also manufacturing ‘green packaging’ that can be used for protecting wine bottles and other spirits. This packaging is made out of recycled pulp and used for automotive, medical, electronic, household, and office products. SMPP became one of the first private Indian companies to be given permission to manufacture ammunition in 1991 when the defence sector was closed to the private industry. It was given the defence/industrial licence from the defence ministry as an approved manufacturer of combustible cartridges, bulletproof vest, vehicle armour and aircraft armours.