Camouflage Coatings

Topic #: AF2004-127
Sponsor: AF
Status: In Phase II.
Need: Camouflage coatings must maintain their integrity in order to minimize the visual signature.
Operational Gap: Current camouflage coatings discolor and delaminate in areas of the C-17 because of high temperatures during reverse thrust landing.

During the reverse thrust landing, areas of the C-17 aircraft become very hot and the current aliphatic polyurethane camouflage coating discolors and delaminates. The uncoated metal is reflective giving the C-17 a clear visual signature and mitigating survivability. In the Phase I effort TRI/Austin developed and tested novel ambient cured, high-temperature resistant, color matched, camouflage coatings for the C-17. These camouflage coatings exhibit exceptional thermal stability and color retention after high-temperature exposure. At 800oC the best new camouflage coating lost only 1.3% by weight. Phase II will focus on further formulation optimization of the unique preceramic camouflage coating and product scale up, thorough field application studies, and laboratory testing. Our preceramic camouflage coatings will exceed the thermal stability and camouflage requirements in the engine vicinity. At the one-year point in the Phase II effort we will conduct a field trial with our camouflage coating on the C-17. This will lead to early commercialization and military deployment during Phase III. These coatings will find application on the C-17 and future high-Mach aircraft. The novel high solids camouflage coatings will result in significant initial savings and life cycle supportability costs. Considerable savings can be also realized on other military and civilian aircraft.

In the News

“C-17’s New Coat”
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Texas Research Institute scientists have developed a high-temperature camouflage coating for the titanium slats of C-17 aircraft.