Hyderabad, April 12 (IANS) US multinational DuPont Thursday announced the opening of its world-class integrated ballistics facility in India to manufacture and test sophisticated materials for protection from bombs and bullets.
DuPont, which holds the worldwide patent on Kevlar, a chemical material that can be spun into bullet proof jackets and is also used in strengthening aircraft and helicopter shells as part of composite materials, will provide facilities to test locally produced protection helmets, jackets and materials.
The facility has a 600-tonne helmet press to test helmets for the armed forces, paramilitary forces and even some private security agencies in India and abroad. The manufacture of end-products, though, is done by others who source Kevlar of required specifications after testing from DuPont.
The Gurgaon-based company organized a media tour Thursday to display the new facilities at its DuPont Knowledge Center in Hyderabad, which has been functioning since 2008.
According to India Strategic defence magazine (www.indiastrategic.in), the US Boeing's Apache helicopter which the Indian Air Force is likely to buy for its combat requirements, also uses Kevlar in its body shells.
DuPont's Hyderabad facility has been described by the company as the first such in the Asia Pacific region and the fifth worldwide in its network. Others are located at Richmond, Wilmington and Delaware in the US, and at in Meyrin, Switzerland and Paulina, Brazil.
The India facility has an advanced stab testing equipment, which impacts a jacket like a bullet to test its resistance. All the equipment is housed in a single location.
The company imports the Kevlar yarn from the US, and it is then spun into fabric or other materials as required in India.
Rajeev Vaidya, the company's South Asia president, said: "DuPont is committed to bringing its science-powered innovations to meet the key global challenges of food, energy and protection in India. The DuPont ballistics facility at DuPont Knowledge Center, India, exemplifies DuPont's belief of inclusive innovation and open collaboration, working with customers and partners in India and around the world to develop solutions that help protect those who protect us."
The DuPont ballistics facility will enable law enforcement agencies and security forces with application testing facilities that follow international standards.
"It will help develop solutions that can be tested under local conditions and against local ammunition, and will enable introduction of a broader portfolio of Kevlar materials and solutions that address local needs," the company said in a statement.
Yati Waghray, technology leader at the DuPont Knowledge Center, pointed out that Indian defence and internal security forces had unique and challenging ballistics protection requirements, adding: "This new DuPont ballistics facility in India will enable us to collaborate with our local customers and end-users and jointly develop appropriate ballistics solutions and applications for protective vests and helmets that can be tested under local conditions and against local ammunition using international standards, meeting the local requirements."
DuPont has a worldwide turnover of $38 billion. Of that, South Asian countries accounted for around $900 million.