Exploring the Historical Development of VCI Fitted Covers for Military Applications

VCI Technology

By Mindy Kruggel

Equipment losses were appalling in the early years of World War II.[1] This was primarily due to poor packaging for overseas shipping, which led to widespread corrosion. Fortunately, those trying to address the problem found that paper, cardboard, cloth, and other packaging materials could be impregnated with nitrite-based corrosion inhibitors and used for either shipment or storage of equipment. As such, VCIs have been extensively used by the U.S. Department of Defense since World War II, and the DoD includes VCIs in a military standard for packaging materials.

The U.S. Navy Leads the Way

 Around the year 2000, the U.S. Navy became interested in securing covers that

provided better asset protection than traditional canvas and vinyl covers. At that time, a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract for “Flexible Corrosion Preventative Coverings,” (the first generation of advanced protective covers with VCI technology), was awarded to Creare, Inc.

 In 2003, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the largest of the U.S. Navy's five system commands, approved the first generation of advanced protective covers with VCI

technology. Following this approval, NAVSEA began to outfit the fleet with an array of VCI protective covers for a large variety of equipment ranging from weapons systems to deck equipment.

Global Recognition of the Effectiveness of VCIs

 In 2006, Defence Research and Development Canada conducted a study into corrosion of its combat service support vehicles. The study reviewed corrosion-related practices

of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), and Royal Military College of Canada. It found that new storage technologies should be considered; VCI protective covers were cited as an example.

In 2008, the USAF published a report on a year-long study. It compared the asset protection utilizing simple shelters, vinyl covers, and the first generation of advanced protective covers with VCI technology. This report showed the first generation of advanced protective covers with VCI resulted in ten times better asset protection than either vinyl covers or simple shelters.

A paper entitled Corrosion Inhibitors for Prolonged Protection of Military Equipment and Vehicles, written by authors from four countries, cites the rapid expansion of corrosion inhibitors use and show examples of cannons, weapons, and other military hardware wrapped in VCI impregnated polypropylene and fabrics.

The Next Generation of VCI Technology

In 2012, a next generation advanced protective cover with VCI technology emerged. It provided a lighter, more form-fitting cover. This next generation cover, made from Transhield’s ArmorDillo® with VCI technology, gained NAVSEA approval in 2013. Since that time, ArmorDillo covers have been assigned National Stock Numbers (NSNs) and can be found in the Navy’s supply chain.

The U.S. Navy was among the first to realize the benefits of advanced protective covers with VCI technology. Since then, the development of high-tech fabrics containing blends of

enhanced VCIs has resulted in an array of advanced protective covers designed for specific applications, from transportation use and long-term storage to heavy-duty applications such as the harsh environment at sea. The use of these “next generation” advanced protective covers with VCI technology from Transhield USA is not limited to the Navy. Demand has steadily increased across the other military branches. Since 2003, form-fitted advanced protective covers with VCI technology have repeatedly proven themselves to be the most cost-effective choice in operational use.

To learn more about Transhield and its next generation advance protective covers, visit Transhield-usa.com today!

 

[1] A Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) review of volatile corrosion inhibitors (VCIs) during World War II

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