Bulletproof headgear against AK-47s Punjab Newsline Network Saturday, 20 May 2006 NEW DELHI: Turbaned personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF), one of India’s largest paramilitary organisations, will get added protection while on duty thanks to what officials call a ‘bulletproof patka against AK-47'. The force has decided to procure 43,210 such headgear for its personnel over the next couple of months. The ‘patka’, a kind of turban worn by Sikhs, will have an added trauma pad in traditional fatigue colours, BSF Inspector General Shivajee Singh said. It will be 1.5 kg with a rubberised steel band, strapping harness, disruptive cotton cover, air resistant foam trauma pad and Velcro fasteners. "We have seen that the casualty rate due to bullet injuries can fall drastically by using this protective gear. It is especially needed during counter-insurgency operations, which is part of our mandate", Singh said. "We are hopeful that we will be able to save the lives of a lot of our personnel." In 2005, the security force killed 147 militants in various operations around the country but also lost 24 of its men. "In the past 15 years or so, we have lost 1,353 personnel and 5,468 were injured," Singh said. "All this, we feel, can be minimised by the use of the new patka. It can be worn by anybody." The official explained that the headgear can provide frontal protection from the dreaded AK (Avtomat Kalashnikova) assault rifle from a distance of 25 metres and rear protection from 9mm bullets from a range of 20 metres. It will also protect against .22 rifles from 10 metres and grenade splinters from 15 metres, officials added. Singh said although the force, since its inception in 1965, had been primarily tasked with protecting the country’s borders, it has also been actively involved in counter-insurgency operations. Officials said the head region is an important area that needs added protection during counter-insurgency operations and that the new gear can also handle the aftershocks of a bullet that can otherwise immobilise a person.