Military Paint Specifications

Written by michael staton
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Military Paint Specifications
Paint used in military must meet several specifications. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Military-grade paint is not the type of paint you can pick out at the local hardware store. Used for vehicles, weapons and general gear, the paint is so special it could actually save a person's life by allowing them to blend into their surroundings. Paint designed within military specifications has to undergo rigorous testing and achieve a high standard of quality in order for the military to use it.


Military paint separates itself from other paints not only in quality but in the way the paints are listed. According to the Society for Protective Coatings, the codes for paint used by federal or military entities is usually listed with a "MIL" or "DoD" prefix for the military or Department of Defense, respectively. According to the SSPC, this prefix is usually followed by a code letter indicating the type of product and a number.

Special Paint Attributes

The military uses codes to identify paints made with special attributes in mind. According to the SSPC, the military uses special paints for ammunition coating, which have low heat signatures that make soldiers safer in battle situations. According to Major Jordan D. Yankov, infrared low-reflective paint is part of a larger system of infrared suppression that resists detection by thermal imaging. Yankov states that this paint can also reduce the effectiveness of heat-seeking missiles launched at an aircraft. Paint is also specially formulated for the Navy so that it resists water or has anti-sweat properties for the interior of submarines. According to Gulf Link, the resin used in the Army's standard camouflage paint is made up of polyureas and polyurethane materials. Gulf Link states that these material provide low-gloss and the solvents in them assist in spray applications.

The Qualified Products List

According to the SSPC, government agencies, including the military, usually maintain a qualified products list (QPL) so that government workers in charge of ordering supplies can get them faster and with confidence in their quality. In order for a paint manufacturer to be included on a QPL, the SSPC states that every requirement for paint must be satisfied, and the process of achieving this standard can take a paint manufacturer months or years of testing in order to get the product right.

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