Monday, May 19, 2014

Indian Army Initiates Procurement of Anti Mine Boots for Infantry Soldiers

Anti Mine boots PPE50 from Energetics Technology, UK

MOD has initiated procurement of Boot Anti Mine Infantry (BAMI) for Infantry soldiers through the recent release of a RFI to identify probable vendors.

The Indian Army has in the past used boots procured from Czech Republic but troops found them heavy (4-kg) and uncomfortable. Indigenous anti-mine and snow boots designed by Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), though lighter at 2.9-kg, did not meet other Army QRs.

MOD now wants to procure BAMI from a foreign vendor in a quantity large enough to enthuse the vendor to transfer technology for producing the boots locally in India.

Anti Mine boots are designed to protect troops from Anti Personnel mine to an extent where the injury from the blast, triggered by stepping on the mine, does not mandate amputation. The boots absorb most of the shock from the blast through sacrificial destruction of protective layers in the sole.

Anti Mine boots enable soldiers to fully recover from stepping on an anti-personnel mine. In a typical case, pressure from an anti-personnel mine blast can be to the order of 45,000kg/cm square. Without protective boots, such force would typically tear a limb apart. Anti-mine boots can reduce blast pressure to around 160kg/cm square. The reduced pressure results in relatively minor injury, such as fracture and some soft-tissue damage, precluding  It's unlikely to result in a limb amputation. Also, the reduced extent of injury allows more time between mine strike and medical evacuation, reducing the chances of a soldier bleeding to death on the battlefield, as so often happens during a battle. Soldiers recover more quickly at redcued medical cost.

The challenge is to make anti mine boots light and comfortable enough to allow soldiers to perform their missions. Instead of providing absolute protection, boots trade-off some protection for the imperative of mission accomplishment.

Without BAMI, attacking infanty soldiers breach protective minefields laid by the enemy by trailing tanks with  mine ploughs; in more difficult terrain the infantry uses explosive to blast a lane through the minefield. In both cases, the enemy is alerted to the attack. The use of BAMI enables attacking infantry to breach a minefield more stealthily.

MOD is looking for anti mine boots that can be used in various types of terrain (Plains, Deserts, Jungles, Glaciated, and High Altitude & Mountainous) encountered in India? The ministry is willing to consider strap on version of anti-mine footwear provided they can be worn over the in-service DMS boot used by Indian Army?