Indian Army
Indian Army soldiers are expected to get new lighter helmets. In Picture: Indian army soldiers take their positions wearing lighter "patka" bullet proof helmets. [Representational Image]Reuters

After decades of neglect, the Indian Army's infantry divisions are expected to get lighter and better helmets that will do away with those bulky helmets that only protected the top of their heads.

The defence ministry is considering signing Rs. 170 crore deal for 1,58,279 light-weight ballistic helmets with an Indian manufacturer, MKU.

It was noted that the existing heavy helmets were effective only from splinters and rocks. The new ones are ballistic helmets -- with 13mm trauma protection pads. These helmets would be equipped with integrated communication headsets for commanders. 

Defence sources told the Times of India that the deal would have been signed earlier but had to be delayed owing to complaint and financial queries.

Currently, soldiers involved in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations use lighter bullet-proof "patkas". The patkas weigh 2.5 kg and protect only the forehead and back of the head.

Soldiers from advanced countries use ultra-light helmets that are made of high-tenacity composite and polyethylene materials. These helmets can integrate video cameras, heads-up display monitors and so on.

"Head injuries are a major problem in both conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations. We want ballistic helmets that can stop 9mm bullets from around 20 metres. It should also be possible to mount night-vision sights, protective goggles and other devices on them," the Times of India quoted a senior official as saying.

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