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To maintain military readiness and reduce maintenance costs, the DoD must protect weapons systems. The challenge is to provide this protection while avoiding the hazards associated with cadmium or chromium. Zinc nickel plating is an excellent alternative to cadmium but is subject to zinc oxidation and therefore is not a drop in replacement for electrical connectors. Additional efforts are required to improve the overall performance of zinc nickel electroplating. Brush plating is a technology that works well with zinc nickel and improvements in brush plating have been transitioned to the field.
Electrolytic hard chrome plating is commonly used to protect wear surfaces, with the inner surface of gun barrels being a specific requirement of the DoD. Alternative coatings, rifling and honing methods are required for the next generation of chromium free gun barrels. SERDP and ESTCP projects have demonstrated alternative plating methods and machining technologies.