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Bamboo is Latest Recruit for Army

19 January 2007

From, India

The conventional bullet proof jacket made of steel and fibre-glass not only weighs over 10kg, but also restricts mobility especially during sudden encounters.

Now, the National Bamboo Mission under the Science and Tech ministry is trying out bullet proof jackets made of bamboo. These jackets weigh just 5kg and are also much cheaper. Where a conventional bullet proof jacket costs at least Rs 1.5 lakh a bamboo one will cost not more than Rs 50,000.

With preliminary trials showing encouraging results these jackets will now be tested against AK 47s and Insas. Scientists working on the project are confident. They say bamboo is more tensile so it can absorb the impact of a bullet much better.

It's not just bullet proof jackets, the National Bamboo Mission has also developed specially-designed igloos for the troops in high altitude frontiers like Siachen. Ten of these fire-resistant igloos have already been sent to Siachen, Tawang and the Nathu-La for trials.

India is the second largest producer of bamboo in the world producing 135 million metric tonnes of bamboo every year. But its use has been restricted mainly to manufacturing paper and artefacts. But now clearly new ideas are being tried out.

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