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NEWS | April 21, 2017

Cleaning Kits Provide New Canvas for NAVSEA Maintenance Strategy

By SURFMEPP Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – NAVSEA deployed Polysiloxane Cleaning Kits this week to the Forward-deployed Regional Maintenance Centers in Manama, Bahrain and other maintenance locations to better maintain ship topside coatings and prevent corrosion, saving time and manpower.  

Surface Maintenance Engineering Planning Program (SURFMEPP), the NAVSEA activity responsible for centralized surface ship life cycle maintenance engineering, class maintenance and modernization planning, counts this as a significant step forward in its fleet maintenance strategy.

“This project represents a significant accomplishment for the surface maintenance community and is a testament to the professionalism and partnership between the SURFMEPP team and all of our maintenance partners,” said SURFMEPP Commanding Officer, Navy Capt. David Bauer. “The process efficiencies gained through this new corrosion initiative will enhance surface ship readiness, and lives up to the command’s mission of ‘Achieving expected service life…One ship at a time.’”

The predominant topside coating used on Navy surface ships since the 1990s is a silicone alkyd Low Solar Absorption (LSA) paint developed to reduce solar heating in the Persian Gulf environment. As a topcoat, however, LSA does not offer long-lasting performance. It fades to a pink, chalked state, loses its gloss, and is vulnerable enough to rust-staining that it requires recoating annually. As a result, Sailors spend significant amounts of time repainting or touching up the topsides of ships. This “maintenance” painting wastes manpower, adds extra weight to a ship and eventually leads to unsightly peeling.

The Navy needed a new high-performance long-life coating system able to provide exceptional corrosion protection, color stability and gloss retention. Teaming with the Naval Research Lab, SURFMEPP identified Polysiloxane coatings as the best paint system for all freeboards, masts and topside areas during availabilities. This now is the only approved exterior topside paint. Developed as an “anti-graffiti” coating, this polysiloxane system eliminates the need to paint running rust and other stains and can be cleaned with solution and a scrub brush, similar to a standard floor sweeper design. 

This change in “clean versus paint” philosophy is anticipated to save the Navy thousands of man-hours in stripping, priming and repainting. Now all that is needed is the simple swipe of a cleaning pad and the paint will look like new. This cleaning process is especially useful on hard to get at areas such as the DDG louvres and overboard discharges.

A recent collaboration within NAVSEA’s maintenance commands has resulted in the initial outfitting of Polysiloxane and DDG Louver Cleaning Kits for all surface ships. Cleaning kits are now onboard USS Winston S Churchill (DDG 81) and USS James E William (DDG 95). Additional cleaning kits have been disseminated to CNRMC and Regional Maintenance Centers where local Corrosion Control Assistance Teams will distribute them to all ships and serve as a deckplate resource/advisor regarding their use.  

Larry Bowden, SURFMEPP Corrosion Branch Head, said fleet feedback on the kits has been positive, and BMC William Patterson the Leading Chief Petty Officer for Deck Department, aboard USS Mahan (DDG 72) agrees. 

“I have a new tool in the fight against running rust and it really works! Use of the Polysiloxane Cleaning Kit saves me time and manpower,” he said. “In the past when painting the freeboard, I would use at a minimum, a seven-man crew with set-up and cleanup being very time consuming. With the Polysiloxane Cleaning Kit, I am able to utilize a smaller crew. Set-up and cleanup are now easy, requiring less than 10 minutes.”  

Additional kits may be ordered using NSN 7930-01-660-1605.

SURFMEPP, an echelon III command and NAVSEA field activity under the Deputy Commander for Surface Warfare, Commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center (CNRMC), provides centralized surface ship life cycle maintenance and engineering planning. SURFMEPP is headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, with detachments in Norfolk, Virginia; Mayport, Florida; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Everett, Washington; San Diego, California; Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan; Manama, Bahrain and Rota, Spain.