Australian Navy to Adapt a New Color Scheme for Surface Vessels

Anzac Class FFH154 HMAS Parramatta in formation with (L-R) Darussalam Class 08 RBS Darulaman, Sigma Class 367 KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda and Lekiu Class FFG29 KD Jebat, in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area for Exercise Triton Centenary. The International Fleet Review, which is a nine-day celebration from 03 October – 11 October 2013 to commemorate the arrival of Navy’s first fleet into Sydney. ABIS Sarah Williams Navy Imagery Unit – Albatross .

The Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, has announced that the Navy will progressively change the color of its surface fleet to meet modern war-fighting and regional environmental conditions. The new ‘Haze Grey’ paint scheme uses reflecting pigments reducing the ship’s infrared signature. It also reduces external shipboard temperatures by up to 20 degrees Celsius, compared to the current ‘Storm Grey’ color.

While not normally apparent to the bystander, subtle differences in the grey color schemes used by various navies are adapted to meet regional environmental conditions, such as the percentage of cloud cover or sunlight. The recent International Fleet Review with 17 international ships visibly demonstrated that color schemes do vary significantly between nations.

The Royal Australian Navy has traditionally used the Storm Grey color based upon a traditional northern hemisphere ‘Light Grey’ which was developed to deter detection under overcast skies. That paint scheme was adopted in the 1950’s. With predominant sunlit conditions faced in Australian waters and significant improvements in paint technologies, the Chief of Navy decided to introduce a more appropriate paint scheme.

The revised scheme and new paint technologies were reviewed through extensive consultation with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Maritime Group. The basis for the new scheme is around the regionally compatible Haze Grey colour, utilising new technologies in polysiloxane paints with Near Infrared Reflecting Pigments (NIRR).

Research has shown that the polysiloxane paints provide improved durability and fire resistance over older polyurethane systems. The use of reflecting pigments in the Haze Grey formulation reduces external shipboard temperatures by up to 20 degrees Celsius compared to the traditional Storm Grey. This contributes to decreased demand on shipboard environmental systems.

The scheme will be implemented by a phased introduction in scheduled maintenance periods and will yield operational improvements as well as reduce costs and improve technical performance.

From left to right: Singapore Navy Endurance Class 210 RSS Endeavour, Indian Navy P-17A Class F49 INS Sahyadri, New Zealand Navy Anzac Class F111 HMNZS Te Mana, Royal Thai Navy River Class 551 HTMS Krabi, Royal Brunai Navy Darussalam Class 08 RBS Darulaman, Australian 816 Squadron’s Seahawk helicopter, Indonesian Navy Sigma Class 367 corvette KRI Sultan, Malaysian Navy Lekiu Class FFG29 KD Jebat and Royal Australian Navy Anzac Class FFH154 HMAS Parramatta, at anchor in Jervis Bay participating in a boarding exercise onboard HMNZS Te Mana, September 2013.