Purpose, problems and alternatives to Military CARC paint

In an earlier post we discussed Military CARC paints, but we didn’t explain why Expedition Supply does not sell or offer CARC paint on our vehicles or trailers. We do sell CARC color replacement paint that is a perfect replica of the military colors dating back to WWII. We sell them in both a touch-up can or 1 gallons pail. For a complete list of CARC color option click here.

CARC Paint’s Purpose

CARC (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating) is a coating system that provides surfaces that are easily and effectively decontaminated after exposure to liquid chemical agents. CARC paint was designed to deflect an enemies radar signature. There are three types of coatings in the CARC system: an epoxy polyamide primer, an aliphatic polyurethane paint (PUP), and epoxy polyamide enamel. Each of the coatings is supplied as a two-component system. When the two components are combined, a terminal reaction begins which makes an impermeable coating.

CACR paint was designed for the government use only. Not all government issue items are intended or appropriate for civilian use. Military doesn’t always equate to cool and a must have. The paint was designed for a few specific purposes that have no civilian application.

CARC Application

CARC is designed to make metal surfaces highly resistant to corrosion and penetration of chemical agents. The CARC surface to be coated must be stripped. After stripping, the surface must be cleaned of all oils, grease, and water. When the item is ready for coating, the two components are mixed and allowed to stand for a prescribed period. The mixture must then be applied within a given time period known as its “pot life” in order to be effective. Many military vehicles had to have three or more coatings applied a year to maintain an effective surface.

CARC Dangers

Inhaling CARC during the painting and drying process can be harmful. Dry CARC poses no hazards, except during welding or sanding. Paint fumes present the most potential risk to users especially when CARC is spray painted, rather than applied with a brush or roller. CARC paint contains several chemical compounds that can be hazardous when inhaled or exposed to the skin. If you are concerned about health problems associated with exposure to CARC paint during your military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Coordinator.

CARC Alternative

Besides being useless for civilian applications, illegal in many states, time-consuming and difficult to apply, and expensive, roughly 6-10x the cost of standard paints, the solvent based CARC systems are being phased out in favor of a water-dispersible (WD) or water based CARC paint system. See our shop for CARC paint alternative.