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House Panel Pushes Corrosion Covers

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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The Department of Defense is getting a little corrosion advice along with its 2014 budget plan.

The message: Cover up.

The product shout-out comes from the House Armed Services Committee in its voluminous report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014.

CorrosionCovers-Transhield
Transhield

Transhield's covers are used for a variety of military hardware, including towed howitzers.

"The committee continues to push the Department of Defense to confront its hardware corrosion challenge," the report says. "Corrosion remains the largest preventable cost to the U.S. military, a cost which exceeds $23.0 billion per year."

The Navy Way

Heat, dust, UV rays and moisture all damage and degrade military hardware, leading to decreased readiness, increased manpower requirements, and significantly higher long-term costs, the report notes.

"It is critical that the Department of Defense focus on affordable sustainment of its hardware," the committee said.

Specifically, the committee urges DOD to adopt the Navy's corrosion strategies, which include the use of anti-corrosion covers.

'Demonstrated Effectiveness'

"The committee encourages the military services to follow the lead of the Department of the Navy and set a comprehensive, service-wide strategy to mitigate corrosion that includes fielding more waterproof, breathable anti-corrosive cover technologies that have been shown to significantly reduce corrosion and have demonstrated effectiveness in overseas contingency operations and at units' home stations," the report said.

Envelop corrosion covers
Shield Technologies Corp.

Minnesota-based Shield Technologies says its Envelop protective covers, developed with a Navy grant, are used on more than 150 types of Navy assets.

Without mentioning brand names, the committee encourages the military "to incorporate commercially available capabilities in developing requirements for low-cost protective covers that provide protection from water and particulate intrusion; elimination of microclimates in covered objects; mold and mildew protection; ultraviolet ray resistance; flexure and handling ability in extreme climates; and durability."

Suppliers

A handful of companies make such covers. Elkhart, IN-based Transhield, which has patented several covers, recently announced an $8.3 million contract to supply protective covers for more than 4,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in the U.S. Army fleet. The contract also includes covers for 217 U.S. Navy MRAPs, U.S. Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs), M777 Howitzers and other critical items.

With the new contract, Transhield said its covers would be "used to protect more than half of the U.S. Army's current fleet of MRAP vehicles."

Eagan, MN-based Shield Technologies Corp. supplies its Envelop Protective Covers to the Navy to protect "more than 150 unique Navy assets," the company says on its website.

Navy painter
U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Christian Videtto performs preventive corrosion maintenance on the USS Donald Cook. The House Armed Services Committee singled out covers, not coatings, for corrosion control.

The company got its start with a 2003 Small Business Innovative Research Grant from the Navy, which was spending 25 percent of its maintenance budget on corrosion prevention and control, according to Shield. The grant underwrote the development of a four-layer cover that Shield says significantly reduces corrosion.

Shield Technologies says it now supplies covers for all U.S. military branches.

Israel-based DEGEL.US also provides covers and other defense technology globally. The company says it has "developed partnerships with multiple U.S.-based manufacturers" to supply its technology, which includes a line called C5I.

A Nod to Laser Peening

The committee also expressed concern that "some military departments have not fully explored the use of" laser peening technology to reduce stress corrosion cracking and other problems in eingines, aircraft structures, land vehicles and weapons systems.

The committee first endorsed the emerging technology two years ago. LSP Technologies, of Dublin, OH, just announced that it would be the first to enter the laser-peening equipment market.

$174.B Budget

In all, the defense bill would authorize $174.6 billion for operation and maintenance, which includes funding for corrosion prevention, control and mitigation.

In addition, it authorizes $67.1 billion in operation and maintenance funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, with $4.2 billion in additional funding for depot-level maintenance, fuel costs and equipment spares and reset. The budget also includes line items for several corrosion control hangars.

   

Tagged categories: Corrosion control coatings; Corrosion protection; Department of Defense (DOD); Government contracts; Marine Coatings; U.S. Army; U.S. Navy

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