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The No.3 Base Repair Depot of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Chandigarh has taken up an important project to develop Kevlar safety screens for the protection of machine gun operators during operations on board transport helicopters.

Machine guns are mounted in the doorframes of these helicopters to provide fire support during special heli-borne operations such as airborne assault, troop insertion, or search and rescue missions in hostile territories. Such situations make the gunner vulnerable to enemy ground fire, and the Kevlar safety screens will offer much-needed protection.

The development of Kevlar screens is considered a critical component, as they are required to be effective in various operational environments and at temperatures ranging from minus 40 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius. Kevlar is a lightweight and strong fibre that has various industrial applications, including the manufacturing of bullet-resistant equipment such as personal armor and ballistic shields. Its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio makes it five times stronger than steel, making it an ideal choice for protection against gunfire.

The IAF has proposed that special safety screens be designed for the Mark-III version of the Dhruv helicopter. The screens must be able to withstand the rigors of operational use, and the project team is working to ensure that they are effective in all scenarios. The screens will be an essential addition to the safety equipment on board transport helicopters, and their development is being given utmost priority by the IAF.

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