The Vertical Launch System (VLS) MK-41 is a system of cells designed to hold and launch missiles from surface ships, such as cruisers and destroyers. Missiles are launched from these cells through hatches on the weather deck. These hatches, and the surrounding deck areas, are considered critical coated areas.

Typical Coatings Used

These surfaces are coated with an anti-corrosive proprietary primer coat, followed by a stripe coat and a full coat of the same. They are then topcoated with a haze gray nonskid, followed by an additional coat of haze gray polysiloxane paint. Touch-up and repair is generally accomplished by ship’s force or by repair activities during maintenance availabilities.

Primer, Stripe Coat, and Intermediate Coat

The primer, stripe coat, and intermediate coats are anticorrosive coatings that are qualified to MIL-PRF-24667, Coating System, Nonskid, for Roll, Spray, or Self-Adhering Application. NAVSEA Standard Item (NSI) 009-32 specifies that within a zone or work area, proprietary primer and nonskid listed on QPLs for MIL-PRF-24667 shall be coated with the same primer and compatible topcoat. NSI 009-32 states that a polysulfide compound conforming to MIL-PRF-81733, Type II, Class 2, should be applied after primer application, prior to topcoat application.


For VLS launcher areas not receiving nonskid, 009-32 requires the application of MIL-PRF-24635, Type V, Haze Gray. For DDG Flight II class ships where troughs are installed, troughs and trough covers should be topcoated using Deck Gray. VLS launcher areas receiving nonskid must be given a coating of Haze Gray MIL-PRF-24667, Type I or II, Comp G; followed by a topcoat of Haze Gray MIL-PRF-24636, Type V or VI, Class 2, Grade B or C.

Surface Preparation

To ensure proper coating adhesion, special attention should be paid to the surface preparation of exterior VLS surfaces. NSI 009-32 requires surface preparation in accordance with NACE No. 2/SSPC-SP 10, Near-White Metal Blast Cleaning, using new, clean, non-recycled, non-ferrous aluminum oxide Type I, Grade A, or garnet, Type IV, Grade A qualified to A-A-59316. Additionally, each cell hatch lip shall be prepared to SSPC-SP 2, Hand Tool Cleaning.

Depot Repairs

NSI 009-32 is the governing document for preservation requirements. Permitted coatings are specified in Table 2. All VLS coating system preservation efforts must be accomplished in accordance with NSI 009-32.

Ship’s Force Repairs

Ship’s force personnel are primarily responsible for maintaining the ship’s VLS coating systems until repair activity maintenance is scheduled. Naval Ships Technical Manual: Chapter 631 (NSTM 631), Preservation of Ships in Service – General provides requirements, instructions, and guidance for surface preparation and coating application.

New Construction Ships

New construction ships are painted in accordance with the ship build specification for that class of ship.