The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to identify, assess, develop, determine applicability, and execute testing on new, innovative advanced protective coatings and systems that exhibited improved protective properties, required fewer resources, were easier to use, and were environmentally sustainable.
The goal of proposals in response to this SON were to improve coating lifecycle weapon system compliance to applicable environmental (40 CFR, Parts I and VII) and worker Occupational Health and Safety (29 CFR, Chapter XVII) regulations when compared with current and legacy systems. In addition, successful proposals addressed one or more key technical or operational lifecycle criteria. Examples include, but were not limited to:
Proposals were asked to clearly document a material target, and a skeleton material and testing methodology that could lead to a demonstration which includes knowledge regarding legacy and current military and commercial corrosion protection and control (cpc) materials, techniques and practices. The proposal should have clearly explained the technology maturity level of the proposed solution and how the proposed changes reduce lifecycle military costs and improve its operational and readiness levels.
Significant technology efforts continue to be conducted through private and public research and development firms, entrepreneurs, original equipment manufacturers, venture capitalists, universities, and Department of Defense organizations. Proposals should have demonstrated an acute awareness of current and recently funded efforts to improve existing coating’s physical and chemical characteristics and should have addressed military weapons systems evolutionary mission requirements.
Proposals were required to include a go/no go task for an initial assessment of the human health and environmental impacts of proposed ingredients, formulations, and byproducts. In addition, proposals should have included a task to establish a baseline lifecycle framework and identified the elements of a lifecycle inventory that were already known, those that would be investigated during the course of the project, and those that were beyond the scope of the proposed work.
Funded projects will appear below as project overviews are posted to the website.
Program Managers, installations, and Warfighters across all services would benefit from new, innovative and improved weapons systems advanced coating materials and techniques, reduced worker and environmental risks, improved asset operational performance and readiness, and improved application/removal production and field throughput characteristics.
Legacy military protective coatings typically utilize chemistries, techniques and operational requirements involving significant regulatory, manpower and time impacts. Coating systems often use hazardous chemistries or processes during their application. Frequently, coating systems involve heavy metal laden chemistries, high organic lading that releases hazardous air pollutants, multiple layers and lengthy drying times, hazardous materials with resultant large quantities of costly and unsustainable hazardous wastes.
It is estimated that the military annually spends as much as $20B on weapon system corrosion prevention and control coatings. Current and legacy DoD cpc coating(s) fail to fully meet worldwide military protection requirements. These coating systems involve multiple compound processes and material systems where manufacturing, re-manufacturing, field and depot application, maintenance and removal techniques directly contribute to and significantly impact the military’s weapon system lifecycle costs and operational readiness.
High-performance DoD weapon system coatings frequently require chemical strippers, such as methylene chloride, or abrasive materials, such as plastic aggregate and mechanical sanders. Methylene chloride is inexpensive and effective at removing coatings, yet it is carcinogenic and generates significant amounts of hazardous waste. Aggregates are effective, yet require trained individuals, blasting/sanding equipment, specialized containments, and can also generate significant waste. More benign chemical strippers, such as peroxides, have recently been implemented by the DoD, yet these materials are less effective than methylene chloride and can generate even greater amounts of hazardous waste. More recently, laser ablation has been demonstrated as an alternative for coating removal, and although this method generates reduced quantities of waste, it is labor intensive, utilizes expensive equipment, and requires highly-trained individuals or robotics. None of these methods can selectively remove the polyurethane topcoat on aircraft without affecting the underlying epoxy primer, and it remains extremely difficult to remove coatings from an organic composite, such as carbon fiber-reinforced epoxies or polyesters, without potentially damaging the latter. As more composite skins are utilized on DoD assets, the inability to rapidly and selectively remove coatings will continue to be an issue.
The Weapons Systems and Platforms Program Area supports development of technologies and processes that are associated with the manufacture, operations, and maintenance of military equipment, weaponry, and munitions. These lifecycle stages of a system may impact workers, the environment, and surrounding communities. Increasing the sustainability of these systems offers opportunities to identify and manage these impacts to lower associated lifecycle costs and improve mission readiness. DoD’s Sustainability Analysis uses a lifecycle approach to evaluate potential impacts associated with costs, ecosystem quality, human health, and resource availability.
The cost and time to meet the requirements of this SON are at the discretion of the proposer. Two options are available:
Standard Proposals: These proposals describe a complete research effort. The proposer should incorporate the appropriate time, schedule, and cost requirements to accomplish the scope of work proposed. SERDP projects normally run from two to five years in length and vary considerably in cost consistent with the scope of the effort. It is expected that most proposals will fall into this category.
Limited Scope Proposals: Proposers with innovative approaches to the SON that entail high technical risk or have minimal supporting data may submit a Limited Scope Proposal for funding up to $200,000 and approximately one year in duration. Such proposals may be eligible for followon funding if they result in a successful initial project. The objective of these proposals should be to acquire the data necessary to demonstrate proof-of-concept or reduction of risk that will lead to development of a future Standard Proposal. Proposers should submit Limited Scope Proposals in accordance with the SERDP Core Solicitation instructions and deadlines.