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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) asked AkzoNobel to develop a high-tech paint with a colour that would be suitable for the desert environments where most military operations are focused. The camouflage paint – Army Brown – will replace the sand colour that has been used on Army vehicles since before the Second World War.
To produce this colour 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 developed a colour optimised for vehicles operating in that environment.
AkzoNobel scientists were then asked to develop a water-based camouflage coating that conformed with the colour requirements. Developed under the Intergard brand, the Army Brown paint is similar to the tan colour used by the military in the USA and Australia.
AkzoNobel has developed a special temporary peelable coating, which can be quickly sprayed or brushed on to the Army vehicles to provide a quick camouflage change and then peeled off. The coating is capable of absorbing chemical warfare agents and stopping them getting through to the vehicle underneath. The contaminated coating can then be stripped off and disposed of. It also protects the vehicles against weathering and corrosion.
AkzoNobel scientists are currently working on further developments, which would mean the coating would change colour when it absorbed toxic chemicals, alerting the soldiers that they are under chemical attack. Rather than just absorbing the chemicals it would also be able to neutralise them.
Army Brown is being used on the UK’s Foxhound light patrol vehicles and has also been applied to some of the Warrior tracked armoured vehicles deployed to Afghanistan. The Intergard coating has been developed by AkzoNobel’s aerospace coatings team.