Yes, the United States Navy wants to use Melanin for military applications. Pretty much for the same reason the Army wants to use Melanin. Weapons, Armor, and Energy Storage.
Where are they planning to get it from?
According to a study (Vibrio Natriegens Production Of Melanin For Chemical Protective Materials) done by the Naval Research Laboratory in 2018, “In the vast majority of studies, melanin has been either chemically synthesized or isolated from animals, which has restricted its use to small-scale applications.”
In other words, they get enough melanin from animals for research and prototypes, not large-scale manufacturing.
The most potent source of melanin is melanated people (black and brown people), as opposed to animals and plants. In 1920, a European Biochemist detailed the process of extracting melanin from melanated people.
At this time there is no evidence to suggest that the US Military has ever or plans on extracting melanin from black and brown people to achieve it’s technological and military goals.
However, it is the only way they would be able to acquire enough melanin to achieve mass production of melanated weaponry, armor, and other military technologies.
Military Study: “Vibrio Natriegens Production Of Melanin For Chemical Protective Materials” – Brandy J. Johnson, Martin H. Moore, Gary J. Vora and Zheng Wang Naval Research Laboratory (2018)
Abstract Of Study From ResearchGate.net:
“Melanin is a pigment ubiquitous in nature and is found in all types of living organisms. Due to its unique physicochemical properties, high biocompatibility and biostability, there has been a rapidly increasing interest in the use of melanin for bioelectronic, biomedical and theranostic applications.
However, in the vast majority of studies, melanin has been either chemically synthesized or isolated from animals, which has restricted its use to small-scale applications.
In this study, we engineered the fast-growing marine bacterium Vibrio natriegens to synthesize melanin nanoparticles and demonstrated their potential in the development of chemical protective applications. A new technique for application of melanin nanoparticles to MultiCam Army Combat Uniform fabric through the use of a carbodiimide crosslinker was developed and the analysis of water vapor transport through these melanin-modified fabrics indicated that the treatment should have little impact on wearer comfort.
Subsequent evaluation of the fabric for delaying and reducing transport of chemical threat simulants demonstrated that the total amount of 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (half mustard) vapor transported through the melanin-treated fabric was reduced by 90% when compared to the untreated fabric.
A similar reduction (85%) was noted in the peak rate of transport through the fabric.
These results suggest that the adsorptive properties of these inexpensive natural polymers can be further exploited and tuned using standard synthetic biology tools for a variety of barrier materials applications.”