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Paint job protects against chemical weapons

Armoured vehicles are to receive a make-over that will bring additional camouflage capability and an extra level of protection against chemical weapons.

Foxhound light patrol vehicles and a number of Warrior vehicles deployed to Afghanistan have been coated with Army Brown, a new shade of camouflage for vehicles serving in desert environments.

The water-based camouflage coating was developed by AkzoNobel for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to conform with colour requirements of deserts and the vegetation of so-called green zones.

To develop the new camouflage the MoD collected high-resolution imagery in Afghanistan and flew rock and soil samples back to Britain, where a team at the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) developed a colour optimised for vehicles operating in that environment.

DSTL told The Engineer, ‘We looked at the various background types which make up the operating environment using calibrated digital photos from theatre, and got our military advisor for Warrior…to weight them by how important they were.

‘For example, the vehicles spend most of their time in desert conditions so desert got a higher weighting than grass, where they spend relatively less time. From there it was…a quick calculation to work out what the optimum colour is.

‘Lastly, we did…simulations to show what the paint would look like in a few different backgrounds, so it could be visualised.’

AkzoNobel were then tasked with matching the specification from DSTL to produce the new coating under the company’s Intergard brand, a temporary, peelable coating that provides vehicles with a quick camouflage change and can absorb chemical warfare agents (The Engineer, July 2012).

AkzoNobel scientists are now working on further developments which would mean the coating would change colour when it absorbed toxic chemicals and neutralise them also.

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